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Sunday, January 22, 2012

January Freezer Meals

Hello. Today I will be telling you about my January freezer meals. This is my first attempt at making and using freezer meals and I must say I am a huge fan. It was definitely a lot of work to get everything made and in the freezer but it totally paid off! I love that I can take something out of the freezer the night before and pop it in the oven or microwave when I get home and I am done! I have been waiting to post this because I wanted to try the recipes before I posted to make sure everything tasted good.

*Before you get started I recommend reading through all of the recipes to see what you already have and what you will need to buy. Also be sure you have plenty of freezer space available to store everything you're going to make. We do not have a big chest freezer and I was able to fit everything in our standard size freezer by freezing everything flat and maximizing space. You may also want to shop one day and cook the next so it is not as overwhelming.

*Also pre-chopping all of your veggies is a huge help!

So this is what I made...
-Chicken Enchiladas (enough for 4 dinners)
-6 cups shredded chicken
-Taco Meat (enough for 2 dinners)
-Sloppy Joes (my own recipe) (enough for 2 dinners)
-Pork Chops and Apples (enough for 2 dinners)
-Stromboli (enough for 5 dinners)
-Chicken Souvlaki (enough for 2 dinners)
-Chocolate Chip Cookies (4 dozen)
-About 20 cups of chicken stock

*Most of these recipes yielded enough for a few dinners plus some leftovers to take to lunch the next day.

*WARNING: This is going to be a really long post! Thank you in advance for reading the entire thing and making some of the recipes! Leave me a comment if you have a question about anything I did and I will get back to you ASAP! =)

Shredded Chicken
Yield: 12 cups shredded chicken and 20 cups chicken stock

For this I used two whole roasting chickens. Some stores will put these on sale buy one get one so stock up if you can when they are on sale.


  • 2 Whole roasting chickens
  • 1 C chopped carrots
  • 1 C chopped celery
  • 1 C chopped onion
  • 2 T poultry seasoning
  • kosher salt
1. Rinse chickens with cold water and place in a large stock pot. Cover with water and add all of the chopped carrots, celery, onions, poultry seasoning and kosher salt.

2. Let simmer,covered for 1 hour or until chicken is cooked.

3. Pull the chicken out, throw away the veggies and let the broth cool. (I used my strainer and a very large pitcher for this. Place the strainer over the pitcher and pour the broth through separating the broth from the veggies)

4. Once your broth is cool pour it in to muffin tin cups and freeze, once frozen you can pop them out of the pan and freeze in zip lock bags for easy use later.

5. Once the chicken is cool enough to touch begin separating the meat from the bones and shred. If you have a stand mixture you can toss the chicken in there give it a quick whirl and it will shred the chicken for you!

6. Once chicken is cooled and shredded you can set aside 6 cups for enchiladas and freeze the other half. I froze them in two quart sized freezer bags 3 cups in each.

2 roasting chickens yield approx. 20 cups of shredded chicken
*I dont remember exactly how much they weighed but they were medium sized compared to the other chickens.

Click Here to print the Shredded Chicken Recipe!
*This is my chicken stock freezing. I used large muffin tins bc thats what I have. You could use a regular muffin tin with the same results.

*To thaw place chicken in refrigerator the night before or morning of the day you want to use it. I like to use my chicken for buffalo chicken dip or bbq chicken sandwiches!

While the chicken is simmering you should be able to make the sloppy joes and taco meat.

Taco Meat
Yield: 2 dinners plus some leftovers

This recipe is so easy and delicious I love all the added veggies!


  • 2 lbs ground beef or turkey
  • 2 C salsa
  • 1 can diced jalapeno peppers, drained
  • 2 packets taco seasoning
  • 1 1/2 C water
  • 2 t cumin
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • 1 t minced garlic
  • 1 green pepper, chopped well
  • 1 onion, chopped well

In a large skillet brown 2 lbs ground beef/turkey (which ever you prefer). When meat is browned drain grease, return to skillet and add all remaining ingredients. Simmer until the water has cooked down. Set aside to cool. When cool divide up into quart size freezer bags. Be sure to let all of the air out and press everything flat so you can maximize space in your freezer. Also date and label your bags so you know what is in there!

*To thaw submerge in cold water for about 30 minutes or place in refrigerator in the morning to use for dinner that night. We used ours to make taco salads! Yum.

Click Here to print the Taco Meat Recipe!
Homemade Sloppy Joes
(You may remember these from a previous post.)
I doubled the original recipe. When making freezer meals you really want to make a lot at a time to maximize your hard work.

Yield: 2 dinners plus some leftovers

  • 2 lb ground beef or turkey
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped (or green I have used both with great results)
  • 1 white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 2 t minced garlic
  • 2-6oz cans tomato sauce
  • 1 t kosher salt
  • 1 t ground pepper
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • 2 t chili powder
  • 2 t low sodium worcestershire sauce
  • 2 T yellow mustard
  • 2 T brown sugar

  1. Brown ground beef/turkey.
  2. Combine olive oil, minced garlic, onion, red pepper and celery in medium sauce pan. Cook on low to medium heat until it becomes fragrant (about 3 minutes).
  3. Drain ground beef/turkey and set aside.
  4. Add remaining ingredients to vegetable mixture. Simmer for about 2 minutes.
  5. Add ground beef/turkey and enjoy!
*Allow sloppy joes to cool then place in quart sized freezer bags, remove air, press flat, label and freeze.
*To thaw submerge in cold water for about 30 minutes or place in refrigerator in the morning to use for dinner that night.

Click Here to print the Homemade Sloppy Joes Recipe!
Chicken Enchiladas

Yield: 20 enchiladas, About 10 servings
* I eat 2 my husband eats 3 so one recipe made 4 dinners for us


  • 1 C diced onion
  • Canola Oil
  • 6 C shredded chicken
  • 1 small can diced green chilies, drained
  • 1-15oz can black beans, rinsed and drained well
  • 2- 28oz cans red enchilada sauce (1 can for filling and 1 can for topping)
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • kosher salt
  • pepper
  • 20 tortillas ( I used 10 whole wheat and 10 flour)
1. In a large pot (I used my large dutch oven) saute diced onion until soft (about 10 minutes). Add all remaining ingredients (only 1/2 can of enchilada sauce you will use the other half upon filling enchiladas) until everything is well combined and cheese is melted.

2. Begin filling and rolling tortillas. Spoon approx. 1 T enchilada sauce onto tortilla, scoop 1/4 chicken filling on and spred evenly across tortilla. Roll and wrap tightly in aluminum foil.

3. Repeat filling, rolling and wrapping until no ingredients remain.

4. Place in large freezer bag and label

*When you are ready to eat place in refrigerator the night before to thaw (I pull out 5 at a time). Remove from foil and place in greased baking dish. Pour 1 can enchilada sauce over top (my husband likes a lot of enchilada sauce so use however much you like) and sprinkle with chedder cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Enjoy!

Click Here to print the Chicken Enchiladas Recipe!

Pork Chops and Apples
Yield: 2 dinners (plus some leftovers)


  • 8 thick cut pork chops
  • 1/2 C refrigerated egg product
  • 2 1/2 pumpkin pie spice or all spice
  • 1 t dried sage
  • 1 t garlic powder
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 2 T butter, softened
  • 4 fiji apples, cored and sliced thin
  • 1 cup italian bread crumbs
  • 1 t kosher salt
1. Place 4 chops each in large freezer bags and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together egg product, 1/2 t of the pumpkin pie spice, and all the garlic powder, kosher salt and sage. Divide egg mixture evenly and pour into the two bags with pork chops. Massage bag to coat chops. Squeeze air out and seal. 

2. In a small bowl, stir together brown sugar, butter and the remaining 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice. Add apples and toss to coat.Dividing apples in half and placing in two bags. Place sealed bags of chops and sealed bags of apples in large freezer bags. Seal bags, label, and freeze. 

You will end up with two large freezer bags each containing 1 bag of chops and 1 bag of apples.

*Thaw completely in refrigerator (I placed mine in the refrigerator the night before).  Preheat oven 375 degrees. Place apples in 9x13inch baking dish and set aside. Remove chops from egg mixture. Place bread crumbs in shallow dish and coat chops with bread crumbs. Place chops on top of apples. Bake for 45 minutes.  

This dish was delicious and definitely one of the easier dishes I made.

Click Here to print Pork Chops & Apples recipe!

Yield: 5 stromboli enough for atleast 5 dinners


  • Kroger frozen bread loaves (comes in a plastic bag with 5 loaves)
  • Italian seasoning
  • Olive Oil
  • Lots of shredded italian blend cheese (about 1 C for each stromboli)
  • 1 lb sliced provolone cheese (from the deli)
  • 1 container Kroger brand grated parmesan cheese (for filling and topping)
  • 1 egg, for egg wash
  • What ever filling you would like. I like diced chicken, spinach, mushrooms and onion (precook chicken and saute veggies for a few minutes) in mine. My husband likes italian sausage (cooked and crumbled), salami, pepperoni and banana peppers.
1. Prepare all ingredients for filling and set aside. Make egg wash with the egg and set aside.  (Crack egg, add a splash of milk or water, scramble)

2. Place each bread loaf in its own pan or bowl. I like to use my bread pans for this. Allow to rise all day until it is filling up the entire pan. I set mine out in the morning around 8am and it is ready to use around dinner time. So for freezer meal sake the day you plan to cook set this out first then start on everything else.

3. Rub dough with a little olive oil and stretch it out on a cookie sheet in the shape of a rectangle. You can then fill it with all of your ingredients. I like to alternate layers of cheese and filling. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning.

4. When you are finished filling start at one end and roll up the stromboli until it looks like a log (best example I could think of) you then pinch the seams closed on both ends and along the side.

5. Brush with egg wash, sprinkle with italian seasoning and parmesan cheese.

*To eat now: Place on a cookie sheet (I recommend one with sides so the grease doesn't spill out into the oven). Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until lightly golden brown.

*To freeze: Wrap in wax paper. Then wrap in tightly in aluminum foil. Label and freeze.

*To thaw: Place in refrigerator the night before you want to eat it! And bake according to directions above.

The day I made our freezer meals I made this last and we baked two for dinner that night.

Click Here to print the Stromboli recipe!

Chicken Souvlakia
Yield: 4 dinners
From the kitchen of Stacey Stathulis
(Although I dont believe he ever freezes it!)

  • 6T lemon juice
  • 1 t dried oregano
  • 4 t olive oil
  • 1 t salt (I use kosher salt)
  • 8 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed
Combine ingredients in large zip-lock bag shake until all ingredients are mixed well. Then divide everything into 4 quart sized bags. Remove air, label and freeze.

*To thaw place in refrigerator the night before. Chicken will marinate while thawing. Skewer chicken and grill.

Super easy and delicious!

Click Here to print the Chicken Souvlakia recipe!

Chocolate Chip Cookies
From Kitchenaid Cookbook
Yield: 4 dozen cookies


  • 1 C granulated sugar
  • 1 C brown sugar
  • 1 C butter or margarine, softened (2 sticks)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 t vanilla
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t salt
  • 3 C all-purpose flour
  • 12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
1. Place sugars, butter, eggs and vanilla in mixer bowl. Using flat beater turn to speed 2 and mix about 30 seconds. Stop and scrape bowl. Turn to speed 4 and mix about 30 seconds. Stop and scrape bowl.

2. Turn to stir speed gradually add baking soda, salt and flour to sugar mixture. (I combine the baking soda, salt and flour together in a bowl, stir and add to sugar mixture about 1 cup at a time) mix about 2 minutes. Turn to speed 2 mix about 30 seconds. Stop and scrape bowl. Add chocolate chips. Turn to stir speed and mix about 15 seconds.

3. Drop rounded teaspoonfuls onto greased baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from baking sheets immediately and cool on wire racks.

*I recommend keeping atleast a dozen of these out to enjoy in the next few days! After all you did just make an entire months worth of dinners! You can then place the other 3 dozen in freezer bags, remove air, label and freeze. Just take them out of the freezer when you want them and let set out for a few hours to thaw. If you are really impatient like me you can pop them in the microwave! Cookies freeze very well but I recommend eating them within 3-4 weeks of making them.

Click Here to print the Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe!
Shew! That was the longest post I have ever done by far!! If you made it this far thank you! And if you make all of these recipes congrats! Its hard work but the pay off is great!! Let me know what you think and how it goes! =) I did my best to make this easy to understand and typo free I hope I was successful.

Have a great week!

Relaxing weeked.

Hi there. I hope everyone is having  relaxing weekend. I have probably had the least productive weekend in a long time. Lots of sleeping in, tv time and a little shopping. The husband and I hit up the mall yesterday so I could get some new skinny jeans! And last night we went to the Cincinnati Cyclones hockey game with his work people. It was fun but I am tired today and its look like I will not be getting anything done. I am ok with that it is nice to just relax and rest up for the week to come. And because I for some reason feel I cannot post without a picture I will leave you with this. Because the only thing I have done today is spend 20 minutes scrapping off my car so I could go to starbucks to get coffee and a newspaper! I realize this may be strange to some people but I am totally addicted to starbucks. And I am ok with that.

                                                                         via pinterest

Happy Sunday! I am working on my freezer meal post so be on the look out for that soon!