Freezer Meals: Part 1

My poor husband. I have been torturing him cooking these meals and then freezing them. He keeps watching them enter the freezer longingly. But it does feel good to see my freezer filling up with good meals I can utilize when I need them. 
I hope these inspire you to take a day/evening or a couple to prep meals like this. I think it will help us “eat out less” too even when we aren’t “Brining home baby…” if I made some of these on a rotation regularly. 
I have never cooked Freezer Meals before so I turned to a Facebook Status to request ideas, recipes, and tips. I was tickled to receive a bunch and now they will come to you in a couple installations here on Inspiration Clothesline. Hope you are inspired!
These two recipes are from my friend Diana Frazier (my self proclaimed “Sparkly Granola” who is a friend and fellow “Stay at Home Mom.” She has always been a HUGE support to me, and did not disappoint when I turned to her for her “go-to” freezer meals. You can find her full recipes on her “Freezer Meal” post here. I believe the originated from her Mom, Lynn, who is very talented in the kitchen.
Spaghetti Pie (so fun to put together and I can’t wait to eat it) I saw a “finished product” picture on Diana’s blog and it looks really fun to eat! 
Her recipe made two Spaghetti Pies (10″ pie pans were overflowing)
And Baked Zitti. which made two large 9×13″ pans. This could feed our family plus a set of grandparents or auntie & uncle combo.
TIP: from my friend Jennifer Holm of Homemaker’s Hands – any freezer meals that use pasta. It is a good idea to slightly under cook the pasta since you will re-heat (and further cook) them in the oven. Then they won’t be overcooked or soggy.
This is a Taste of Home Recipe called Broccoli Tuna Casserole (p. 43) in a volume, from September/October of 2013, that featured “Make-and-Freeze Dinners.” It has proved a go-to for me. I love their Easy Slow Cooker Mac & Cheese (p. 47) and also am trying their Five-Cheese Jumbo Shells (p. 39) and Chicken Burritos (p. 38) from the same volume!
These Sloppy Joe’s smell delicious. I just froze the recipe in a ziplock bag and will thaw and warm and serve on toasted buns once we are hungry for this meaty entree!

1 pound hamburger and 1 medium onion, chopped – cook in saute pan and drain.
Stir in: 1 small can of tomato sauce, 1/3 cup ketchup, 1/8 tsp. cayenne or 2 Tb crushed red chili peppers, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper and 1/2 tsp garlic salt.

This is a large batch of Loaded Baked Potato Chowder and is a staple at our house. It is a Pampered Chef Recipe that I use ALL THE TIME and often make for new families after they bring home baby so I thought I’d make a double batch for us to have in our freezer. 
I do cook the bacon bits and green onion into the soup – rather then use as a topping – as I have found it to add more flavor. And I add 3-4 cloves of pressed garlic early in the cooking process, and 2 cups or so of frozen corn near the end of the cooking time. Just adds to the flavor and texture.
I also don’t peel my potatoes but that is completely up to preference.
This is one I can’t wait to eat. It’s Lynn’s Burrito Casserole and I’ve never made anything quite like it. 
The components tasted so good as I put it together I had a hard time resisting eating them or making them for dinner THAT night. Instead of one really large 13×9 pan with the original recipe – I cut it in half and then did 5 burritos in each of these 8×8 pans. That way we have some meals that are more friendly for our smaller family or I can cook both if I need more food.

Finally I took a recipe that Diana shared with me of her “Crock Pot Chicken Dumplings” and looked for a way to turn it into a freezer meal.
Here was my approach – I’ll have to let you know how it turns out.
I diced all the veggies and (not following the recipe on this part) the chicken too. I put all the veggies in a gallon ziplock bag – including 2 cups of frozen corn (not pictured). Then added the diced chicken on top (which is important because then when I dump it into the crock pot it will be on the bottom of the pot like the recipe suggests) and all the spice and sauce components to the top of that. All I will need to do is toss it into the crock pot and add 3.5 cups of chicken broth. Then cook on 8 hours (low). At that point you pull the biscuits into thirds and add them to the top of the crock pot cooking until the biscuits are baked through. YUM!!!
Maybe next time I will put sauce and spice ingredients in first, then veggies, then finish with the chicken. I’ll have to see how it pans out. 😉

I’ll do one more installation of these freezer meals soon so stay tuned.
Next time I’ll include:
1. Ingredients for Chicken Fajitas
2. Crock Pot Roast (we can use multiple ways)
3. Chicken Burritos (Taste of Home)
4. Chicken Enchiladas (Diana)
5. Slow Cooker Mac & Cheese (Taste of Home)
6. Five Cheese Jumbo Shells (Taste of Home)

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