(.......sigh of relief.......)
I am thrilled to say that I am finally done with the "Freezer Cooking Project" for Ella. Though I will probably toss in a meal here and there as the mood strikes, I am thrilled that I have the number of breakfasts, lunches, and dinners hoped for in the freezer for those many days that cooking won't be happenin'. I wanted to share with you what worked for us in the process of testing and freezing. I have shared some in the past, but wanted this to be a help to anyone who had any major life changes (be it new children, surgeries with long recoveries, etc) on the way and wanted to put dinners back so more focus could be put on the other necessities of life. I will post a link to each recipe as I could not have done it without the smart blogging women who have shared such wonderful recipes with many families worldwide!
We have been able to put back 60 muffins and 24 breakfast burritos and 8 mixed berry smoothie packets for breakfasts, 24 beef and bean burritos and 15 bbq sandwiches for lunches---these will be most helpful when Danny goes back to work, and finally, we put up 42 supper meals.
Double Chocolate Oatmeal Muffins: http://annejisca.wordpress.com/2011/06/22/double-chocolate-oatmeal-muffins/ - These are fabulous! When baking, I baked 2 dozen, a dozen for now and a dozen for freezing! Yum-o!
Fresh Blueberry Yogurt Muffins: http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/blueberry_muffins/ - Thanks to some very sweet friends giving us a bunch of blueberries, I made 4 dozen of these. They are fantastic for those mornings where coffee is a MUST and muffins are a nice add-on. :)
Fresh Strawberry Muffins: http://nancysrecipes.wordpress.com/2008/08/25/fresh-strawberry-muffins/
Breakfast Burritos: The ones I like to make are simply sausage, egg and cheese burritos. Per 12, I use a dozen scrambled eggs, 2 cups of shredded cheese of choice, and 1 lb of cooked mild sausage. I mix all ingredients together and spice until satisfied. I simply wrap these guys in a flour tortilla, then in a paper towel, then in aluminum foil, then finally place several in a gallon freezer bag. When it's time to heat them, you simply leave the paper towel wrapped around the burrito and heat. The paper towel will hold in moisture. This is a recipe you can tweak with different spices to get the heat you like. You can replace the sausage with bacon and also add peppers and onions. We've found that we like the simplicity of sausage, egg and mexican blend cheese with a bit of seasoning salt. These are perfect for having the baby in one hand and breakfast in the other! Very filling and full of protein!
Mixed Berry Smoothie Mixes: These are the Yoplait Smoothie mixes you can get on a deep discount at Publix if you hit the sales right. Ya can't beat 'em; strawberries, raspberries and blueberries with frozen yogurt and you simply add milk or juice (I love to add cranberry juice) and blend for a anti-oxidant packed smoothie on the cheap!
BBQ Sandwiches: My sweet daddy smoked a yummy boston butt for us and I shredded the meat and it made 15 sandwiches worth. We'll simply warm and toss on a bun with sauce and chips for a quick lunch!
Brown Bag Burritos: http://amysfinerthings.com/brown-bag-burritos - Delicious and packed full of protein! Filling for hubby's hard days at work! You can also alter this to your liking, but it's a great base recipe.
Mom's Chicken Pot Pie: This is a comfy and cozy family recipe that is perfect for those evenings in with family! One of those meals that refreshes the memory of how wonderful the blessing of family is!
Spinach Cheese (and Chicken) Casserole: http://www.tammysrecipes.com/spinach_rice_casserole I modified this recipe by adding 2 cups chopped, cooked chicken to make it a one-dish meal. It is so very yummy and filling!
Chicken Spaghetti: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2007/06/chicken_spaghet/ - This is by far one of our favorites to eat and reheat! It reheats beautifully! We preferred to leave the peppers and pimentos out, but it is such a creamy comforting meal!
Cheeseburger Pie: http://besteverrecipecollection.blogspot.com/search/label/cheeseburger - Some sweet friends of ours baked this meal for us one night for a get together and it was a total hit with us both, but Danny requested it again from me only two days later, so I just knew I had to learn to make it. Thanks, Jill for opening your home and for sharing such a wonderful recipe with us!
A few other things I've put away for suppers are quart bags of homemade marinara made from tons of grape tomatoes given to us by some of our church family, several packages of marinated pork chops and chicken for easy thawing and grilling and chicken and beef cut up for adding to stir-fry veggies and rice.
Our sweet moms will also be providing us with their delicious vegetable soup and chili recipes, as I'll never be able to make it quite like they can. This will make several hearty portions! So thankful for them!
I hope these recipes will be a help to you if you are on a mission to create and put away some healthy (some not-so-much) meals for a busy time in life, whatever it may be!
I'm thankful for all the women, near and far, who were willing to share their recipes with me and make the transition to Mommyhood just a little bit easier. What a blessing!