Stock Your Freezer

Friday, January 4, 2013

Here is a simple way to stock your freezer for those times when you are super busy! I do use pre-made dressings as short cuts in the recipes below, but you could totally substitute your own homemade versions of ranch dressing mix or italian dressing  if you would like. 

Each of the following meals will serve 4-6 people, but you'll need sides too, but I'll give fast ideas for those too! For our family, I use 2 lbs of meat per meal (except the flank steak & mexichicken), you might want to use more or less depending on your family. You can easily add more meat if you like. These are all "dump" meals, and over 1/2 of them you will need a crockpot for. They are designed to fill in on those super busy days, not necessarily to be eaten over the next 10 days because you might get a little tired of them! I have found having these 2-3 days a week has really helped our meal planning.

I will list a shopping list for everything you will need to make the meals (including suggested sides). When you get home from the grocery store, I suggest labeling all 10 bags (you will make 2 of ever meal) and putting 2 lbs of each meat in it's respective bag....it will make assembling them even easier!

When you are ready to assemble, just follow the "ASSEMBLY DAY" directions for each recipe (remember to do each one twice) I KNOW it might look overwhelming, but look at the shopping list, you probably have a lot of the stuff already, so it's mostly meat. And the assembly directions for all of it is "combine it. squish it. freeze it" Even my husband could do this!!! :)

When you are done you will have:

Ranch Pork Chops (2 meals)
Brown Sugar Chicken (2 meals)
Mexi-Chicken (2 meals)
Flank Steak (2 meals)
Italian Chicken (2 meals)


GROCERY SHOPPING LIST
10-gallon ziploc FREEZER bags (I've bought the cheap ones, I've bought the storage ones, get the FREEZER ones)
2 flank steaks (around 2-3 lbs each)
4 lbs Boneless Pork Chops
4 lbs Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs 
6 lbs Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts 
6 TBSP chopped cilantro
8 cloves chopped garlic
2 cups brown sugar
2 cans lemon-lime soda
2 cans corn
2 cans fire roasted, diced tomatoes
2 cans black beans
2 cans pinto beans
2 cans cream of chicken soup

2 16oz bottles Italian Dressing
2 packets ranch dressing mix
1 cup Balsamic Vinegar
4 TBSP Dijon Mustard

1 1/3 cup vinegar
4 T Soy Sauce
2/3 C Olive Oil
1/2 C Lime Juice
2 squirts of honey
4 TBSP Taco Seasoning
Salt
Black Pepper

For Suggested Sides you will need the following (you can do huge bags of assorted veggies from Costco instead of doing all the different types of veggies)

2 bags frozen broccoli
4 bags frozen assorted veggies
2 bags frozen green beans
Toppings for Mexi-Chicken (like cilantro, cheese, sour cream & salsa and cream cheese if you want the dish to be creamy)
Mashed Potatoes (you can use fake ones, I won't tell)
Pasta for Italian Chicken
brown rice


RANCH PORK CHOPS
2lbs Boneless Pork Chops
1 Can Cream of Chicken Soup (you can use homemade too if you like) 
plus one can of water
1 packet ranch seasoning mix

Assembly Day: Label your gallon bag. Combine everything. Squish to combine. Freeze.

Day of Cooking: You can thaw in the fridge, or take directly from the freezer and place in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours or 4-5 hours on high. 

Serving Suggestion: Potatoes or Rice and mixed veggies


BROWN SUGAR CHICKEN 
Adapted from crockpot365.blogspot.com
-2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
-1 cup brown sugar 
-2/3 cup vinegar
-3 cloves smashed and chopped garlic
-2 T soy sauce 
-1 tsp ground black pepper

-1/4 cup lemon-lime soda 

Assembly Day: Label your gallon bag. Combine everything but the soda in a gallon freezer bag. Squish to combine. Freeze

Day of Cooking: You can thaw in fridge, or take directly from the freezer and place in slow cooker with 1/4 cup lemon-lime soda. Cover and cook on low for 6-9 hours or high for 4-5 hours. Chicken is done when it's cooked through, the longer you cook it, the more tender it will be. We shred it up with two forks and let sit in the sauce a few minutes before serving. 

Serving Suggestion: Brown rice & broccoli


MEXI-CHICKEN
-1 lb chicken breast 
-1 can corn
-1 can fire roasted, diced tomatoes
-1 can black beans
-1 can pinto beans
-2 TBSP Taco seasoning 

Assembly Day: Label your gallon bag. Combine everything. Squish to combine. Freeze.

Day of Cooking: You can thaw in the fridge, or take directly from the freezer and place in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours or 4-5 hours on high. Add 8oz cream cheese near the end for a creamy dish. 

Serving Suggestion: Serve over rice and garnish with fresh cilantro, cheese, sour cream & salsa.




Cilantro-Balsamic Flank Steak
3lbs flank steak


  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 3 tbsps chopped cilantro
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsps dijon-style mustard
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • squirt of honey
  • 1 tsp kosher salt (taste)
  • black pepper (fresh ground)
  • Assembly Day: Label your gallon bag. Combine everything. Squish to combine. Freeze.

    Day of Cooking: Thaw in fridge at least 24 hours. Grill or cook on very hot grill pan, 3-4 minutes each side. Let rest at least 10 minutes before slicing against the grain. 
Serving Suggestion: Mashed Potatoes & Mixed Veggies or serve as a salad over a bed of lettuce

ITALIAN CHICKEN
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast
16oz bottle of italian dressing

Assembly Day: Label your gallon bag. Combine everything. Squish to combine. Freeze.

Day of Cooking: Thaw in fridge at least 24 hours. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove Chicken from bag, discarding the remaining marinade. Place chicken in a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking dish and bake at 350 for 1 hour, turning chicken half way through. 

Serving Suggestion:  Serve over pasta with green beans on the side
















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