Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Freezer Meals (Peppers, Onions, & Potatoes)

Lately, we have had too many too busy days pass and I felt really behind--on everything!  So I spent the day recouping.  Hit the grocery store this morning and got some really good deals on produce and headed home ready to freeze up some quick meal solutions to help me through my next time of too busy life.  After about 3 hours, I had 4 complete dinners, 10 "add meat" partial dinners, 2 breakfasts, 2 seasoning mixes, and 5 servings of soup.  I did want to make some hand soap today, but I'll have to get to that tomorrow.

Here's what I started with:
20 lbs of potatoes
15 bell peppers (they were 3/1.49)
8 lbs of onions
3 lbs of italian sausage links
3 packs of breakfast links
3 heads of cauliflower
1 1/2 heads of cabbage
7 packs of mushrooms (they were 49 cents...seriously)
12 roma tomatos
3 lbs of leftover Carnita meat
2 lbs of carrots
1 bunch of celery

After analyzing what I had these are the meals I came up with:

2 bags of Half-Fauxtatoes
2 bags of Colcannon
2 bags of Oven Fajitas from Eatin' on the Cheap (I made a few changes listed below, not because there is anything wrong with this recipe, just because of what I had on hand.)
2 bags of Sausage w/Peppers, Onions, and Mushrooms
2 bags of Overnight Breakfast Potatoes from Crockpot 365 (I sub butter for the oil)
1 bag of Curry Cauliflower
1 bag of Pot Roast Fixins'
1 bag of Cabbage Soup
3 bags of Baked Potatoes for Twice Baked Potatoes
5 (2 cup) servings of Cream of Mushroom Soup

I also made Taco Seasoning and Ranch Powder from Self-Reliance by Jamie.  I used the Taco Seasoning to season the Oven Fajitas and made some Ranch Dressing from my homemade mayo and kefir (1 cup of each, 2 tbsp of mix).  Buttermilk would also work.

I think the trick to this is getting what you can get on sale and then pairing it together for meals.  For instance, I've been looking at this cream of mushroom soup recipe for a while.  Today it cost me two dollars, other wise it could have been as much as 10 or 12.  This is the first time I have put together uncooked meals to freeze.  I have done a lot of cooking and freezing in the past, this was really just a lot of cutting.  I think I cut veggies today for a solid 2 hours, but I only had to wash 2 knives and 1 cutting board. 

Here's what I put in the bags and what I intend to do with them:

Half-Fauxtatoes
Fill the bag with 1/2 potatoes and 1/2 chopped cauliflower to be enough to feed your family.  To cook: boil in salted water until tender.  Drain.  Mash.  Butter, Cream, Salt, and Pepper to taste.

Colcannon
Fill the bag with 1/2 potatoes and 1/2 shredded cabbage to be enough to feed your family (consider that the cabbage will cook down a lot).  To cook follow previous instructions.  You can add chopped ham or bacon and cheese to make it more like a meal.

Oven Fajitas (my version)
Add 3 sliced bell peppers, 2 sliced onions, 4 romas sliced into wedges, 4 oz of sliced mushrooms, 2 tbs of homemade taco seasoning, and 2 tbsp of fat (I used the reserved fat from cooking Carnitas).  On the top I put 3 cups of leftover Carnita meat.

Sausage w/ Peppers, Onions, and Mushrooms
Add 3 sliced bell peppers, 2 sliced onions, 2 chopped romas, 4 oz of sliced mushrooms to the bag.  Add 1 tbsp. of italian seasioning and 1 tsp of salt. Put 1 1/2 lbs of italian sausage sliced on top.  To Cook:  Add all contents to an oven safe dish, cook uncovered for 20-30 minutes until meat is done and veggies are desired tenderness.  Serve with rice or noodles.  (if serving with noodles you could also finish this dish with 1 cup of cream and 1/2 cup parmesean cheese)

Curry Cauliflower
Add Cauliflower (enough for a side dish for your family), 1-2 tbsp of curry powder (enough to cover), and 2 tbsp of fat (I used organic palm oil because of its neutral flavor and stability to high heat).  To cook:  Heat a frying pan on med-hi.  Add contents stir fry until just softened and fully covered with curry.

Pot Roast Fixins'
Fill bag with potatoes, celery, carrots, onions, 4 garlic cloves, and 2 tbs. of Italian Seasoning or other all purpose seasoning.  Write on the Front "Add to Roast".  To cook: add a roast to crock add the bag and any liquid needed to cook properly.

Cabbage Soup
Add 1/2 head of chopped cabbage, 2 cans of diced tomatoes, 1 diced onion, 2 tbsp italian seasoning, 2 tsp garlic powder, and 2 tbsp of salt.  Write "add 1 lb ground beef & mixed veggies" on the bag.  To cook: Brown 1 lb of ground beef in a pasta pot, add ingredients and enough stock to cover.  Bring to boil and reduce to low and cook for 1 hour or more.  Also could be done in a crock pot.

Twice Baked Potatoes
Wash potatoes, peirce with a fork and bake in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until soft.  Allow to cool and wrap in plastic wrap individually before freezing.  To cook:  defrost potatoes, split open and fill with ingredients (we will probably do bbq or broccoli), top with cheese and bake until heated through.  Serve with sour cream and chives if desired.

Cream of Mushroom Soup
Ingredients:
2 lbs of mushrooms, quartered
4 cups of Homemade chicken stock
the juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons of salt*
1/2 tablespoon of white pepper (black would work, just show up)
1 tablespoon of dried minced onion
2 tablespoons of italian seasoning
1 cup of raw grass-fed cream (I used cream that had soured a little in my fridge, but you can't tell once it is in the soup.)

Add all ingredients (except cream) to the slow cooker.  Cook on high for 4-6 hours.  Allow to cool to warm.  Use an immersion blender to make a smooth consistency.  Add cream, blend, and freeze.

My plan with this is to replace Cream of Mushroom soup in recipes.  And before we found the traditional diet one of my family's favorite recipes was Chicken with C of M dumped on top, so now I can make that again.

*on the salt, you should salt this to taste, and it should be slightly saltier than you would prefer to eat, because it is to replace condensed soup.  Also, if you use store bought stock, you will need far less salt.

Wow!  This was a long post!  I hope I have inspired you to take some time to save your self some time and your family a little money and still eat real food.

Love and Butter,

Mishelle

Shared on: Fight Back Friday, Weekend Whatever Link Up, Wheat Free Wednesday

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5 comments:

  1. Thanks! This is going to save me from myself this week!

    J

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  2. What a great way to stock the freezer! The meals look yummy. Thanks for using one of mine too! :)

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  3. Thanks JodieMo! I would have never put fajitas in the oven, but I am totally hooked now, it makes so much less mess. I really enjoy reading your blog!

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  4. Hi, I just found your blog! Looks great! Just wondering about freezing the potatoes though. I have froze soups with potatoes in them before and the potatoes seem to break down and go kind of mealy like. Do you have a trick or use a certain potato? Thank you!

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    Replies
    1. Potatoes are quite funny when it comes to freezing. The first time I did it they came out black, they still tasted okay, but the color was weird. I've found rinsing them well after cutting or shredding them and getting as much of the water off of them before freezing helps some. I only freeze potatoes I will cook well, like in a chowder or mashed potatoes. The colcannon and fauxtatoes in these recipes do have a slight gray texture, but I leave the skins on and serve with some type of pan gravy. No one seems to notice.

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