Friday, June 15, 2012

Fast Food Freezer Cookin'

So one of my best friends and I put our hungry heads together and came up with some family frendly, easy freezer meals to satisfy any fast food craving. These are not the healthiest recipes in my recipe box, but are definitely better options.

So are you craving Asain takeout? Mexican? Street fair Italian Sausage? or maybe just some good 'ol southern comfort food...ready or not, here we go:

Arent our aprons adorbs?? We started by splitting our dry ingredients into baskets, I doubled my recipes because my family eats and eats and eats...

So we aren't the most ORGANIZED cooks around, but if we were, this would be the order of our cooking adventure:

1. Southern Comfort

We took my mama's meatloaf recipe and tripled it. The single recipe is as follows:

Ingredients needed:

2 lbs ground round
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup bread crumbs, or GF bread crumbs for my fellow celiacs :)
3/4 cup Ketchup
1 tsp of Accent - find MSG free
1/2 cup warm water
1 envelope onion soup mix
8 oz tomato sauce

Mix all the ingredients, minus the tomato sauce, by hand in a big bowl. Kids love helping with this part. Put into a loaf pan and slap by hand profusely until you are POSTITIVE all air pockets are out of the loaf. Pour sauce on top and bake at 350 for 1 hour. Can be frozen in chunks or whole.

Meanwhile, while that's cookin' (catch my southern accent?!?!), put the roast in the croc-pot:

Ingredients needed:

3lb Chuck Roast
1 thinly sliced yellow onion
1 package whole baby carrots or carrot chips
3 lb bag of potatoes
1 cup red wine
Pot roast seasoning envelope (I use McCormick)

Cube chuck roast (I get about 10 pieces out of a 3 lb roast), place in bottom of croc-pot. Layer a few onions, quarter your potatoes and place on top. Another round of onions, a layer of carrots, and then pour the seasoning/wine mix over all. Cook on high for 4-6 hours. This recipe MUST be cooked prior to freezing, or the potatoes will turn to MUSH. Can be frozen afterwards in gallon-sized freezer bags.

And no matter HOW good this smells, don't let your husband open the lid...croc-pots need to keep the heat in...

2. Football Fare

While the oven's still at 350, lets knock out the last oven-prepped meal - CORNDOGS! (Recipe makes about 30 mini corndogs)

Oh yeah, we all get to that deep, dark, "Is Sonic still open?" place sometimes. Here's a quick alternative thats probably not so bad for ya (baked, not fried!).

Ingredients needed:

5 turkey hot dogs
2 boxes "Jiffy" brand corn muffin mix
2 eggs
2/3 cup milk
tablespoon honey

Mix all ingredients except hot dogs, and while you are letting the mix rest (for 4 minutes), cut each hot dog into 5 pieces. Re-stir the muffin mix, and fill mini-muffin tins half way. Place a piece of hot dog in each, and then about a half of a spoonful of mix on top again. Bake for 12-14 mins. Freezes GREAT!

Can't have a "sports bar" night without anything BUFFALO!

I hate to give away my secrets, but this is the easiest recipe I own, and it's also the one that makes my husband ask me where I got my halo :)

Ingredients needed:

4 chicken breasts
Jar of your favorite buffalo sauce
1 envelope ranch seasoning

Literally - Combine all ingredients in a ziploc bag, freeze flat, and dump in the croc-pot on low for 8 hours. Chicken shreds and you can throw it on a bun with some bleu cheese, put it on a salad, or use as a pizza topping (just made that up, but YUM!)

3. Italia!

Simple Ziti

I hesitate to even give this "recipe" just because it's hilariously simple...but for "freezer cookin'" order's sake, this is what I did:

Ingredients needed:

1 lb ground turkey
Box of favorite ziti (I used a fiber and whole grain pasta for the kiddos)
Jar of Sauce (Ragu Traditional)
1 bag of shredded mozzarella
Spices (I used oregano, parsley, and italian seasonings)

Combine meat (cooked w/ spices), cooked pasta, sauce, and cheese in one giant pot. Heat on low until cheese begins to melt, and dump in freezable tinfoil-y pans (see the science behind my freezer meals?).

This made two pans for me.

While the meat is browning and pasta's cooking, put together your Italian Sausage and Peppers

Ingredients needed:

6 italian turkey sausage (I didn't use pork because  "raw" and "pork" in the same phrase freaks me out)
2 green bell peppers
1 red bell pepper
1 onion
4 cloves garlic
2 cans italian diced tomatoes
olive oil

Chop all veggies and mince garlic. Pour in gallon-freezer bag with tomatoes, dash of olive oil, and sausage. Freeze flat. Cook on low in croc-pot for 8 hours when desired.

4. Specialty Take-Out!

Asian food is a take-out must, right? Here's a simple teriyaki recipe that puts "Panda Express" right out of business!

Ingredient's needed:

4 chicken breasts
Bag of carrot chips
1 red onion
2 undrained cans of diced pineapple
4 cloves garlic
1 cup teriyaki sauce

Chop/mince garlic and onion. The rest is easy: Combine all ingredients into 2 gallon size freezer bags (just can't seem to fit it into one bag!), lay flat in freezer. When ready to cook, dump in croc-pot and set on low for 8 hours, or high for 4.

Ok, so "Taco Meat" isn't so much of a specialty item, but I could go for mexican any day of the week.

I had a couple of leftover pounds of ground beef and a couple packets of seasoning, so I took the opportunity to pre-cook and freeze my taco meat. You hear that, Taco Bell? No excuses!

So what's in my freezer now? We ended up with 3 full meatloaves, 2 pots of pot-roast (we doubled the recipe), 60 mini corn-dogs (doubled the recipe, again), 4 bags of buffalo chicken (doubled...catching my cooking style,here?), 2 pans of ziti. We also tripled the sausage recipe for 3 family meals, Tripled the teriyaki recipe, and threw in 2 lbs of taco meat to make two taco nights much easier. All in all, thats 21 dinners, not including all the LEFTOVERS!!! I'd say we did pretty darn good for a couple of freezer cookin' newbies! Oops, scratch the "couple", we also had some assistance:

That's all, y'all! Here are some photos to help you out:

Sausage and Pepper prep

Teriyaki minus the chiken

Our tripled meatloaf (not pretty, but it tastes darn good!)

Yummy Ziti!

...and most of our final outcome (missing the corn muffins and pot roast)

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