Saturday, August 20, 2016

Fill Your Freezer - Teacher Timesaver!

Hey there!

When I went through my phone looking for pictures for my usual Five for Friday post, I realized I had one lonely photo. :(

It just proves that the busyness has begun.

I spent most of my time either at volleyball practice (two a days) or at appointments (hair, eye doctor, dentist, etc.). Thankfully, my classroom is set up and ready to go. I've got some lesson planning to get done, but when I tried to go to my classroom today there was no internet access which gave me a good excuse to turn around and come back home.

I report to work on Monday. EEEK!

Students on Thursday! EEEK! So excited!

Anyway, while I'm in meetings next week my kids will continue to help stock our freezer with breakfast and dinner (something we've been working on the last week or so). I've shared the breakfast recipes before--click here.

Have I ever told you that I have amazing kids? I can't believe they are headed into their sophomore and junior year!

Frozen dinners and/or crock pot dinners are key for us through basketball and volleyball season while I'm coaching. My husband gets home from work before the kids and I so he cooks for us a lot, but he appreciates it when I have some easy things planned and prepped for him.

Disclaimer: I am not a freezer meal expert! I have just learned some things along the way that might be helpful to you. Also, this is not going to give you specific meals at a specific price, etc. like many of the freezer posts I've seen. Just some ideas on easy (and not too expensive things you can do to help with meals) and some of our favorite recipes.

The basics:

1. Brown ground beef and freeze in portions that are common for your recipes (i.e. 1 lb or 2 lbs). 
Tip: Make your beef go further by shredding carrots and cooking them right along with the beef. If you don't over do, your kids won't even notice when you use the meat in recipes!

2. Season ground beef and form into hamburger patties. Freeze patties (or cook them first and freeze).

3. Make meatballs, cook and freeze.

4. Dice chicken, cook, and freeze in portions that are common for your recipes.

A few of our favorites:

1. Sloppy Joes - We use this recipe from The Pioneer Woman and it freezes great!

2. Chicken Spaghetti - Another one from The Pioneer Woman (we leave out the pimentos).

3. Cracked Out Chicken Bubble Up - Not necessarily a freezer recipe, but easy if you have diced, cooked chicken ready in the freezer and it is one of our favorite Pinterest finds! 

FREEZER TIP: Put food in Ziploc bags and lay flat so it takes up less room in your freezer. Also if you make a casserole (i.e. chicken spaghetti), you can lay the bag in the pan you plan to cook it in just until it freezes in the correct shape. Then remove the pan so you can use it.

Some of our favorite recipes I plan to try freezing for the first time:

Bacon Cheeseburger Meatloaf
1 lb. ground beef
10 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
8 oz. cheddar cheese
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
¼ c. bread crumbs
¼ c. mayo
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
¼ t. salt
¼ t. pepper
1/3 c. ketchup
2 T. mustard
1 (3 oz.) can French fried onions
Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, combine the beef and all ingredients except ketchup, mustard, and onions. In a small bowl, combine the ketchup and mustard. Stir in ¼ c. of the ketchup mixture into the beef, reserving the rest. Form meat loaf and place on center of broiler pan (well greased). Spread remaining ketchup mixture over the loaf. Bake 40 minutes. Top with French fried onions; bake another 10-15 minutes.

Chicken Enchiladas
1 can Cream of Chicken soup
8 flour tortillas
½ c. sour cream
1 c. Cheddar or Monterrey Jack cheese
1 T. margarine
1 t. chili powder
1 medium onion (chopped)
2 c. chopped cooked chicken
1 can (4 oz.) chopped green chilies

In small bowl mix soup and sour cream. Heat margarine over medium-high heat.  Add onion and chili powder.  Cook until tender.  Add chicken, chilies, and 2 T. soup mixture. Spread ½ c. soup mixture in baking dish.  Fill each tortilla w/ ¼ c. chicken mix. Spread remaining soup mixture over enchiladas.  Sprinkle with cheese. 
Bake at 350° for 25 minutes.
**to change it up, add 3 T. fresh chopped cilantro to sauce
Hope you are enjoying either your final weeks of summer break or your first weeks of school! 
Let me know if you try the recipes! ;-)

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