As most of you know, we are about to move. The “old” Carrie would have ordered pizza and hit the drive thru a few times due to the craziness that comes along with moving a house and 4 children. However, I decided that since I am a new money-saving crazy person that I should actually be smart and prepare for this move. So… in order to prepare properly for this meal, I did a huge (ok.. huge to me) freezer cooking session.
I learned a lot along the way (which I will definitely be doing a post on soon), but I wanted to share with you all that I did (even recipes included). That way you can help save yourself money too!
Before I start with the process of the freezer cooking, I have to tell you what I made:
- 6 freezer bags of marinaded chicken (ready for baking, grilling, or broiling)
- 1 pan of mashed potatoes
- 2 pans of twice baked potatoes
- 1 bag of cooked rice (to heat up as a side)
- 5 pound of browned ground beef with onions and shredded zucchini (ready for taco meat, taco soup, etc…)
- 2 pans of pizza pasta casserole
- 2 pans of taco rice casserole
- 2 bags of crockpot chicken teriyaki dinner (you just toss it in the crockpot frozen and let it cook all day)
- First, you will want to wash your potatoes and get them in the oven baking.(for the twice baked potatoes)
- Peel some potatoes and place them in a pot to boil (these are for the mashed potatoes)
- Start the browning process for the ground beef (don’t forget to add your chopped onions and shredded zucchini in there for extra flavor). Brown it in intervals and dump the meat into a 9×13 pan to start cooling.
- By the time you are done with the ground beef your boiling potatoes will be done. Strain and allow to cool.
- While beef and potatoes are cooling, it is time to start the rice. I cooked mine in the microwave, but you could cook it on the stove (you will need 4 cups cooked rice total).
- Now it is time to brown 2 pounds of ground turkey with onions and shredded zucchini (you can use beef if you want). This is for the taco rice casserole.
- Once browned, add 2 cans of beans (or homemade – I used black beans), one package of taco seasoning, and 2 cans of rotel. Stir to combine.
- Spray 2 disposable 9×13 pans with non-stick spray. Spoon 2 cups of cooked rice and spread into the bottom of the pan. Spoon mixture evenly over the rice. (I had leftover rice so I spoon the leftovers into a freezer bag to use later)
- Top with shredded cheese. Allow to cool completely. Then write instructions on the foil ontop of the pans (Taco Rice Bake – Thaw and Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour)
- Get your potatoes mashed and place in a 9×9 disposable pan. Wrap in foil. Label “Mashed potatoes -thaw – bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes”
- Pull out your baked potatoes and allow them to cool.
- Now we need to brown the other 2 more pounds of ground turkey (with onions and shredded zucchini).
- Once browned, add 2 cans of diced tomatoes (you could use crushed or sauce). Stir in garlic salt and Italian Seasoning.
- Meanwhile boil one pound of spaghetti noodles. Allow to cool.
- Spray 2 more 9×13 disposable pans with non stick spray. Pour the cooked spaghetti noodles equally into the pans.
- In a small bowl whisk two eggs. Separate into the 2 disposable pans. Stir with the fork to mix the egg with the noodles. Season your pasta with garlic salt.
- Pour your meat sauce equally over the pasta. Top with mozzarella cheeze and pepperonis. Cover with foil and label “Pizza Pasta Casserole -thaw and bake at 350 for 1 hour”
- Now it is time to do the twice baked potatoes. Cut them in half. Spoon out the potatoes. Mash them with milk, salt, pepper, and shredded cheese. Then spoon back into their skins. Place into a 9×9 disposable pan and cover with foil. Label “Twice Baked Potatoes – thaw and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes”
The hard part is officially over!! Now for the easy part -the chicken marinades!
I love doing marinades for the freezer, because at the chicken thaws in the fridge your chicken is marinading. How easy is that?
- Grab 6 gallon freezer bags. Label each of them with the name of the marinade. I did Lemon Pepper (from the bottle x1), Catalina Chicken (just used Catalina dressing – x1), Teri-Q Chicken (x2), Taco Chicken Marinade (x2).
- Place marinades in the proper bags – Then add your chicken – mix around. Seal out the air.
Now time for the Teriyaki Crockpot Chicken Dinner.
This recipe is very easy. Just dump all the ingredients into the bag. When you want to cook it, allow it to thaw slightly in your fridge over night (just to loosen it from the bag). Place in the crockpot and cook on low for 8 hours. Serve over rice.
- First you need to label your bags “Crockpot chicken teriyaki dinner – cook on low for 8 hours, serve over rice”
- In 2 gallon size freezer bags place 3 chicken breasts, 1/2 cup of Teriyaki sauce, 1 can of pineapple, 1/2 onion chopped, a handful of carrots chopped about a 1/2 tsp of garlic powder and pepper.
- Seal the bags and freeze.
Remember the ground beef you browned in the very beginning? Well, you need to finish that too!
- Now that your beef is all cooled, it is time to get it ready to freeze. I choose to freeze it by the pound, so I grabbed 5 quart size baggies.
- Label each freezer bag “Beef”
- Spoon the beef equally among the 5 bags.
That is it!! You are officially done!
Are you overwhelmed?
I know this huge post can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Since I was short on time, it was easier for me to block out a few hours in my day and just attack it all and get it all done at once. However, you can just pick one. Maybe you just want to make the potatoes. Maybe you just want to make the chicken marinades or the casseroles. Pick one and go with it. AND don’t forget to let me know which one you are going to try?
What do you need to complete this?
- 5 pounds of beef
- 2 onions chopped
- 2 zucchinis shredded (optional)
- 5 quart size freezer baggies
Taco Rice Casserole:
- 2 pounds of ground turkey (you could use beef)
- 1 taco seasoning
- 2 cans rotel
- 2 cans of beef
- 4 cups of cooked rice
- 2 9×13 disposable pans
- as many potatoes as you want to make, plus milk, butter, salt and pepper
- square disposable pans
Twice Baked potatoes:
- As many potatoes as you want to make (plus milk, butter, cheese, salt and pepper)
- square disposable pans
Pizza Pasta Casseroles:
- 1 pound spaghetti
- 2 pounds of ground turkey (or beef)
- 2 cans of diced tomatoes (or crushed)
- Italian seasoning and garlic salt
- 2 eggs
- mozzarella cheese
Crockpot teriyaki Chicken Dinner:
- 6 chicken breasts
- (2) 1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
- 2 cans of pinapple
- garlic powder
- 1 onion
- carrots -chopped
- 2 gallon size freezer bags
Was it all worth it?
Yes!! I have already enjoyed 2 meals so far. I am too tired to cook after I have been packing. Instead of cooking, I am now playing with the kids while the meal is cooking in the oven.
Will I do it again?
Yes, as soon as I get settled in, I will definitely be doing another freezer cooking session. It may be not as big, but this one has made me think outside the box.