I had a very productive weekend/week! I nearly filled the
deep freezer that my brothers got me for Christmas to the brim with ready to eat, home-made, HEALTHY freezer meals in preparation for MiniM’s arrival!
And the end result is a very full freezer that sits on the patio of my tiny house, just in reach for convenience!
I ended up buying three different sizes of freezable containers that I could use for freezing only, they will not be microwaved in, I can empty the food either into a frying pan to be heated back up or in the microwave.
These are the containers I got, in 8 oz., 16 oz. and 32 oz. My mom also had some extra flat freezer containers that I used for the enchiladas.
James was kind enough to let me use his kitchen (I used big pots/pans that work better on his big stove). We struck the deal that if he worked on the tiny house plans I would do all of the cooking (he gets to eat too of course). Here is what I made, it is a lot [A LOT] of food pictures, you really don’t NEED to see them but if you’re looking for dinner ideas maybe it’s interesting?? :). In other news there is an update coming on the progress of those house plans, I am getting all the details figured out, I have never done this ‘selling something online’ so there is a bit to work through to make sure everything is safe and secure for everyone. I think the plan set is going to be great, I like how it’s coming together it’s way better than the standard 2D set I get to build at work… much easier to read and understand. As a reminder, there is a link on the right hand side of the website that will let you sign up to be notified when they become available (with a coupon), we are still shooting for the beginning of March before MiniM makes her debut to have them ready, there is still a lot of work to be done but they are progressing nicely!
Onto the meals, hope everyone is well!
First things first, getting the garlic ready for the weekends adventure :) I am a big fan of garlic so this will all get used :)
It occured to me AS I was peeling all of this, the sell it all pre-peeled, I could have saved basically an hour and some stinkie hands! Oh well, live and learn, next time…
A good portion of my side dishes start with the same ingrediants, onions and garlic saute’d in butter, it smells like heaven and tastes the same!
The first dish was our famous family green beans with my little twists of course, I add Ham (instead of bacon) and slivered almonds to the pan
Oh yeah, and the green beans…. I ended up using one whole sweet onion, about 4-5 cloves of garlic, about a half a stick of butter, as much halm and almonds as you like (mine is about 1/4-1/2 cup of each and 4 cans of green beans, you can use fresh too, just steam them a little and saute them with the onions, I was going for valume this weekend so I used a lot of shortcuts to get the most but healthiest food I could!
Final product… I let this cool before putting them in the plastic freeze tupperware I ended up getting. While it cooled I started my second dish….
Same base :), butter onions and garlic! MMMMM!
This time with some fresh asparugus (cut or break the fat ends off, they get all dried up and not good tasting…)
I added the juice of a whole lemon in with the saute
I like adding ginger too but the last time I cooked this I learned a shortcut, I was drinking ginger-ale (for my upset pregnant belly), I was out of ginger so I poured in a little bit of my ginger-ale, turns out it was delicious, a little sugar never hurts vegetables :) So this time I added some more ginger-ale too :)
While those sauteed a bit I cut and started cooking the asparagus by steaming it about 3-5 minutes (until it is bright green).
While both of those went I scooped up the green beans into their new home
I have some 1 serving and some two serving freezer dishes, I mixed them up and labeled them all up!
then back to throwing in the asparagus to the sauteed mixture to finish the cooking. I actually cooked these til they were ALMOST done, now I can pull them out, thaw them and throw them in a pan to be heated up/finish cooking.
I squoze (I don’t think that’s a word) in a little more lemon, covered them for a couple minutes
then bam! freezer ready asparagus!
Let it cool and package it up, label it and set it aside!
Denver was of course so helpful the whole time!
Next on the docket, mashed potatoes! a favorite of mine! I bought a 10 pound bag and peeled as many as I could fit into the pot, it was about 7 pounds…
chopped them into little pieces so they would cook faster and sent them to a boil…
As they cooked I aslo made some stuffing, another quick and easy way to get some carbs, I stuck with Stovetop to save time again, one of those other handy shortcuts, and it was on a great sale so… I made four boxes of stovetop and added cranberries to them, because they are delicious and its anothe rlayer of nutriants I figure I can add…
It took nearly no time to make the Stovetop, let it cool and package it too…
When that was done the potatoes were gettign close to being ready so I sauteed up some garlic to put in them.
I drained the water, added the garlic, a stick of butter and about a cup of half and half, blend and bam! I have potatoes!
Everything is starting to add up…
I was a machine and I just kept staking them in the courner.
and more and more and more!
On to some actual protein… Time for some enchiladas!
Brown some hamburger, add an onion and some garlic to cook down
add a can of olives and a package of enchilada seasoning (another shortcut by me!) and cook it together.
I decided to cook a big batch of rice too for rice bowls and since I had it there I added a few cups of rice.
The end mixture looked something like this
I have never made enchiladas before so it turns out I suck at rolling them (what is the trick to this!) All of the tortillas broke, I just covered it with enchilada sauce and cheese
Now I call it enchilada casserole :) I stuck it in the oven to bake on 350 until the cheese was melted and bubbly
While that baked I made some southwest rice for burritos too
I just added a can of tomatoes and peppers to a big bowl of rice, I set this aside for later…
Then the enchiladas were done (well I took a little break here while they baked, my feet were starting to hurt :).
Back at it… time for some fried rice, another favorite of mine, I used the veggies I had on hand and not necessarily what I ‘usually’ use, I just like veggies in it… So I used broccoli, carrots and cabbage
Stir-fry those together until they are cooked to your liking… set aside
Then some eggs, I like a lot of eggs in my fried rice, I dump those in the same side dish with the veggies to wait.
Then fry the rice in a little bit of oil and add some soy sauce
While that fried I was able to package all the enchiladas
Then I mix in the veggies and add some ham. I just used some high quality deli ham (less binders and processing but yet another shortcut for ease of bulk cooking)
Let that all cool and package up
I then just put some plain rice in containers, some with plain grilled chicken,, some without. I can take these and add some veggies and teriyaki sauce for a rice bowls or add some cream of chicken soup for a quick and tasty dish…
Next up is some easy spagetti, brown some meat and add some of the same basic sauteed onions and garlic.
cook it down together.
I dont mind using a can of sauce, it cuts off HOURS of work but admittidly is not as good as home made (which my folks are great at making, they have even set aside some of their latest home made batch of sketti for me, MMMMM)
And the noodles
The food is piling up for the first day!
I decided to stop the first day at spaghetti, after about 8 hours of cooking I packaged up the last of the food and called it a day
At the end of the first day I was about half full in the freezer.
I started a little sooner on day two with some red potatoes! Chopped them up, boiled them a little bit less than if they were going to be mashed so they would be cooked but keep their shape a little better
Add some fresh parsley, a package of sour cream some salt/pepper/granulated garlic and some horseradish sauce
Mix it all together, it’s good stuff!
Package and set aside
Then the potato casserole, butter a casserole dish, layer it with lots of hashbrowns (I really don’t work with ‘quantities’ its what looks good to me, sorry or is convienient ie one whole onion instead of 1 cup or half cup etc. :))
Saute up some onions and garlic, it really is a staple :)
While that is cooking mix up a can of cream of mushroom soup, a cup or so of cheddar cheese and a package of sour cream
Mix it all together! add the onions and garlic.
then layer it over the hashbrowns, sprinkle with a little more cheese and crushed ritz crackers, bake until browned and melty
While that was baking I made some green bean casserole, Since I love it I made a couple batches :). Per Campbell’s Soup’s directions
Except I used crushedRitz crackers again, I like that better than the fried onions…
Then the potato casserole came out, green bean casserole went in
Another shortcut on the soups was to use the pre-packaged Bea Creek Soups, they are delicious if you add al teh extras, just kinda plain if you don’t. I started with minestrone
Added some ground beef and diced tomatoes
At the same time I made some clam chowder too. to this I added diced clams and a can of corn
While doing that the green bean casseroles got done so I pulled them out to cool.
The soups came out great and are delish! I like them because you get a good 8+ cups of soup at a time and it is so much better than canned, not quite as good as home made but MUCH faster :)
I let those sit aside to cool and packaged the green bean casserole
and the potato casserole
Then the soups. I packaged everything into either single servings or double sevrings so James and I can either agree or disagree on dinner :)
On to round two of soups, Creamy Potato
And Tortilla Soup
Tortilla Soup is looking good
For that I added som leftover crock pot chicken that james had for burritos
and a half a package of sour cream and a little cheddar cheese
And the creamy potato, I added the rest of the sour cream package, some cheddar cheese
a can of corn
and some ham (more of the deli ham)
MMMM, the finished Tortilla soup!
And the finished potato soup
I let those cool and rermembered I had forgotten to do the brussel sprouts the day prior, I did them exactly the same way as I did the asparagus the previous day
And similarly looking (gross) I made some breakfast burritos (cause it’s not all about dinners!
Frying up some ground sausage
And hashbrowns! with chorizo! MMM
And of course some cheese
I love chorizo potatoes, I made up all the ingredients and then set up an assembly line to put them together
I did four at a time, put down some plastic wrap, a tortilla and then some of each of the eggs (with salsa), sausage, hash browns and cheese
A few rounds of that and I had 20 breakfast burritos
put them into freezer bags
and load up the freezer after day two, I really trie to get it all done over the weekend but didn’t quite make it, 18 hours of cooking on Saturday and Sunday wiped me out… so it continued.
Monday I did my veggies that I forgot to do on the weekend, starting with some broccoli, I just steamed these
Put them in the first layer
While those were steaming I chopped up the zucchini and Squash
These I like to saute in butter with salt and pepper with some garlic (surprise, it is my go-to move :) )
I cooked them to about 80% done, now I can take them out of the freezer and throw them in a pan to finish and eat
Round two was carrots
Then packaging the sauteed squash
And finally cabbage, I can use these just as a side dish or in rice bowls, it’s never bad to have veggies ready to go! That’s all I was able to get done Monday after work, then it got hectic until the weekend
Last night I was finally able to finish things up starting with pastas! My favorite! You’ll never guess how it starts! :) Onions, garlic and butter (if I have wine I generally add some at this point too)! Shocker! This is my alfredo sauce
I add some mushrooms, even though I hate mushrooms, I just chop them up really small and they basically go away but have a good flavor for the sauce.
I like to add sun dried tomoatos nd artichoke hearts, I add these after the onions get cooked all the way, then I saute for just a couple minutes longer
Looks delish! and this one smells SO good!
then I add ‘some’ (maybe a quarter of a gallon) half and half (you can use milk and a thickener too if you want it healthier, I want the calories in this particular batch), and about 2 cups of parmasean cheese
Stir that all together and simmer it, it will thicken on it’s own
Whn it gets to the good point I turn off the heat and add some goat cheese that melts in, it gives it a nice rich flavor and a good shine too!
For this one I usually add some chicken breasts
And a similar dish… this is a rose sauce that I made up because the alfredo can be so rich, this has some other flavors that sort of cut that richness, even though it is still pretty rich :) This one starts with some spicy sausage which is cooked and set aside
The oil is mostly drained but a little is saved to saute the onions and garlic in.
I give those two a little head start before adding the mushrooms
get them all to a cooked level
add a half a cube of butter (and wine if you’d like)
similar ingredients as before, either half and half or milk which will need to be thickened and about 2 cups of parmesan cheese
Mix those all together and bring to a simmer to thicken the sauce just a bit.
At that point I add a small can of tomato paste to be mixed in, this makes it a pinkish sauce
Add the sausage back in
then turn the heat off and add a package of goat cheese which will melt in and give it the same rich flavor and shiny look!
We ate this one for dinner, you know, to test and see if it tasted ok :).
I cooked up lots of pasta and packaged up the pastas. Officially done cooking :)
And the end result is a very full freezer that sits on the patio of my tiny house, just in reach for convenience!