Adventures in Freezer Cooking!

I recently began a new job (part of the reason this pretty little blog has been gathering dust!) and I have discovered that if I don’t want to be eating take out or frozen chicken nuggets every night for dinner things were going to have to change. I have wanted to give freezer cooking or once a month cooking a try for a while now but I never had the motivation.It always seemed like so much work all at once. Boy was I wrong. 

Before grocery shopping this week ( with Kid #1 in tow) I skimmed some blogs and pinned a few resources, but I pretty much went in blind. All I knew was I needed gallon freezer bags, chicken, canned pineapple, a ranch seasoning packet, chicken stock, and salsa. From what I had read I had most of the other ingredients. For better or worse I was right.

 So while Kid #3 took a nap, Kids #1&2 played video games, and hubs went for a walk I assembled our meals. I labeled my giant freezer bags with the date and dish I was making – Dijon Chicken, Italian Ranch Chicken, Honey Pineapple Chicken, and Salsa Chicken. Then I split the giant pack of chicken thighs between the 4 bags and kinda referenced the recipes I found at Fun with Sharps! Below are how I modified mine 🙂 ** When adding ingredients I start with the chopped stuff, then the seasoning/powdered stuff, and finish with the liquid. I give it a good shake before sealing. All of my recipes will be cooked on low in the crock pot, but I am including her instructions for stove top and oven cooking.

I started with Dijon Chicken

  • 2 giant chicken thighs 
  • 1 cup chicken broth (or 1 cup water & 1 Tablespoon bouillon)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 T dijon mustard
  • 1 T horseradish mustard 
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • a sprinkle of poultry seasoning 

Can be cooked on the stove-top for 15 minutes if the sauce is drained after thawing, or can be baked in the oven for 35-40 minutes in the sauce. Also, can be cooked in the crock-pot for 6-8 hours on low.

Next I moved on to Italian Ranch Chicken

  • 3 chicken thighs
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 packet ranch dressing mix (pat down on the chicken)
  • a sprinkle of cajun
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • a good strong shake of Italian seasoning 
Can be cooked on the stove-top for 15 minutes if the sauce is drained after thawing, or can be baked in the oven for 35-40 minutes in the sauce. Also, can be cooked in the crock-pot for 6-8 hours on low.
 
Next Honey Pineapple Chicken
  • 2 chicken thighs
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (pat down on chicken)
  • 1 T honey
  • 1/4 onion chopped
  • 1 cup pineapple juice (from the can of pineapple)
  • 1/2 chopped pineapple

Cook on low 6-8 hrs – serve with rice

Lastly Salsa Chicken

  • 3 chicken thighs
  • 1 can of Rotel
  • 1 can of black beans
  • a shake of cajun
  • a shake of cayenne
  • a shake of Mrs. Dash Chipotle
  • 1 cup salsa (I used 1/4 cup of a super hot salsa and 3/4 cup black bean and corn salsa)

Cook on low 8 hours. Serve with rice or on tortillas along with shredded cheddar and sour cream.We stacked corn tortillas, then chicken, then cheese, and repeat. Put a little guacamole on the very top.

So when I was finished with the chicken I was still feeling good and wanted to make more…but I hadn’t planned anything else! So I opened the freezer and low and behold I found a frozen pork tenderloin and some pork chops! So I decided to invent some recipes of my own 🙂

Italian Herb Tenderloin

  • 1 Tenderloin
  • a nice shake of Italian seasoning
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic – chopped
  • 1/4 onion – chopped
  • 1/2 bag frozen spinach
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock

Cook on low in the amazing crockpot while you are at work or busy playing with your kids. I am sure this could be cooked in the oven as well…If you go that route I would suggest defrosting then throwing in the oven at 350 for 45min-1 hour. That is my basic rule of thumb…just make sure you keep checking on it!

Aloha Pork Chops (I decided to do this since I already had a can of pineapple open…also inspired by OAMM)

  • 1 pack of frozen pork chops
  • 1/2 cup chopped pineapple
  • a shake of lemon pepper
  • a shake of cajun
  • 1/4 onion – chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic – chopped

Cook on low in the amazing crockpot while you are at work or busy crafting up a storm. I am sure this could be cooked in the oven as well…but why would you do that? 😉

Last, but certainly not least, I decided to whip up some chili. That is a phrase I never expected to hear from myself, but with this crazy cold snap and threat of snow (If it snows here in Atlanta the whole place shuts down…kind of eerie actually) I couldn’t resist. It is certainly not the most creative or amazing, but it will do!

Anne Marie’s Quick Chili (you see what I did there…)

  • 1 pound of round meat
  • a couple cloves of garlic – chopped
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1/2 bag of frozen onion, carrots, and celery – I like to use what I have
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 2 tiny cans of tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • cajun
  • cayenne
  • salt 
  • pepper

So basically I just browned the meat and added the veggies…when all of those were pretty much cooked I added the canned tomato goodies. The chicken stock was added because it seemed a little thick and I like using stock instead of water. So I basically let this cook for a little while, but not 100% since it was going to be cooked again later. Then I cooled it a bit in the pan before transferring to a gallon ziplock. Then I let it cool on the counter before throwing it in the freezer. I would hate for my whole freezer to spoil because of my chili!  To cook this later I would just throw it in a pot and warm up or even in the crock pot for the shortest setting. 

 

Well that about wraps up my maiden adventure into freezer cooking. I will hopefully get better about posting here too…My goal is going to be 1 post a week for now and with Kid #2’s birthday party next weekend I am sure to have some to share!! 

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