Monday, January 31, 2011

Freezer Meals

Today was the first day of a week of vacation I'm taking to prepare for Deacon's arrival. I started out by slip sliding my way to the grocery store around 8 AM. When Manning was born we didn't prepare any meals ahead of time, and I remember wishing we would have, so this time I am. I spent about twenty minutes online trying to figure out the best recipes to make ahead. I wasn't sure how much I'd get done, but it went much more quickly than I anticipated. Nathan didn't have to work until 1 today, so I waited until he was leaving to start. I made it my goal to finish all the "beef".

When I got married my mom gave me a cookbook that she made with all of my/our family favorites/staples. I was looking through it for ideas for freezer meals, and I decided to make her meatballs. I think people who buy frozen meatballs and pour bbq sauce over them are doing themselves a serious disservice. These meatballs are OMGosh good.

FYI- These are iPhone pics. I did forget to pick up chili powder at the store, but a quick google search told me to sub 2 parts cumin and 1 part paprika, both of which I had. Here are all of the ingredients mixed up.

I finished by putting the meatballs on some disposable plates I had, wrapped the plates in foil, and then put them in a freezer bag. I decided since it was 3 pounds of hamburger to save the recipe in halves so that we could get 2+ meals out of these meatballs. I read online that when preparing freezer meals it's best to double wrap- foil & freezer bags- to avoid freezer burn. On the bag I just wrote what is inside and where to find the instructions in case Nathan is the one cooking instead of me.

Next I browned another 3 lb. package of hamburger. See that utensil in the hamburger. Don't go to a Pampered Chef party and let them convince you that this $18 piece of junk will make browning hamburger easier. I hate it and only use it because I feel like I need to get my money's worth. A spatula works 100% better.

I took two/thirds of the ground beef (two pounds) and mixed up enchiladas. Simple- 1 pkg of shredded cheese, two cans enchilada sauce and two pounds of gbf. This is MORE than enough to fill 10 tortillas. Sometimes I like to mix in some tomato soup because the enchilada sauce is too spicy for me...I'm a wimp.
I forgot to get a picture of the finished product, but I packaged the enchiladas in a disposable baking pan and sealed the pan inside of a freezer bag. I labeled the package with what was inside and baking instructions.

Next, I used the remaining pound of hamburger to make up a lasagna. I change my recipe about everytime I make lasagna. Today I mixed 1 can of italian diced tomatoes, 1 can of spaghetti sauce and the hamburger. I layered this with cottage cheese and noodles. Basically, bottom up, sauce, noodles, cottage cheese etc. until I get to the top layer where I sprinkle about half a package of shredded cheese on top. I never boil my lasagna noodles ahead of time and they are never crunchy or hard. My mom gave me that tip a few years ago, and it amazes me how many people are wasting time boiling noodles that would be soft anyway. There is enough liquid in the spaghetti sauce and cottage cheese to make them plenty moist. Again, I wrapped the disposable baking pan with a freezer bag, labeled the bag with title and instructions for baking.

Next I mixed up the sauce for my mom's meatballs. I don't know why I did that out of order, but I did.
After I mixed it up I froze it in two portions since the meatballs were being frozen in two portions. This sauce is amazing and you should make it even if you cheat and buy the frozen meatballs.
All of this prep took about an hour and a half. Not bad for four complete meals that honestly, will have leftovers and will probably be more like 8+ meals. Manning was napping and still asleep at this point so I went ahead and poached the chicken breasts I'll use to make the remaining casseroles tomorrow.
This is six pounds of chicken breasts. I plan on making several chicken dishes tomorrow as well as browning more hamburger to freeze by the pound for quick meal prep and I'll update with how that goes. I hope this helps someone! If you have any questions about the "recipes" or ingredients etc. just let me know!


  1. I love cooking and freezing meals like this Kodi - makes me feel so much better than getting take out when we are in a hurry at night for dinner! Can't wait to meet your new little guy when he arrives. (by the way, I love that Pampered Chef tool LOL) Keep up the good Mommy / family work! xo Stephanie D

  2. WOW!!!! You go did a TON of cooking. You will love these meals when you are tired and hungry...what a wonderful idea. I didn't do this with either baby. I wish I would have. Oh and we love meatballs...I'm gonna try your recipe. I use oatmeal, but never evap milk...I'm so adding it this week when I make them!!

  3. Oh, Kodi I so have to disagree with you on the pampered chef utensil. I am totally lost with out mine. I couldn't find it the other day and had to use my spatula and it made me so mad...the ground meat doesn't chop up as quickly or evenly for me. Plus it works really with mashed potatoes if you can't find your masher. Don't give up on it yet! ;)

  4. Go you! I had every intention of doing the same thing today...and lost track of time. You are awesome. :)

  5. Good job, you'll be so happy you spent the time to do this now once the new one gets here. I didn't do this with the first but I have good intentions to make several freezer meals ahead of time before this baby gets here. I can not eat fast food for dinner for a month again like last time. Lol! Good luck with the chicken dishes tomorrow.

  6. I have that chop flip thing from PC too and hate it. The meat gets stuck in the crevices.

    I cooked up a bunch of food before our daughter was born too and it was such a lifesaver for me. Our church brought me a bunch of meals as well, but having soups and casseroles I could cook (or microwave in a pinch) was awesome.

  7. wow. you put me to shame. i had zero meals in the freezer when BG came. zero. thank goodness my hubs can cook or we would have starved!

  8. You are so on top of it!!! And what on earth IS that thing in the hamburger meat? I've never seen one of those!!


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