Friday 5: Freezer Meals to Make in the Summer (for when you’re going too fast in the winter)

5294e763-dae1-4196-a019-afebbb439128The alarm on my phone buzzes; it’s actually the third time it’s gone off, but only the first I’ve heard it. I run to the shower, hair up. Naturally it’s the day we have a modified schedule and I need to get to homeroom (across the building). I also (somehow) manage to schedule a pre-IEP chat through lunch and before I know it I’m rushing home with ungraded essays in hand, and wait… I need to eat. My family needs to eat. Shoot.

This happens to me at least three times over the winter. I’m not sure why things spiral so quickly at that time of year (maybe shorter daylight hours?) However, during my “down time” in the summer I prep 5 freezer meals that are good for 6 months in the deep freeze to pull out and pop in the oven for more challenging winter times. Below are my top 5 meals to freeze for your hectic school year days!

Chicken Enchiladas
Ingredients:
5-6 flour tortilla
1 bag steamable brown rice
2 diced up chicken cutlets
3 cans Enchilada sauce
1 green pepper
1 small, white onion
1 jalapeno
2 cups cheddar cheese
1 can black olives

Recipe:
Cube chicken and cook chicken in skillet (4 minutes each side, but temp to make sure)
Steam brown rice in microwave
Spray pyrex with cooking spray, pour ½-1 can enchilada sauce into Pyrex
Dice onion and green pepper, put to side
Combine cooked chicken, 1 can enchilada sauce, and olives/onion/pepper in bowl
Layout tortilla on cooking surface, layer rice, chicken mixture, and cheese
Wrap tortilla and place in Pyrex
Repeat 5-6 times
Slice jalapeno and place on top of enchiladas
Cover in enchilada sauce and cheddar cheese
Seal tightly and freeze.
Remove and thaw for 30 minutes
Cook on 400 for 40 minutes (may need longer depending on oven)


Lasagna
Ingredients:
1 pack lasagna noodles
1 lb spicy or mild sausage
2 cloves garlic
3 cans jar sauce (or blend 1 can San Marzano tomatoes with 1 small can of tomato paste, and 1 14 oz can tomato sauce, add spices to taste, and 1 tsp sugar)
1 lb Ricotta cheese
1 egg
2 packages shredded mozzarella
4 oz mushroom
1 package spinach
Grated parmesan

Recipe:
Brown sausage (if using links and not chop, slice on an angle)
Cook noodles until al dente, set aside, drizzle with olive oil to prevent sticking
Spray Pyrex with cooking spray
Dice mushroom, spinach, saute with 2 cloves garlic for 2 minutes on high.
Combine ricotta, cooked sausage, mushroom, spinach, 1 egg, 1 cup mozzarella cheese. Put in bowl, set aside.
Coat bottom of Pyrex with sauce
Layer lasagna noodle, bowl sausage mix, sauce, mozzarella (light), and repeat. On top noodles, layer sauce and grated parmesan.
Cook on 350 for 1 hour, freeze
To recook- thaw for 20 minutes, then heat on 350 for 1 hour (from frozen). 1111 “““


Chicken Gnocchi Spinach soup

Ingredients:
2 chicken breasts
1 package gnocchi (not frozen)
3 garlic cloves
1 large carrot
1 cup spinach leaves (fresh)
14 oz chicken broth
¼ cup half and half
¼ cup flour
1 tsp onion powder

Recipe:
Salt and pepper chicken, cook in oven, dice up (I like to cube) and set aside
Peel carrot with peeler for thin strips and cut strips into 1/3s (cooks faster)
Melt butter into oil in pot over medium. Add garlic and onion powder- continuously stir until fragrant (about 1 minute), add carrots
Whisk in flour once carrots are cooked through, stir continuously
Whisk in half and half
Let mixture simmer until thick
Add chicken broth, let simmer until thick
Add salt and pepper to taste
Add cooked chicken
Add gnocchi
Stir
Add spinach and cook for 2 minutes

Let soup cool, portion into individual serving containers, and freeze
When ready to eat, you can thaw in fridge for 24 hours and heat up in microwave


Beef Pot Pie (or chicken)

Ingredients:
1 box refrigerated pie crust
1 package stew beef
1 tbs olive oil
⅓ cup flour
⅓ cup butter
¼ cup chopped onion
¾ cup milk
1 cup beef broth
Salt and pepper to taste
1 package steamed veggies (corn, carrot, pea, green bean blend)

Recipe:
Place 1 pie crust in the bottom of sprayed pie dish
Steam vegetables according to package instructions, set aside
Cook stew beef in 1 lbs olive oil, cook through, set aside
Place butter in sauce pan, add flour, stir continuously until thick
Add milk and continue to stir until thick
Turn off burner
Add vegetables, stir until coated
Add meat
Add salt and pepper to taste
Pour mixture into pie dish
Place 2nd pie crust on top
Squeeze crusts together and bind with fork, cut slits in top
Wrap and freeze
When ready to eat thaw for 20 minutes, cook for 45 minutes on 400


Bacon and Spinach Strata

Ingredients:
½ package bacon
2 cups spinach (I use fresh, but you can use frozen)
8 eggs
2 tbs butter
1 clove garlic
¼ cup white wine
¼ cup milk (2% or more)
1 loaf crusty bread (I use French)

Recipe:
Spray large pyrex dish
Rip apart crusty bread into several pieces, place in bottom of pyrex
Cook bacon (on stovetop or in microwave), remove and chop into smaller pieces
Crack eggs in separate bowl, whisk
Put butter and garlic in sauce pan, cook 1 minute on medium
Add white wine into sauce pan, stir until wine (goes down to half), add milk, stir until thick.
Turn off burner, and add spinach- turn for 2 minutes (until spinach wilts)
Add bacon to milk mixture
Add hot milk mixture to bowl of eggs whisk quickly
Pour entire mixture over bread
Bake at 350 for 40 minutes
Remove from oven, let cool
Once cooled, cover and freeze
To warm up, thaw for 30 minutes, cook at 300 for 1h 15min.

Danielle Boyd teaches English to 9th graders at State College Area High School. She enjoys cooking, organizing, and spending time with her family.

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Friday 5: Freezer Meals to Make in the Summer (for when you’re going too fast in the winter)

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