Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Freezing and Cooking

Each summer when I go back to work I freeze things. I froze a ton during the summer that I was pregnant, I think it lasted us 4-5 months (with my Mom helping out with meals for the first few weeks). I think about 6 months ago I got into a cooking rut. It wasn't that I didn't enjoy it, because I do, I just wasn't interested in going on searches through cook books and the internet to find recipes. Pete stopped getting excited about my cooking and I don't think it had anything to do with what we were eating or how good it was. I just think he finally was to the point of "okay, my wife can cook". The expectation was there and he was fairly certain that after nearly 4 years of marriage, I really didn't need the cheers coming from him about my cooking. But I think I did. If he is reading this he is probably muttering something like "what the..?" or she knows I like her cooking, just not polenta or fennel, or anything loaded with spinach. That isn't the point, I just got in a rut. So my point? I am really in a rut now as school is approaching, I need to start cooking and freezing. This week I did start and I am ticked at the recipes I picked. They take freaken forever. I did this potpie from scratch yesterday and a zippy turkey bake today. Zippy my A, there is nothing Zippy about that thing. It better tasty ziptastic.

So for the very few blog readers that I have here- any healthy recipes to share that I can also freeze? I can share some of my own recipes. I don't cook casseroles that often but I would love some recipes. Also, if you have any quick recipes that can't be frozen, I would love those too. To make things complicated too, I am trying to stick to a grocery budget. I will do a round of fall freezing sometime in October so soups and stews are welcome. Here are my current ideas for freezing: I am going to add to them throughout the next 2 weeks.

Eggplant parmesan
Freeze turkey taco meat for tacos
Freeze turkey manwich
Cook some blackbeans in crockpot then freeze them in small packets for tacos (and celia snacks)
Lasagna (I have 2 recipes, but could use some other lasagna ideas)
Taco soup

Zippy Turkey Tortilla Bake

1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 pound lean ground turkey
1 tablespoon vinegar
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (16 ounce) jar salsa
3/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
8 (8 inch) fat-free tortillas
1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese 1/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream

In a skillet, saute onion and garlic powder in oil until the onion is tender. Add turkey, vinegar, chili powder, oregano, cumin and cayenne; cook and stir over medium heat until turkey is no longer pink. Stir in beans. Remove from the heat. Combine salsa and broth; spread a thin layer in a 2-1/2-qt. baking dish coated with nonstick cooking spray. Cut tortillas into 1-in. strips and then into thirds; arrange half over salsa mixture. Top with half of the turkey mixture and half of the remaining salsa mixture. Repeat layers. Sprinkle with cheese. Cover and bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes or until bubbly. Top servings with sour cream.

I stretched this to make 2 smaller dishes, one is a double layer and the frozen one is a single layer with extra cheese.

Old Fashioned Chicken Pot PieFilling:
1/3 cup Butter
1/3 cup Flour
1 Garlic Clove, minced
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Pepper
1 & 1/2 cups Water
2/3 cups Milk
2 tsp. Chicken Bouillon Cubes
2 cups Cooked Chicken, cubed
1 cup Frozen Mixed Vegetables

1 & 2/3 cup Flour
2 tsp. Celery Seed
1 package Cream Cheese, cubed
1/2 cup cold Butter

In a saucepan, melt butter. Stir in flour, garlic, salt and pepper until blended. Gradually stir in water, milk and bouillon. Bring to boil and stir for 2 min. Remove from heat. Stir in chicken and veggies and set aside.Combine flour and celery seed, cut in butter and cream cheese until crumbly. Work mixture by hand into a ball. On a lightly floured surface roll 3/4 of dough into a 12 in. square and put into 8 in. square pan. Pour filling into crust. Roll remaining dough into a 9 in. square and place over filling. (I have also made this round in a 9" pie plate with no trouble.) Trim, seal and flute edges as desired. Cut slits into pastry.Bake at 450 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until brown and filling is bubbly.

I doubled this and made 3, 9 in pie plates of it. It was yummy, we had it last night. As for the high fat content, if you know me, you know I adjusted this recipe!! I used 1/3 less fat cream cheese, and put less butter in. I didn't notice a problem. As I was making it though, I realized that during the day I really eat a small amount of fat and Celia doesn't eat very much fat (although she does sometimes put away 2x as much food as I can eat) so a high fat dinner every once in a while is a good thing. As for Pete, well he likes his fat, but tries to be good.

I need to go for a search on the my favorite crockpot website for some ideas too. I wish I had something to offer as a giveaway for recipes submitted. But.. i don't have any ideas for that, maybe it will come to me and I don't think I have enough readers!!

1 comment:

Morgan said...

I froze some lime chicken in freezer bags the other day. When thawed, I will make lime chicken tacos.

It's fun when there are meals in the freezer- knowing that dinner is covered when things are crazy is a relief!