This was a busy, hot week, but I planned Friday to do some freezer cooking for family meals. It’s hot and I don’t prefer in the kitchen heating up the oven this much, but it does save me some hot kitchen time down the road. The boys are continuing with their utensils and do eat every meal straight from their plates without any issues. We do still use the catch-style bibs to save a little floor cleanup, but not as much food is going in there these days and nothing is put on the table or chair for which I’m extremely grateful.
It is no secret that I like to make food in batches. Whether it be for initial baby purees, baby and toddler finger foods, or family meals, I prefer to knock out more than one thing at a time. If I’m going to be heating it up in the kitchen, why not make the most of it?
My focus for this Freezer Friday was 3 main dishes. I made meatloaf, chicken nuggets, and chicken divan. This made a total of at least 6 family meals sure to each have leftovers.
Chicken Nuggets A yummy alternative to those preservative-laden frozen store-bought nuggets.
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 cup bread crumbs (save bread ends and make your own)
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp basil
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 cup melted butter
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Pound chicken to tenderize, then cut into 1″-2″ pieces.
- Put melted butter in BOWL ONE.
- In BOWL TWO, mix together breadcrumbs, cheese, salt, and spices.
- Dip chicken pieces into BOWL ONE and then BOWL TWI. Put on lightly greased cookie sheet in a single layer. Cook about 12 minutes (20 if not freezing).
- Let cool and store in freezer bags with date and final cooking instructions below.
- Remove from freezer and cook at 400° for about 8-10 minutes.
Freezer Meat Loaf A super easy, simple meat loaf for the freeze
- 3 pounds ground beef
- 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
- 3-1/2 cups milk
- 1 cup minced onion
- 2 eggs
- 2 TBSP sea salt
- 2 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 tsp ground pepper
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, getting messy and really squishing everything together well with your hands.
- Divide into two 9″x5″ loaf pans.
- Wrap, label with date and cooking instructions below, and freeze.
- Remove from freezer and unwrap 3 hours before cooking. Preheat oven to 350° and cook for 2 – 2-1/2 hours.
Try this spinach meatloaf perfect for a wholesome toddler meal.
Chicken Divan A easy, creamy, green-filled complete meal in a dish.
- 40oz frozen broccoli (cooked)
- 4 cups cooked chicken, sliced into pieces
- 3/4 cup butter
- 3/4 cup flour
- 6 cups whole milk
- 1 cup whole cream
- 2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
- 3 TBSP mustard
- 4 TBSP minced onion
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- salt & pepper (to taste)
- In one large or two smaller casseroles, place cooked broccoli and top with chicken.
- In a large pan melt butter. Gradually add flour. Once thickened, add milk, stirring until combined. Once smooth, add remaining ingredients, stirring until heated through and cheese is melted.
- Pour sauce over chicken and broccoli.
- Allow to cool, then wrap, label with date and cooking instructions below, and freeze.
- Remove from freezer and unwrap 2-1/2 hours before cooking. Preheat oven to 350° and cook for 2-1/2 hours.
WHAT I LEARNED
I’ve had some people ask me how I do this with little ones at home and there are two things that I would say. Preparation and timing are key. I spend time preparing the meals I will prepare, making grocery lists, and then scheduling. I schedule the process from start to finish, including prep and cleanup and plan my cook time during long afternoon naps. There are times when I will do some prep the night before or finishing on a Saturday when dad can watch the kids. Either way, I know exactly what I will do when because of the initial planning and scheduling.
I can’t attest to the quality or taste of any of these meals yet as we have not thawed and enjoyed any of them yet. However, I can say that my husband commented on how nice the freezer looked with all of the blue plastic wrap.
I really, really, really cannot say enough about how much I enjoy freezer cooking. I do it to fill in meals during the week and especially on weekends. I like to mix it up with quick, fresh-cooked meals for nice variety and a good break from the kitchen in the week.