Two days ago I made more freezer meals than I ever have in one day, and it honestly went rather well! To make things easier on myself I made all of my ground beef meals together. In this cooking session I made and froze: 2 gallon-sized bags of beef chili, 6 quart-sized bags of meatballs, 3 quart-sized bags of taco beef, 1 gallon-sized bag of beef and kidney bean potato topping, and two 9x9 black bean and rice bakes. I have NEVER had this many meals socked away in the freezer, and it feels AMAZING!!! I only have 9 days until I go back to school (and we will be in Florida for 8 of those days!!:) so freezer cooking is my main focus right now, as lame as that sounds for A 23-year-old. ;)
Anyhow, since my little family of two <3 only eats beef about twice a week, these meals should last us awhile!
This is how we do it ;)
First, I always like to get out all of the produce and canned goods that I will need. That way I am not scrambling to find something that I may not even have, in the middle of cooking a meal. Plus, it looks so beautiful!
When making multiple recipes, I try to prep things together as much as possible. For example, I add super finely diced carrots, onion, and bell peppers to my chili, meatballs, taco beef, and beef and bean potato topping. So, instead of dragging out the food processor multiple times, I basically just finely dice a big bowl of each veggie and use them throughout the cooking session.
Pureed Roasted Garlic:
Last week I put myself through the misery of peeling 7 bulbs of garlic. Then I wrapped it all up with a little oil (grapeseed oil, my favorite many-purpose oil) in small foil packets. After roasting it in the oven for a half hour or so, I pureed it. Then, I froze it solid in spoonful sized dollops on wax paper. After it was frozen into solid little chunks, I tossed them into a quart-sized freezer bags, labeled, dated, and popped them back into the freezer. Now I have yummy roasted garlic to add to meals without any extra work! I threw some into all of my ground beef meals. :)
Lazy Laura’s Chili:
This chili is super easy! Just combine all of the ingredients and simmer on the stove top for 2-3 hours.
1 ½ lbs. ground beef, browned with 1 cup diced onions and 2 tablespoons minced or roasted & pureed garlic.
2 cups cooked pinto beans (cook from dry to save money and sodium, or used canned)
2 cups cooked kidney beans (cook from dry to save money and sodium, or used canned)
1 cup finely diced carrots
1 cup finely diced bell pepper
3 cans diced or stewed tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
1 Tablespoon Chili powder
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon black pepper
A sprinkle (or more) of cayenne pepper
This is what you get after simmering it for a few hours:
To Freeze Soups:
Cool the soup pot in an ice bath, stirring occasionally. Then pour into gallon-sized freezer quality bags and freeze the soup FLAT. Freezing meals flat, instead of in big blocks, enables the food to freeze faster so that fewer ice crystals form and the quality of the food is preserved. Of course I had to take out a bowl of chili for my lunch before freezing the rest! MMM!
BAKED POTATO TOPPING:
I found this meal idea in a freezer cooking book and it reminds me of a lazy version of Shepherd’s Pie, which I love! Basically you just cook up some ground beef or turkey, diced onions, garlic, diced carrot and peppers if you like, whatever spices you like and a can of drained kidney beans if you please. Freeze this meal flat in a plastic bag, and when you want it for dinner heat it in a skillet and throw it on top of baked potatoes!
ANYONE CAN MAKE TACO BEEF!
Just freeze it flat and then reheat in a skillet and throw on tacos, burritos, or our favorite: NACHOS!
My recipe for meatballs is in an earlier post, but here is a picture of our scrumptious BBQ meatball dinner from last night. (And by the way that is a Yukon gold potato, NOT a cup of butter on it. Hahaha)
Well, I better go get to work. Today is supposed to be my “chicken day”. Lol