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Freezer Pleasers


Grocery stores don't have a monopoly on frozen dinners. Here's how to make your own.

Short on time and tired of store-bought frozen meals? Can't remember the last time you enjoyed a sit-down dinner? How about this for a solution? Cook several meals from scratch on the weekend and then freeze the results for the hurried pace of the week. It's the ultimate make-ahead strategy -- all the convenience of quick-and-easy meals but with the flavor of your own healthy home cooking.

From lasagna to pork chops, you'll move your entrees from freezer to oven to table with minimal effort. In fact, once you try this strategy, you'll find it difficult to look at weeknight planning any other way.

Eating healthy should still be delicious.

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Freezer Pleaser Recipes:


The best freezable family meals

Freezable family suppers are perfect for cooking on a budget and saving you time in the kitchen midweek. Consider a pasta bake, casserole or curry.

Cooking delicious family-friendly dishes every day from scratch is no mean feat. That’s why we love a freezable recipe that we can make in bulk and portion out ready for a speedy midweek supper. Try our healthy cauliflower tagine for starters – not only does it deliver four of your five-a-day, but yes, you guessed it, it’s freezable.

We have plenty of nutritious crowd-pleasers for you to incorporate into your weekly cooking repertoire including indulgent pasta bakes, rich curries and spicy chillis. Still want more? Check out our healthy freezable collection for more convenient meal ideas.

Freezable pie recipes

Even more freezable family pies…

Freezable chillis

Even more freezable family chillis…

Freezable stews and casseroles

If you’re veggie, try this healthy butter bean & tomato version, the perfect partner to the humble jacket potato. You could keep it classic and try our smoky beef stew, which is even great for packing into lunchboxes. It’ll keep you going until dinner time.

Even more freezable family stews…

Freezable pasta

Even more freezable family pasta recipes…

Freezable curries

For another veg-filled stunner, try our roasted aubergine & tomato curry. This substantial dish has a subtle sweetness and a richness that’ll leave you feeling full and satisfied. Add a kick to a midweek meal with our lamb masala meatball curry, perfect with a naan, warm from the oven.

Even more freezable family curries…

Like these recipes? Try other family favourites…

What’s your favourite freezable family classic? Leave a comment below…

As many countries urge populations to stay at home, many of us are paying more attention to our diets and how the food we eat can support our health. To help sort out the fact from the fiction, BBC Future is updating some of their most popular nutrition stories from their archive.


Easy Freezer Crockpot Pleasers

Summer is in full swing and it’s getting hot! The last thing I want to do when it’s hot is cook. It heats up the kitchen and I’m usually too tired after all the activities of the day. But I don’t want to spend money eating out every day either. Crockpot meals to the rescue!

I’ve been a self-appointed crockpot queen for several years now. Crockpot cooking makes dinner time so much easier. I can come home after a long day of summertime activities and dinner is already ready. It’s not just for summertime, either. It is the best way to handle those evenings filled with ballgames or any other activity that cuts into evening dinner prep time.

When you have your crockpot meals prepped ahead of time, that makes it even more convenient. There are so many crockpot recipes that can be prepared ahead of time and then kept in the freezer there is something that everyone will like. On the day you know you’ll be wanting dinner done when you get home, just take a meal out of the freezer and put it in the crockpot in the morning before heading out for the day. Turn it on low and it’ll be ready when it’s time to eat.

Chicken Crock Pot Freezer Meals for Slow Cooking

One of my favorite, super easy crockpot meals is chicken soft tacos. All you need is 4-6 chicken breasts, enchilada sauce, and taco seasoning (this serves our family of six, so adjust your quantity of ingredients accordingly). Put the chicken breasts in the crockpot, sprinkle the taco seasoning on the chicken, then pour the enchilada sauce on top. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. If you have an immersion blender, that works great to shred up the chicken when it’s done. Otherwise, just use a couple of forks to shred the chicken. Serve with flour tortillas, shredded cheese, and any other taco toppings you would like, such as sour cream, lettuce, and tomato. The leftovers can be made into an easy snack by rolling the soft tacos up and popping them in the freezer in a freezer bag. When you or the kids need a quick snack, or an easy quick lunch, pull them out and reheat in the microwave for about 30 to 60 seconds.

You may be saying this sounds great, but I don’t have time to cook, let alone take a day to prepare a bunch of crockpot meals for the freezer. Because I have had many friends tell me this, I have recently begun prepping freezer crockpot meals for people to purchase. It saves them time and money. Join the facebook group called Easy Freezer/Crockpot Pleasers to get more recipe ideas to make yourself or email me at [email protected] to learn more about the service I’m offering to help make your life a little easier, one dinner at a time.

Crockpot Chicken Soft Tacos

Ingredients:
4-6 chicken breasts
1 can of your favorite enchilada sauce
Taco seasoning

Place the chicken breasts in the crockpot, sprinkle with taco seasoning. Pour the enchilada sauce over the top. Cover the crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours. When finished cooking, shred the chicken with forks. Serve on warm flour tortillas and top with your favorite toppings.


16 Do-Ahead Freezer Meals for Out-of-Control Workdays

Just because the freezer aisle at the grocery store is full of crappy processed foods doesn’t mean your own freezer has to be. Instead, stock it with homemade meals that require only a little prep work.

Carve out an hour or two on a Sunday to cook and store these make-ahead meals so you have a bunch of healthy options that can be reheated in minutes.

We’ve got you covered with freezer meals that take care of breakfast, lunch, and dinner all week long.

1. Freezer-friendly bagel bombs

“Bagel bomb” doesn’t exactly sound like a healthy breakfast, but these homemade stuffed bagels (yes, you read that right) deserve a spot in your freezer. Not to mention: They’re only 240 calories each.

Craft the bagels from ready-made pizza dough. You can customize the filling, but do try the everything topping. It just says “bagel.”

2. Breakfast quesadilla with cheese, spinach, and white beans

Upgrade your breakfast quesadilla with this easy, freezer-ready version. It comes packed with protein thanks to the beans and cheese. Plus, a serving of veggies first thing in the a.m. is always a good idea.

3. French toast casserole

All the French toast flavor without the stovetop flipping? Sign us up. Not only is this casserole simple to make, but there’s finally a use for that stale loaf of bread you forgot about.

4. Scrambled egg muffins

How cute are these? And they’re even more clever: These egg muffins are foolproof. Fill muffin tins with torn bread, ham, and cheese and pour eggs over them.

After baking, you can freeze them in plastic or glass containers and then zap them in the microwave for about a minute to heat.

5. No-bake chocolate peanut butter breakfast bars

It’s never too early for chocolate. These grab-and-go breakfast bars are loaded with oats and chock-full of healthy fats. Place a sheet of parchment paper between bars and pop ’em in a zip-top bag when freezing — it’ll make pulling out a single bar a breeze.

6. Cheesy breakfast casserole

This make-ahead casserole is a good choice when you’re entertaining. The combo of potatoes and bell peppers adds color and a healthy dose of veggies.

Plus, it keeps in your freezer for up to 3 months, so you can be ready whenever you have unexpected company for brunch.

7. Portable breakfast sandwiches

These portable breakfast sandwiches are a go-to for people who always spend mornings on the run. The egg crepes take just a few minutes to cook.

Then assemble your sandwiches and wrap them separately for the full Starbucks experience — without wasting those add-up dollars.


What I COOKED Wednesday-FREEZER PLEASERS!

It’s a WIAW first! Normally, my #WIAW posts involve a whole lot of…well… the things I ate on Wednesday. But I realized that lately on my Weigh-In Wednesday posts <dang, I post a lot on Wednesdays!> I’ve been doing a lot of complaining about being so busy and having that prevent me from eating properly. I finally came to the realization that it was time to quit bellyaching and ‘pony up to the bar’- I needed to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! Making the decision to do so doesn’t necessarily mean that all of a sudden my schedule cleared up, we came into beaucoup amounts of money, or the hubs was given 3 straight weeks off of work and unearthed a heretofore unknown fountain of youthful energy with which to pull off all of our DIY projects. What it did do, however, was give me the desire to find a better way to manage our food so that I could pull off healthy meals each day and not resort to eating out, ordering in, or grabbing something quick (but inevitably unhealthy) to shove in my mouth in an effort to fill the ache in my tummy! After bumping around in blogland and checking out various other sites, I ran across Karrie @ Happy Money Saver and her post about the day she made freezer meals. EUREKA! I found my answer! I suddenly realized that my problem wasn’t just about making bad food choices- it was about terrible time management as well. I knew that if I followed Karrie’s example, bit the bullet, sequestered myself in the kitchen, and cooked my tushie off making a ton of freezer meals- then dinners would be a SNAP to pull off any given night of the week! That way, I could still be terrible at managing my time yet stay on a pretty straight and narrow eating plan. Yay me!

My ‘smaller than I thought it would be’ shopping list

I did a bit of Googling and found several sites with tons of freezer meal ideas (which I quickly bookmarked) but decided to initially go with Leanne Ely’s 𔃵 for the Freezer‘ recipes (which I promptly adjusted and made my own). I chose her recipes though, because I love how she not only breaks each recipe down for you, with shopping lists and everything, but gives you side dish suggestions and more! It’s dummy proof (and if you know me, you know why that’s important!) I had several requirements of the recipes I chose- they had to be relatively few ingredients (that my kids would actually be willing to try/eat), the ingredients had to be fairly inexpensive and relatively easy to purchase (I’m not in a huge city), and it had to be fast and simple to pull together and/or cook. I printed out a stack of recipes as thick as my fist, sat down, and made my shopping list (which I honestly thought would be MUCH longer) and headed for the store. It took $200 and a trip to Sam’s Club, Aldi, and Harris Teeter before everything was bought and ready to cook- my kitchen table was completely covered and there wasn’t an ounce of room in our fridge! But man, the amount of food I was able to whip up! All told, to date I’ve made 35 ‘Freezer Pleasers’ (I’m totally trademarking that name) and I’m already chomping at the bit to make more. (I know, I’m a total glutton for punishment). It’s such a joy to know those 35 meals are sitting pretty in my freezer and you can’t imagine the relief I feel knowing that if I went on strike and didn’t lift a single spatula or wooden spoon for the next month (literally a whole month !), not a one of us would go hungry or gain 30 lbs. from eating McDonald’s every night!

I did my best to make a variety of meals so that we wouldn’t get bogged down by too many pork dishes or an overabundance of chicken. I even managed to make them fit into the daily meal categories that my kids find so amusing:
  • Meatless Mondays (Vegetarian)
  • Tasty Travels Tuesdays (Ethnic)
  • Wet N Wild Wednesdays (Seafood)
  • Throwback Thursdays (Comfort food)
  • Pizza Fridays (Pizza, duh!)
  • Souper Saturdays (Soups/Chilis)
  • Slow Cooker Sundays (Crockpot Cooking)

Here’s what I made (and yes, you can click the title to get the recipe!):

RecipeMain IngredientNightly Category(ies)
Manic Meatloaf w/ Tomato RelishGround BeefThrowback Thursdays
Caesar’s BurgersGround BeefTasty Travels Tuesdays-Italian
Throwback Thursdays
Fajita BurgersGround BeefTasty Travels Tuesdays-Mexican
Throwback Thursdays
Garlic Spaghetti MeatballsGround BeefTasty Travels Tuesdays-Italian
Throwback Thursdays
Mock GyrosGround BeefTasty Travels Tuesdays-Greek
Havana HashGround BeefTasty Travels Tuesdays-Latin
Two Bean ChiliGround BeefTasty Travels Tuesdays-Southwestern
Souper Saturdays
South of the Border QuicheGround BeefTasty Travels Tuesdays-Southwestern
Kandi’s KeemaGround BeefTasty Travels Tuesdays-Middle Eastern
Gingery Beef Stir FryGround BeefTasty Travels Tuesdays-Asian
Shepherd’s Pie #3Ground BeefThrowback Thursdays
DaVinci’s Meatloaf SupperGround BeefTasty Travels Tuesdays-Italian
Throwback Thursdays
Montezuma’s MuffinsGround BeefTasty Travels Tuesdays-Mexican
Throwback Thursdays
Mino’s Meaty MinisGround BeefTasty Travels Tuesdays- Greek
Throwback Thursdays
Git Along Little DoggiesGround BeefTasty Travels Tuesdays-Southwestern
Throwback Thursdays
Calcutta CupsGround BeefTasty Travels Tuesdays-Indian
Throwback Thursdays
Turkey Tico Taco ChiliGround TurkeyTasty Travels Tuesdays-Southwestern/Mexican
Souper Saturdays
Slow Cooker Sundays
Herbed Grilled Flank SteakFlank SteakThrowback Thursdays
Crock Smothered SteakFlank SteakThrowback Thursdays
Slow Cooker Sundays
Baby’s Got Back RibsBaby Back RibsThrowback Thursdays
Slow Cooker Sundays
Peruvian Pork and Potato StewPork ShoulderTasty Travels Tuesdays-Latin
Souper Saturdays
Slow Cooker Sundays
Crock Lemon Pork TenderloinPork LoinThrowback Thursdays
Slow Cooker Sundays
Lemony Baked Crusted TilapiaTilapiaWet ‘N Wild Wednesdays
Mustard Thyme TilapiaTilapiaWet ‘N Wild Wednesday
Fish AmandineWhite FishWet ‘N Wild Wednesdays
Sweet and Sour SalmonSalmonWet N Wild Wednesdays
Slow Cooker Sundays
Halibut in Wine SauceHalibut SteaksWet ‘N Wild Wednesdays
Slow Cooker Sundays
Spinach and Artichoke PieVegetarianMeatless Mondays
Italian FrittataVegetarianMeatless Mondays
Tasty Travels Tuesdays- Italian
Crock Pot Split Pea SoupVegetarianSouper Saturdays
Slow Cooker Sundays
Kandi’s Favorite Chicken StirfryBL/SL Chicken BreastTasty Travels Tuesdays-Chinese
Chicken Cordon BleuBL/SL Chicken BreastTasty Travels Tuesday-French
Throwback Thursdays
Moroccan Chicken with Honey CouscousBL/SL Chicken BreastTasty Travels Tuesday-Middle Eastern
Crock Barbecue Chicken SupperBL/SL Chicken ThighsThrowback Thursday
Slow Cooker Sundays
Easy Sunday Slow Cooker ChickenWhole ChickenThrowback Thursdays
Slow Cooker Sundays
Now, my freezer is bursting at the seams and my wallet is only slightly lighter. If you divide the $200 spent on ingredients by the 35 meals I’ve already made, it breaks down to

$5.71 per meal. Considering each meal stretches far enough to feed 6 people (completely!) at dinner with some leftover for lunches… that’s not too shabby! All together I managed to surprise even myself with my dedication to completing the task and I’m very excited for how it’s going to help us now and in the future. I’ve made a personal goal to take one weekend per month (at least) to make more freezer pleasers to replenish the supply and, honestly, because I really just enjoyed it. (Seriously!)

We had our first inaugural Freezer Pleaser meal last night (Tasty Travels Tuesday)- Moroccan Chicken with Honey Couscous Mashed Potatoes and Sicilian Broccoli- and it was A-MA-ZING! Most definitely something you need to make. Now. Seriously… get in your kitchen and make this. Your whole family will thank me. If you feel inspired by one of my recipes, or have a great freezer pleaser of your own to share, feel free to hit me up in the comments. I’d especially love any vegetarian meals you have hidden up your sleeve- I’ve got to break my kids’ meat habit… it’s getting out of hand! Until next time… may the fork be with you!


70+ Appetizer Recipes & Party Pleasers

I’m always on the lookout for new hors d’oeuvres to try and this list is going to keep me busy (and guests smiling). This Hit List is a packed bunch of crowd pleasing appetizers that I’ve handpicked from around the ‘net: some easy (some fussy), some cheesy, some healthy (some not!), some hot (some cold)–I’m confident you’ll find a few new favorites in this collection.

==> Don’t miss the packed list of Bonus items at the bottom of this page, you’ll find a separate list for dips, meatballs, chicken wings, tips for making a cheese board and more–all perfect for entertaining. I’ll update the list again next year so you may want to bookmark this page ).

==>Update: I’ve been receiving requests for the recipe to make prosciutto wrapped breadsticks (as seen in the image to the right). There’s no recipe, you simply wrap a single slice of meat (thinly cut) around the breadsticks (diagonally), making sure to leave an end uncovered for handling.


Freezer Pleasers

A stroll down the frozen aisle is a multicultural experience. Today’s freezer meals feature creative, palate-pleasing cuisine from all over the globe. And what’s more, many of them are made with natural, healthy ingredients that are loaded with nutrients. Not bad for entrees that can be ready in a handful of minutes. Here are a few of our favorites.

South of the Border

Our Pick: CedarLane Quinoa & Vegetable Enchiladas

Why We Like It: Quinoa and poblano cream sauce star in this flavorful comfort food that contains a whopping 170% of your daily vitamin A requirements. It also provides nearly a third of your necessary fiber, 15% of your iron and calcium and 12 grams of protein.

Also Try: CedarLane Three Layer Enchilada Pie

Italian

Our Pick: Healthy Choice Café Steamers Simply – Creamy Spinach & Tomato Linguini

Why We Like It: All the flavor of Italian, without the heaviness. A mildly creamy sauce complements al dente pasta, with nutrition and flavor boosts from organic tomatoes and spinach. You’ll also get 20% of your daily fiber, 20% vitamin A, 15% iron and a mere 3 grams of sugars.

Also Try: Amy’s Bowls – Pesto Tortellini

Asian

Our Pick: Luvo Orange Mango Chicken

Why We Like It: Yum! Tangy-sweet citrus sauce and cubed mango tops white-meat chicken, flanked by broccoli, kale and a whole-grain blend of jasmine rice, quinoa and wheat berries for a perfectly proportioned meal. The daily value numbers are favorable, too: 70% vitamin A, 50% vitamin C, 34% protein.

Also Try: Evol Teriyaki Chicken

Indian

Our Pick: Saffron Road Chicken Tikka Masala

Why We Like It: The meat is tender, the sauce is creamy and the spices are just right in this Indian-cuisine standby served over basmati rice. It provides 15% of your daily iron and vitamin A and C needs plus, the chicken is well-sourced: humanely raised, with no antibiotics and a 100% vegetarian diet.

Also Try: Saffron Road Lamb Saag

American

Our Pick: Evol Truffle Parmesan Mac & Cheese

Why We Like It: Crusty breadcrumbs and genuine truffle sauce (from truffles sniffed out by trained dogs in Italy) set this dish apart from other versions of the American classic. Health bonus: It’s made from dye-free cheese from cows not treated with rSBT hormones and produced without animal rennet.

Also Try: Amy’s Bowls – Brown Rice, Black-Eyed Peas and Veggies


Freezer Pleasers

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Wouldn’t it be great to come home after a long, cold day, throw a pan into the oven, and within an hour and a half (just in time for dinner) have a fragrant, piping hot, homemade entrée ready to put on the table? These casseroles deliver on that dream. Prepared ahead, they retain their fresh-made flavor for up to four months, and they can go straight from freezer to oven. Plus, they’re a far cry from calorie- and fat-laden condensed-soup-and-cup-of-cheese casseroles. From a comforting shepherd’s pie to a spicy samosa casserole, they’re just the things to chase away those winter dinner blues.


Crock Pot Pizza Casserole Freezer Meal Recipe:

  • 2 cups of cubed ham
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped green pepper
  • 10 oz. can chopped mushrooms (if your kids will eat mushrooms!)
  • 28 oz. tomato sauce
  • 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups small pasta

Place 2 cups of pasta in a medium-sized resealable freezer bag. Seal both bags and staple them together. Be sure to staple above the seal to avoid leaks. Lay flat in the freezer.

On the day you want to serve it, thaw and put the ingredients from the large bag into the crockpot and cook for 4 hours on low. Cook the pasta on the stovetop according to the package directions and drain. Stir the noodles into the casserole just before serving.


Bakeproof: Crowd pleasers

As the peak entertaining season draws nearer and anxiety descends, let’s tackle those feelings with my favourite five ways to enjoy the process of hosting a festive get-together at your place. It's as simple as drawing on a collection of dishes that are tried and true, right for the season, easy to make ahead, and preferably freezer friendly, and that you can make in large quantities.

1. Have I made it before?

This is not the time to choose a recipe from a source you aren’t familiar with. Nor one that stretches your skills too far. Choose reliable recipes that will give you confidence. When entertaining, it's always a good idea to sit a little within your comfort zone, even if it means making something you've made before – in fact, I say it’s definitely best to stay with something you have successfully made before. In truth, something simple done well will always be far more impressive than something elaborate done not so well.

2. Is it seasonal?

When it comes to cooking, I am a big advocate of using what is in season. The more seasonal the produce you use, the less preparation will be required to make it taste great. With the summer months ahead, make the most of wonderful stone fruit, luscious berries, flavoursome green peas and juicy tomatoes.

3. Can I prepare it in advance?

At all costs, avoid recipes that need to be prepared at the last minute. There are so many that can be prepared well before that first knock on the door, and these are the ones you need to be looking for. It’s a great feeling knowing that everything is already done before your guests arrive. These fennel grissini sticks are perfect to make ahead – a whole week ahead if you need!

4. Will the freezer come in handy?

When the ingenious prep-ahead bug bites you, the freezer becomes a great friend. Imagine making recipes weeks in advance – perfectly possible with these lamb and harissa sausage rolls and chicken and olive empanadas – leaving only the reheating to be done. Check the recipes for freezing recommendations, and make sure you wrap well and then label and date everything you freeze.

5. Will it feed an army?

Fussy and fiddly is for intimate gatherings of four or less. If you’ve invited the whole gang, opt for recipes that can feed a crowd. Look for those that are satisfying, flavoursome and easy to make in reasonably large quantities, and choose recipes that will make good use of your time in the kitchen. This caramelised onion and goat’s cheese flatbread is one of my automatic standbys.


Watch the video: Μεταμόρφωση παλιού καταψύκτη (December 2021).