Recipes (for Frozen Dinners)


(I typed this up quickly... please forgive any typos, and if they really bother you, let me know where they are and I'll fix 'em!  Thanks!)

These are recipes that I recommend for freezing - because freezing meals is what I do  (in the Fall and Winter, at least)  See these posts for my love of freezing meals:

Feeding My Family From the Freezer
Go Ahead, Ask Me What's for Dinner
An Annual Frozen Meal Exchange
My beautiful, wonderful freezer

I will try to use links where possible, and just make my own notes underneath.  Every recipe here is one that I make and freeze myself so they all freeze well and have been deemed "tasty" by the majority of my food-eating family.

* See this post here for some of my tips on preparing and freezing meals.*

TRIED AND TRUE CASSEROLES

Mexican Chicken Casserole (a family favorite)

1 can cream of chicken soup
1 jar salsa (medium is best, mild makes the casserole taste sweet and weird)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 - 1 1/2 c. cooked rice
1 - 1 1/2 c. frozen corn
three chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 c. cheddar cheese

Instructions: combine all the ingredients, spread in a casserole dish.  (freeze or proceed) Top with extra cheddar cheese just before baking.  Bake at 350 deg. for 45 minutes or until cheese is brown and bubbly.  Serve with sour cream, salsa, and tortilla chips.  Your family will love you!


Creamy Chicken Casserole

1 - 1 1/2 c. cooked rice

1 can cream of chicken soup
3/4 c. milk
2 c. cooked chicken breast, shredded
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1 sm. onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 c. broccoli florets

Instructions: combine all ingredients, spread in a casserole dish.  (freeze or proceed)  Top with extra cheese and seasoned breadcrumbs.  Bake at 350 deg. for 45 - 50 minutes.


Basic Baked Pasta (hardly need to give a recipe here, but don't want you to forget about this easy crowd pleaser.  Also, don't forget a simple pizza casserole.  Always a treat for my kids!)

1 lb. pasta, cooked al dente

1 large jar pasta sauce
1 lb. cooked ground beef
1/2 red pepper, finely chopped
1/2 green pepper, finely chopped

Instructions: combine all ingredients, spread in a casserole dish.  (freeze or proceed).  Top with shredded mozzarella cheese and green pepper slices.  Bake at 350 deg. for 35 minutes, or until cheese is melted.


Finish Rye Casserole (I got this recipe from the lovely Heather)

1 c. milk
3 c. cubed rye bread, toasted (I believe that Heather toasts the bread cubes in the oven, I however, cheat and toast the bread in the toaster and then break it up.)
1/2 of a small head of cauliflower, broken into bite-size pieces
broccoli, about the same amount at the cauliflower, also broken into pieces
2 T. butter
3 c. sharp cheddar cheese,, grated
4 eggs
1 t. dry mustard
salt, pepper

Instructions:  saute veggies in butter till barely tender.  (To save on time and pans to wash, I've steamed the veggies in the microwave and coated them in a little butter.  Shh!  Don't tell Heather)  Combine bread crumbs, veg, and cheese, spread in a baking dish.  Blend remaining ingredients and pour over mixture.  Bake at 350 deg. for 45 minutes.

note: because this dish has eggs in it, it is one of the casseroles that I will bake before freezing.  I will bake it until I am sure that the eggs are cooked, but not to the point that it starts to brown on top.  That way, when I defrost it and reheat it, it will get nice and brown but not burnt.


CHILI

Basic Chili (if you don't already have a favorite chili recipe, I really recommend this one that I got from a friend.  I've never made my old chili since!)

1 lb. cooked ground beef - I usually use a 1/2 lb and add a can of black beans  (for vegetarian, see note below)
small onion, finely chopped
1/2 green pepper, finely chopped
1/2 t. garlic
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 can kidney beans
1 t. chili powder
1 t. salt
1 t. paprika
1/2 t. pepper
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 c. frozen corn


Instructions:  saute onion, pepper, and garlic in a little olive oil in a large pot.  Add remaining ingredients (except corn)  and heat through.  Add the corn and allow to simmer for a while.  Cool, freeze.  Serve with sour cream and cheddar cheese.

Note: I have also made a vegetarian version of this chili.  Once, the meat was replaced with a variety of beans, and another time I added my additional can of black beans and a 1/2 c. of bulgar wheat before simmering.  Be sure to regularly stir the bulgar wheat.  (My whole family ate the bulgar wheat chili and no one said anything like, "this is different" so I would do it again.)


White Chili with Chicken

from Family Fun Magazine

I made this chili according to the recipe except I used half hot chilies and half sweet chilies so it wouldn't be too spicy for my kids.  Everyone liked it!  It froze well.


SOUPS - we're all about soups here!  Most soup I serve with oyster crackers or crusty bread.  Creamy soups I usually serve with large croutons.

Winter Veggie Bisque, of course.

Lentil and Sausage Soup
note: would increase sausage to 1 lb.

Sausage Barley Soup

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

I sort of use this recipe as a base.  Here are the changes I make:
3 1/2 c. water
3 1/2 c. chicken stock
cook the chicken ahead of time (night before, usually)
I add a cup of frozen veggies
Once I had some cauliflower in the fridge that I added.  Surprisingly good.
Add a bay leaf
instead of white rice, I use half a box of Uncle Ben's Wild Rice and half of the seasoning packet

Curry Cauliflower and Beans Soup
Very delicious and super easy!  A tad spicy for the kids.  Maybe cut down on curry or be sure to have bread and milk on hand.

Slow Cooker Beef Barley Soup
I originally got this from allrecipes.com but can't find it to link to...

1 lb. boneless round steak, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
3 c. water
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 medium onions, diced
3 celery ribs, sliced
2 carrots, sliced
1/2 t. dried basil
1/2 t. oregano
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1 - 2 T. Worcestershire sauce
3/4 c. pearl barley
1 1/2 c. frozen mixed vegetables

Instructions: In crock pot, combine all ingredients except the frozen veg.  Cook on high for 6 hours.  Add frozen veg.  Cover and cook 2 hours longer until veg. and meat are tender.
Because of the barley, this soup becomes very thick - more like a stew.  We usually just eat it that way, but once when I wanted it a little thinner I added some vegetable juice (like V-8 or tomato juice) some beef stock and some extra spices.


FROZEN CROCK POT MEALS

I've made several of these, but these are the only two we've eaten so far.  They were ok.  They weren't great, but they were worth it b/c of the convenience.

Teriyaki Chicken

Cilantro Lime Chicken with black beans and corn
6 chicken breasts
3 Tbs olive oil
2 limes, juiced
2 cups cilantro
1 large bag of frozen corn (or two smaller bags)
4 minced garlic cloves
1 finely chopped red onion
2 cans of black beans, rinsed
2 tsp cumin or chipotle powder
salt/pepper to taste
 
Split everything into two containers. shake it up, seal, label and put in the freezer. Instructions for Container: cook on low 8 hours or high 4 hours, serve with hot tortillas or tostitos. Dress with sour cream, guacamole, and/or cheese

my own note: this needed a little salsa to give it some extra kick. Still worth while.



6 comments:

  1. Hi! I just started reading your blog. As a working mom of an active little one, I'm excited to try these frozen dinners. This may sound silly but what do you use to freeze your casseroles in?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi, Yasemin! Welcome! I use disposable aluminum tins for freezing casseroles and I cover them tightly with aluminum foil. When I bake them, I put the tin on a cookie try so that I have something firm to when I'm taking it out the oven. Hope that helps :) Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

    ReplyDelete
  3. So as an update, I tried the Mexican chicken casserole, creamy chicken casserole, and pasta dish. It worked out really well. I love not having to cook each night. I'm going to try making more frozen dinners. I'm definitely going to try the chili and beef and barley soup recipes. We also enjoyed chicken and rice soup because I made too much chicken and rice for the other recipes. Thanks for the tips!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad!! Thanks for coming back and giving me the update!
      I HIGHLY recommend the chili! I'll never make another chili again.
      In about a week, I'm starting a ten-day series of 10 Family Friendly Soups, so stop back for some new ideas! All of the recipes I'll post are "approved" by my husband and children, and all are suitable for freezing!

      Delete
  4. Defrosting question: Do you put the frozen meals straight into the oven, or do you take one out the night before? Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I usually defrost them in the fridge over night!

      Delete

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