As you may or may not know, I'm expecting a baby. In fact, at the time I'm writing this post, I am about 2 weeks from my due date. However, by the time you read this, that baby had better already be here! I'm trying to get a jump start on some posts during the holiday season as well as during the transition period after having a baby when I know blogging isn't going to be my top priority.
In anticipation of this baby's birth, I decided to make a bunch of freezer meals that I could use on any day. Days where I was too busy, too tired, too overwhelmed, too distracted, too behind, or just plain too unmotivated to cook. Or, when I'd rather be spending my time being with my family than making dinner.
Here's a list of the meals I finished this time around:
Lasagna 2 Trays
Chicken & Wild Rice Soup 2 Bags (7 Cups each)
Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas 3 Trays
Beef Stew 1 Bag (10 Cups)
White Chicken Chili 3 Bags (10 Cups each)
Chimi Chicken 3 Bags (3 Cups each)
Italian Chicken 2 Bags
Meatloaf Muffins 17 Muffins
Sweet Pork 1 Bag
Cranberry Porkloin 3 Bags
BBQ Chicken 1 Bag
Navajo Tacos 1 Bag
Chalupa Beef 1 Bag
Pepperoncini Beef 2 Bags
Sloppy Joes 3 Bags (2 Cups each)
BBQ Meatballs 1 Bag
Chicken Cordon Blue Casserole 2 Trays
I also got plain meats cooked and separated so I can use them for a last minute meal, or even for a meal that takes all day but I don't want to worry about cooking the meat.
Plain Shredded Chicken 3 Bags
Plain Ground Beef 2 Bags (3.5 Cups each)
Plain Shredded Pork 3 Bags (4 Cups each)
Chicken Breasts 3 Bags
So, obviously, in order to do this amount of frozen meals, I have a large deep freezer that was practically empty before and is now full. In addition to all these meals, I also have a large variety of breads as well as some desserts I've frozen (like Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies and Double Chocolate Cake).
Even if you don't have a large deep freezer, you can still get some meals made ahead of time to cut down on your daily work. I've even heard of people making several meals on Saturday and then keeping them in the fridge to eat throughout the next week, instead of freezing them. That works too.
Over the next few weeks, I will be posting a plan to make all those above meals and meats so you can take the time when you feel like it. I know this isn't the most relavant topic for the holidays, but maybe you'll find a recipe you want to use this time of year, even if you don't freeze it.
As for how to package your meals for freezing, I use gallon size Ziplock freezer bags for my soups, quart size freezer bags for meats, and I bought 30 large aluminum casserole trays from Sam's Club for $6. Way cheaper than buying them at Walmart or even the dollar store. And they are BIG. Big enough for lasagnas, enchiladas, etc. Cover with two layers of tin foil to protect against freezer burn. I write with a Sharpie on the bags or on the tin foil I use to cover the trays so I know what is inside, when it was made, and how long to cook it. Here's an example (of course...my luck, without the date):
When you're ready to freeze the meals, lay the soups and meats flat so they can be stacked when frozen. For the trays, freeze on a level surface and then stack them when they are frozen.
Now you're ready to start cooking!