A week's worth of freezer meals

As of today I have exactly 47 days until Baby is to be born...and counting. That is unless he decides to come at least 8 days early, which his brothers and sister did. I'm trying not to think about all of the little things I need to do... paint the boys' room, wash infant clothes, find somewhere to put infant clothes, dig out baby bathtub, swing, cradle, swaddling blankies, buy newborn diapers... yeeesh the list goes on and on, which is probably why I'm trying not to think about it. Avoidance is always the best solution, right? Well least week I did get one thing accomplished. My mom was in town and occupying the kids so I went to the grocery store by myself and cooked all afternoon without distraction!! My freezer is now stocked with seven meals ready for when I have no time for energy to cook for the chirping birdies in my nest. I was bragging mentioning it to my friend and she said she had never done freezer meals before. This is my second time, and I have to admit that there was one great outstanding factor allowing me to accomplish it. Someone else had charge of the kiddies. I know some super moms can do it, but in my house six hours of cooking with the kids just isn't going to happen...ever.  Maybe if you grab a pal and tag team it you could get it done, something to think about. If you find yourself kid free or with extra help for the afternoon and need some inspiration, here are the seven meals in my freezer currently with recipes. A couple of things before we start. I have a family of 5 with most of the tummies are rather small so a 13x9 dish will feed us and leave us some leftovers. Adjust your quantities as needed.  I went shopping for most of these ingredients, but I did have some on hand so I think I spent somewhere are $150 give or take. I'll try to give credit for the recipes if I know where they came from. Several of these recipes call for ground beef. Do yourself a favor and brown it all at the same time. Same goes for the chicken. I buy a bag of frozen tenderloins and bake it all at 350 for half an hour. Enjoy!

{1} Meatballs and rice From the Dude's mom

1 1/2 pound ground beef

1/4 cup oats

1 egg, lightly beaten

salt

pepper

1 tbsp Lawry's seasoning

2 cups long grain rice

1 jar Ragu pasta sauce

1/2 onion, chopped

Cook the rice. Mix together beef, egg, oats, salt, pepper, and Lawry's with your hands. Heat a skillet on your stovetop to medium-high. Form meatballs and place in skillet turning every so often to brown. Spray a 9x13 and spread rice on the bottom then top with the meatballs as they brown. Cover the meatballs and rice with pasta sauce. Cover and freeze. When ready bake at 425 for 45 min to an hour uncovered until cooked through.

{2} Chicken Pot Pie The Pioneer Woman Cooks

It's just like this leftover Turkey pot pie, only made with chicken.

http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2009/11/quick-recipe-leftover-turkey-pot-pie/

{3} Baked Burritos from my mom

1 pound ground beef

1 pkt taco seasoning

1 can vegetarian refried beans

2 cups cheddar cheese

10 tortillas

Brown the meat, drain the fat. Add taco seasoning as directed. Mix in the beans and heat through. Put a couple spoonfuls of the meat/bean mixture in the middle of each tortilla. Top with cheese. Fold in the sides of the tortilla and roll. Place in a freezer bag. When ready to heat, transfer to a baking dish, cover with foil and bake 350 until heated through, then remove the foil so the tortillas get a little brown and crispy. Serve with mexi rice and salad!

{4}  Cheddar Beef Pie from my friend Mandy

1 pounds ground beef (I only use 1 pound) 2 carrots, cut into 1/4 inch cubes 1 large onion, cut into 1/4 inch cubes 2 stalks celery, cut into 1/4 inch cubes 1 large clove garlic, finely chopped 1 large baking potato, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch cubes 1/2 cup dark beer (I always use chicken broth) 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded salt and pepper 2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed but cold 1 large egg yolk, beaten with 1 tablespoon water

- Preheat the oven to 375.  Ina skillet, combine the beef, carrots, onion, celery, garlic and potato and cook, breaking up the meat, over medium high heat until the beef is cooked through and some liquid has evaporated, about 15 minutes.  Lower the heat to medium, add the broth or beer and cook for 10 minutes.  Add the cheese, 2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.  Let cool. -  On a floured surface, roll 1 puff pastry sheet into a 12 inch round.  Place in a 10 inch skillet or deep pie dish.  Roll the remaining puff pastry sheet into an 11 inch round.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat mixture to the skillet.  Lightly brush the edge of the crust with some of the egg wash, then place the second sheet on top.  Press the edges to seal, then trim to a 1/2 inch edge.  - Place the pie on a baking sheet.  Brush the top with more of the egg wash and cut an X into the pastry.  Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.  Bake for 45 minutes, tenting with foil if the crust darkens too quickly.  Transfer to a rack to cool for 15 minutes.

{5} Lasagna

10 ounces lasagna noodles

6 oz ricotta cheese

2 cups mozzarella cheese

1 1/2 jars pasta sauce {I use Ragu}

1 1/2 pound ground beef

parsley

salt

pepper

1 large egg

 - Cook noodles until al dente, then transfer to some wax paper sprayed with cooking spray.

- Brown the meat, drain the extra fat. Return to the skillet and add pasta sauce, salt and pepper to taste. Simmer.

 - Mix ricotta cheese, 1 1/2 cup mozzarella, egg, and parsley.

- Spray a 9x13 dish with cooking spray. Spread some sauce on the bottom of the pan. Top with three noodles, slightly overlapping. Top that with half of the cheese mixture. Cover the cheese with a layer of pasta and meat. Repeat the last three steps. Top the whole thing with the rest of the mozzarella cheese. Cover and freeze.

 - When ready, cook uncovered for 45 minutes in a 400 degree oven.

{6} Chicken and green bean casserole from Kraft foods

http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/make-ahead-chicken-green-bean-128111.aspx

{7} Chicken Tetrazzinifrom the Dude's grandma

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup chopped onion

1/3 cup chopped green pepper

1/4 cup flour

1 cup milk

1 cup broth

2 cups chopped cooked chicken

1 tsp salt

10 oz cooked spaghetti

1 cup shredded cheese

1 can mushroom soup

- Melt butter and add onion and pepper, saute. Add flour and stir until blended adding milk and broth gradually. Cook until smooth and begins to thicken. Remove from heat.

- Add chicken, salt, spaghetti, 1/2 cup cheese, soup. Mix together. Pour into a baking dish and sprinkle with the rest of the cheese.

- Freeze. Then bake uncovered 400 degree for 45 minutes or until heated through.

I hope these meals help you get your freezer stocked. I smile every time I open the freezer door, knowing that when Baby Boy arrives I will have 7 glorious nights with the meals already prepared! I just wish I could pre-wash the dishes :)

Thanks for visiting!

Elizabeth Ann