For quite some time, Mr. T and I have worked to cut premade and processed meals out of our diet. It's made both of us feel remarkably better. The only issue is that sometimes it's hard. Life is busy and I miss the convenience of having something I didn't have to prep that's all ready to through in the oven. I read a lot of stuff on Pinterest about freezer meals and I was really excited to try it out. It kind of seemed like the best of all possible worlds. Here's my first time making freezer meals. It's important to note that I opted for the meals that you didn't have to cook ahead of time. I kind of felt like cooking stuff just defeated the purpose of what I was trying to do -- have something with minimal prep ahead of time that I could just throw in the oven or crockpot. Turns out there's actually quite a few recipes where you can do this. Some of the recipes had a lot of processed crap in them so I tried to stay away from those.
I found quite a few posts that had a ton of tasty sounding recipes, but decided to go with these.
Side note, check out my Pinterest for some of the things I've pinned. I plan on trying lots more. And, also, I am so sorry I didn't take any pictures of any of the meals I made. I definitely should have.
Making Freezer Meals
BBQ Chicken with vegetables
Found in this post.
I followed all of the instructions.
This was delicious and so easy to make. I definitely would NOT recommend using the potatoes. I've read a lot of things about how you shouldn't freeze potatoes because it just simply does not work. I should have listened to my instincts with this one. The potatoes came out with a really weird mushy texture that I assume is from being frozen. It didn't ruin the dish. The veggies and chicken were still really tasty.
Also found in this post.
This was amazing. I mean delicious. So much that I didn't even miss real lasagna. After we added the grated parmesan cheese on the top (the fancy kind from the bag), it was total heaven. We also cut up some yummy bread to serve with it. My only issue was that it was extremely spicy. I think I might have added too many red pepper flakes when I made the seasoning combination. (Oops!) So next time I'll cut back on that.
Also (also) found in this post.
I followed all of the instructions, but used more eggplant because I had it and I divided it into two bags. It was really delicious though I think that I would add a touch more seasoning next time. I also found the pasta was way too much. But that might have been because I made it into two meals or because I didn't measure the pasta. Trust me when I say this -- a little pasta goes a long way. It kind of turned more into pasta with sauce. It was really tasty, but I think next time I would leave out the pasta or add more liquid.
I used this recipe.
I found a few different pepper steak recipes in the posts about freezer meals. But they were really similar to this one that I had made before. I just combined all of the ingredients into a bag and then put it in the freezer with the others. Then I cooked it according to the instructions when I was ready for it.
A few things of note:
- I took all of the meals out the night before, but found that it took them much longer to thaw.
- I tried to write the instructions on the bag, but found it to be difficult since the bags were kind of messy. I'm going to try labels next time.
- Be careful when putting the bags in the freezer. I wiped most of the bags down to be sure they weren't too messy, but there much have been some sort of liquid on the bags for the minestrone soup because they froze together. It was fine. With the help of Mr. T we got them apart without damaging the bag, but I think next time I'll be more careful.
- I bought the bags that "stand up" on their own. But they were no match for the amount of liquid in some of these recipes. I think I will try the clips that hold them up next time.
- I mixed everything in a bowl first for each recipe and then spooned it into a bag with a ladle. The whole idea of dumping all of the stuff in blindly made me nervous. I was a bit afraid it might be too much for one bag. And I had a feeling I would make a big huge mess.