I love using my freezer more and more. It not only has saved the family money with being able to purchase sale items in bulk and freezing but also time. I’ve read several blogs that write about making freezer meals in bulk so you don’t have to cook every night but never really thought about how doing something like that would benefit my family.
I got hooked on the freezer meals after freezing several gallon-sized bags full of leftover spaghetti from a church luncheon. When my week had been overly stressful, it was incredibly helpful to have a homemade meal ready to re-heat in minutes. From there I began trying to make a little extra whenever possible to put inside the freezer.
Today was the first attempt at cooking specifically for the freezer. I timed myself cooking and even with stopping to take pictures and cleaning as I go, I was finished cooking in 25 minutes with a total of four casseroles (three to go into the freezer and one for dinner tonight).
Cook 10 C. white or brown rice.
Lightly steam or boil 4 C. chopped broccoli. In a separate pot cook enough chicken to make 4 cups when cubed.
Not in the original recipe but I added 4-5 carrots, finely shredded.
Mix shredded carrots in a large bowl with 2 cans cream of mushroom soup and 2 cans cream of chicken soup.
Stir in your 4 cups cooked broccoli and 4 cups shredded cheddar cheese.
Combine everything together with the rice making sure you stir well.
Because the pot was full, I divided the mixture between the large bowl and pot. Season to taste with salt and pepper and add the 4 cups cooked, cubed chicken.
Use either four gallon-sized freezer bags or three freezer bags and one 8×8 casserole dish, sprayed.
Fill each bag and/or dish with 7 cups of the mixture. Press all extra air out of the bags before closing then lay flat. Place on a baking tray inside the freezer while freezing so that they will remain flat and easier to store standing up like a file folder.
Write the date and instructions on the front for easy access. This way you won’t have to dig around for the cooking instructions to write down if you decide to give the meal as a gift to someone in need.
To serve: Thaw overnight (or for 8 hours) in the refrigerator. Dump into a greased casserole dish (each bag will fill an 8×8-inch pan; two bags will fill a 9×13-inch pan). Sprinkle with additional shredded cheese, if desired.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until heated through and bubbly.
Each frozen bag serves 4-5 people. Recipe adpated from Money Saving Mom.