As I mentioned in my post yesterday, I dedicated a portion of my Sunday to freezer cooking. I’m sure you’ve seen those pins on Pinterest that say they made 30 meals in one day, but I’ll be honest, I can’t muster the energy to attempt all that. I use freezer cooking to supplement other stuff I make throughout the week. I feel like having a few extra meals in the freezer is always a good thing, but I’m not ready to commit to 30 days of it yet.
I will admit, I’m not really a fan of anything that calls for spaghetti. I hate spaghetti. I hate breaking it in half, but I also can’t stand all the twirling if you don’t break it in half. That being said, this recipe is popular with the family so I make it anyway. I’ve made this recipe before, but this time I did it as a freezer meal and I broke it up into two meals instead of just one (I also discovered that they make pot-size noodles thus ending my hatred of spaghetti!)
I adapted this recipe from one in a Taste of Home cookbook (I can’t recall which one) but I did find it on their website and you can see it here.
1 lb spaghetti noodles (Hooray for Pot Size!) cooked al dente
2-3 cups of cooked chicken, cubed or shredded.
3 cans of cream of chicken soup
1 8oz bag of shredded cheddar
2 cups of milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix soup, chicken, cooked spaghetti, half of the shredded cheddar, milk and seasonings together. Make sure it’s thoroughly blended.
Pour evening into two pans.
Top both with the remaining cheddar.
Cover with foil, label and freeze.
Thaw 24 hours in the fridge.
Cook on 400 for 25 minutes or until heated through.
Verdict: Mostly A Win
While this isn’t a favorite of mine, the rest of the family likes it quite a bit. If I were making it just for me, I would throw some peppers and onions in there and probably some garlic as well, but then I would be the only one eating it and the rest of the fam would be eating cereal for dinner.
I’m always looking for something a bit different to try for dinner (nothing too different because then nobody here would eat it!) When I came across this recipe I decided it was worth a try. I will admit that I was skeptical on whether or not this would be yummy. Pepperoni and pasta??? But I knew it would be economical and I could make it and freeze it so I soldiered on.
I adapted this recipe somewhat from it’s original form. For one thing, I made it two meals instead of one. You can find the original recipe at Kathie Cooks.
1lb of pasta (I used rotelle) cooked and drained
15oz of ricotta cheese
8oz shredded mozzarella
pepperoni (however much you want or pick a different topping. I have a 7oz package but I didn’t use all of it.)
Birdseye Recipe Ready peppers and onions (once again you can use whatever toppings you want. I used these because I have a bunch I snagged for free thanks to coupons.)
24oz jar of pasta sauce (not pictured.)
1. Mix the cooked pasta with the ricotta cheese.
2. Spread it equally into two pans. (I use the disposable lasagna pans. You get two for a buck at the dollar store.)
3. Spread half the jar of pasta sauce in each pan.
4. Add your toppings evenly to each pan.
5. Top each one with half of the cheese.
6. Cover both pans with foil. Label them with the instructions Bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Throw them in the freezer and you have two dinners ready to go!
Thaw it 24 hours in the fridge.
Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.
This was surprisingly good! Despite my skepticism this came out awesome. Everyone enjoyed it. I will definitely make it again since you get two meals for extremely cheap. Plus you can mix up the toppings for a different experience each time. Also, it’s one of the easier freezer meals I’ve tried so it gets bonus points for that as well.
I came across this recipe while browsing Pinterest and thought it might be a fun twist on tacos (plus I had recently nabbed 20 cent taco shells thanks to coupons) so I decided to give this recipe a try. There are many recipes for oven tacos and they are all a bit different, but the one I went with is from Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures.
I didn’t make many changes to the recipe, but I did decide to make it into two separate freezer meals instead of one big meal because there is no way we could eat twenty tacos. And freezing it was a great option because then it’s super easy to assemble later.
Ziploc freezer bags (or whatever brand you prefer. I stick with name brand bags for freezer cooking because you want a good quality bag.)
Brown the ground beef in a skillet (Drain the fat.)
Add beans, sauce and seasoning and mix everything together.
Let it simmer for two or three minutes.
Let the mixture cool a bit.
Then scoop half the mixture into each of the two freezer bags.
Ingredients: Day of Cooking
Thawed taco filling (I thawed mine in the fridge for 24 hours.)
12 taco shells
Mexican blend shredded cheese (I used half of an 8oz bag)
Taco fixings – lettuce, salsa, sour cream etc.
Preheat the oven to 400
Arrange your taco shells standing up in a baking dish or pan. (I managed to fit 12 into a disposable lasagna pan.)
Spoon the meat mixture evenly into the taco shells.
Top generously with cheese.
Bake for 15 minutes or until the meat mixture is heated through and serve.
These were awesome! Even more awesome because I know I’ll get to eat it again soon since I still have some in the freezer. I loved how the filling came out. It’s a bit milder than when you do 1lb with 1 package of taco seasoning and I liked it that way, but will buy some hot sauce for the family members that like a bit more kick. This made enough for four people (I served it with rice and corn.) The best thing about it is that the shell holds together so much better when you make them like this. A definite winner!
This is another freezer meal I came across on Pinterest that is a crazy good money saver and it makes 3 meals. The original recipe is called Mexican Lasagna from Keeza’s Freezer Meals. (This blog has some really awesome and different freezer recipes. I will definitely be trying others. She also breaks down the prices of the items as well.) I made two of these with soft tortillas, but I didn’t have enough to do the third one. What I did have was half a bag of tortilla chips, so I used those instead. I made a few other minor changes, but kept most of it the same.
1 1/2 bags of tortilla chips (I broke mine, but you could just layer them in.)
In a deep skillet brown the ground beef on medium heat. (Drain the fat.)
In the skillet combine beef, corn, salsa and pinto beans (drained.) Then toss the taco seasoning on top and stir until well mixed.
Let simmer about five minutes till it thickens up a bit.
In the pans put a 1/2 a cup of the mixture into the bottom of all three pans. (It’s super important to measure and not eyeball it because you want to make sure all three meals come out right.)
Add a layer of tortilla chips. (I just made sure the crushed chips completely covered the mixture on the bottom.)
Add another 1/2 cup of the mixture to each pan.
Top with cheese. (I didn’t measure this. Just try to sprinkle it evenly onto all three pans.
Once the pans are done, cover them with foil and label them. Pop them into the freezer and you have three meals to use later.
When you are ready to cook, thaw it for 24 hours, uncover it and cook it on 350 for a half hour.
We enjoyed this meal with the soft tortillas (and it stayed in it’s lasagna form quite nicely) but the chips were the clear winner here. Everyone enjoyed this, it’s easy, makes three meals with minimal ingredients and cooks up perfectly after being frozen. I will definitely make it again.
Around the beginning of January, I became interested in giving freezer cooking a try. I thought it would be a great way to save time and money. The first thing I did was hit Pinterest to do some research. There are lots of recipes to be found and also some great advice from people that are pros at freezer cooking.
Here are a few things I learned when I first tried it:
Don’t take on too much when you are just starting. I know you’ve seen those posts about people making 30 meals in 1 day, but don’t feel like you have to do that.
Read up on storage methods so you know the best way to prevent freezer burn.
Don’t get discouraged! I only did three meals to start and about half way through I was ready to give up on the whole thing. It seems tedious, but in the long run it makes life so much easier.
Prepare yourself because there will be A LOT of clean-up.
One of the first three recipes I made and froze was this one for baked pasta. I found it on Six Sisters’ Stuff. (They have lots of other fun recipes as well!)
The reason I was so excited about this recipe is that it’s a great money saver. It makes two meals and only uses one box of pasta and 1 lb of ground beef. I made a few minor adjustments to the recipe. I only used half an onion, I used bowtie noodles because that is what I had on hand and I omitted the sour cream completely.
2 – 24oz jars of pasta sauce (I used Prego meat sauce.)
1/2 a small onion – chopped
12 slices of provolone cheese (I used 6 on each meal.)
1 – 8oz bag of shredded mozzarella
Parmesan cheese (However much you want. We like a lot of cheese so I was pretty liberal with it.)
In a deep skillet, brown ground beef with onion over medium heat. (Or if you are impatient like me high heat until it’s almost done and then switch it down to medium.)
Add the two jars of pasta sauce and let it simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Spray your pans with non-stick cooking spray (the original recipe called for 8×8 pans, but I didn’t have any that size so I used an 11.75×9 inch pan and it still worked.)
Layer a quarter of your cooked noodles into both pans.
Top with a quarter of the sauce.
Place 6 slices of provolone on top of the sauce.
Add half of the remaining noodles to each pan.
Place a third of the mozzarella on each.
Add half of the remaining sauce to each pan.
Finish off with a bunch of parmesan (or a little if that is your preference) and the remaining third of the mozzarella.
Once you have your two pans prepared, cover them with foil. Make sure it’s on there nice and tight so you can avoid freezer burn. Label the meals so you know what they are and put them in the freezer.
When you are ready to cook one, thaw it in the fridge 24 hours. Then take the foil off and bake it at 350 for a half hour.
Both times we had this it came out great. It freezes very well. You definitely couldn’t tell that it had been frozen for three weeks. Plus, having a meal prepared so all you have to do is pop it in the oven is so very convenient. I count this as a win in both the time-saving department and the money saving department because I was able to stretch the pasta and beef (which I would’ve normally used for one meal) into two!