I usually love Mondays, especially when it's raining and we're all tucked inside the house, with no outside obligations. Those are the best days.
Knowing we would be home all day, I wanted to do a little freezer filling, to prepare for all the other days when we are out and about. And, I thought I'd share what I did, so you would be inspired to try it too. (Hey, it's what I do:)
The first thing I had to do was cook chicken (bleh). I have grown to hate chicken, unless it is shredded or in small pieces and covered with many other ingredients. So my poor family rarely eats a chicken breast that hasn't been cooked and downsized and camouflaged.
But, the only way to get those little pieces is to cook the big pieces first, so that's what I started my morning with - baking chicken. I took some pictures, but decided that if I hate chicken, you might hate chicken, and why should we all have to stare at chicken pictures, just because we're talking about filling the freezer?
So instead, I will give you the finished product:
I will use this chicken for things such as Chicken, Rice & Broccoli Casserole (it's in the cookbook girls), Cesar Salad with Chicken, and maybe another lunch of Chicken and Wild Rice. Whatever it is, the great thing is that I've got the chicken ready to go and I don't have to look at chicken for at least a few weeks!
The next item on the cooking agenda was Ham and Cheese Hot Pockets. These are great to have in the freezer because you can eat them for breakfast, lunch, or a snack anytime.
I use the recipe from Crystal at Money Saving Mom. She has a huge, long list of freezer meals and this is one of my favorites.
You start out with 5 simple ingredients:
Flour, Sugar, Salt, Yeast, Dry Milk (and a small amount of water).
I happened to have a pre-made packet of ingredients already in the freezer and this is how I do that:
When I make a batch of these and use the ingredients, I immediately fill the baggies up with the measured ingredients again, so I'm ready the next time I want to make these. Make sense?
I just stick all the small baggies in this large one, stick it in the freezer, and now I know that I have
all the ingredients on hand, to make at least one more batch, whenever the need arises.
I use my bread machine to make the dough, but you can absolutely do this by hand.
This is the dough and as I have found out the hard way - a slightly greased pan with flour will make this job much easier (otherwise you need a chisel to get them off the pan after baking).
This batch of dough usually makes 10-12 hot pockets.
As you can see, I'm not very precise on the size or shape. I just basically divide the dough, flatten it out, and pile on the ham and cheese.
Roll the dough over, pinch the sides and bake.
They're not the prettiest things, but they are delicious! (You could use any ingredient you
want, such as sausage and cheese, sloppy joe mix, taco meat and cheese, pepperoni, etc.)
And the last step (after I eat one off the pan), is to wrap them individually in saran wrap and stick them all in a large ziploc and put them in the freezer.
When you want one, all you have to do is pop it in the microwave for 1 minute and you're good to go!
Filling the freezer is one of those things that I love to check off my list! It's a good feeling knowing that I'm prepared, even for a few weeks, and won't have to work so hard in the kitchen for awhile.
I will probably do a few more meals this week, but of course, I'll be concentrating on some Valentine goodies too, so it won't be much. I will most likely do some PB&J's for Collin and a few Chicken Casseroles.
Well, I hope I've inspired you to work toward a few meals in your freezer this week. The easiest way to fill your freezer is to double whatever you're making each day. Eat one and put one away. If you do that, you'll be way ahead in the game and you can take a break sooner than later.
If you have a favorite freezer meal or method you use to make cooking easier, please share in the comments. I'm always open for new ideas!