Friday, October 11, 2013

Freezer Cooking for a New Baby #4

Today's post is a continuation in the "Freezer Cooking for a New Baby" series.  I've been stocking my freezer full of yummy, easy or low prep meals that are also frugal, and I've been sharing them all here with you!  Be sure to check out all the posts in this series to get some great ideas for your freezer!  (Post 1, Post 2, Post 3)

#1: Crock Pot BBQ Pulled Pork

This is one of my favorite meals.  My family will eat it for lunch or dinner, and it can be changed up a bit by eating it in different ways (wrapped in a tortilla, hamburger bun, sandwich roll).  I buy a huge boneless pork shoulder butt from Costco (someone please explain to me a "shoulder butt"...that makes no sense to me).  This one cost us $27, and I totally forgot to check how many pounds that was.  You can see, though, that it fills both my large and medium crock pots to the top!  Here's how I cook it:

Crock Pot BBQ Pulled Pork

*In a crock pot, add your pork (shoulder, butt, or the oddly named shoulder butt :))

*Pour root beer over the top.  Pour enough to cover most of the pork, but still leave about 1-2" of space to the top lid.

*Cook on low for 6-8 hours or until the meat is tender and a fork easily "pulls" the meat apart.

*Drain off the excess liquid from the soda.  

*Shred the meat with two forks.

* Mix in 1 bottle of BBQ sauce.  Stir thoroughly. 

*Freeze into individual bags (don't forget to freeze them laying flat).

Our family can usually eat 6, sometimes 7, meals from one of these large pork pieces.  We will usually serve a steamed veggie and sweet potato fries along side it, and sometimes even have left overs from the portion.  So, while it seems pricey at first, it really is not too expensive at all in the long run.

#2: Stuffed Bell Peppers

There are two ways to make ahead and freeze stuffed bell peppers.  The first is to actually stuff, bake for 20 minutes or so, freeze individually, wrap individually in plastic wrap, and then freeze flat in a ziploc bag.  The upside to this method is that they are totally ready to go once you defrost them (just throw in the oven to warm throughout).  The down side is that bell pepper loose a little of their firmness when frozen.  Since my husband is not a huge fan of that down side, we go with plan B.

Plan B is to make the insides of the bell peppers and freeze it alone.  When you are ready to eat them, just defrost the bag, and use fresh bell peppers to stuff, bake, and eat.  The second reason I like this method is that our children do not like to eat the bell peppers, but they do like the insides.  I will usually cook up some rotini noodles and pour their portion of the bell pepper stuffings over the top.  They love it!

My bell pepper recipe is HERE.  Keep in mind that my recipe there is for a large group, so it will make a lot.  Just scale it down.  This is one recipe where I really don't measure a whole lot.  I just add whatever I have on hand and it always turns out great!  

We made two huge bags of bell pepper insides to add to our freezer.

#3: Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo

While I did make two batches of Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo, I only froze one.  I used one the next night for dinner.  This is also another simple one.  While I love homemade Alfredo, I usually use canned for the sake of ease when doing freezer cooking.

Freezer Friendly Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo

In a gallon sized Ziploc bag, mix together:

*1 1/2- 2 jars Alfredo sauce
*1 pound chopped chicken breast (or whatever chicken pieces you prefer)
*1-2 diced tomatoes
*1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
*Optional: Chopped mushrooms (we like them, but it can sometimes change the color of the sauce a bit when defrosting, which may be a turn-off for some people)

On the bag write: "Defrost.  Preheat oven to 400 F.  Pour mixture into a 9x13 glass pan and cook for 30 minutes or until chicken is done and sauce is hot and bubbly.  Meanwhile cook fettuccine noodles.  When both are done, stir together and serve hot."  Or some version of that which you'll understand :)

Serve alongside garlic bread or french bread or a steamed veggie.

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