Freezer Meals for Matt: Back in the Game

So, Summer isn’t the greatest time for freezer meals.  Matt didn’t really want hot food, when the weather is hot.  Totally understandable, and summer is usually pretty busy for me anyway, so it kind of worked out nicely.  Well, now that it’s getting colder it’s time to make more meals!!!

For some reason, I can’t find any of the pics from the meals I made so I’m just going to list them all off, and let you know my changes 🙂

Cauliflower Bake:

This one was really good.  I like the idea that not every casserole has to involve pasta!  For this recipe, I followed it exactly and didn’t change a thing.  If I make it again, I might change the veggies or make it fajita flavored with onions, peppers and chicken.

Bacon Corn & jalapeno Pasta:

My husband really liked this one!  He’s big on HOT, he’ll add hot sauce or jalapenos to anything; so when I found this I knew he would like it.

I changed things a little…  I added cooked, cubed chicken.  Switched the Orzo pasta to Penne to add volume.  I might have added extra jalapenos and garlic to add more flavor.

Crazy Good Casserole:

Another really good one!!!!  The only thing I changed was the soup; I used Campbell’s Heart Healthy Cream of Chicken instead…  I like to save calories where ever I can, basically so I can eat dessert 🙂  I did think it was a little too garlicy, so 1 TBSP might be a little much.

Easy Beef Stroganoff:

Every so often, I ask Matt what he wants for meals and I always get the same response… “I don’t care, I like whatever.”  That is until this past weekend, he says Beef Strogonaff!  Most of the meals I make are things that sound good to me, even though I’m making them for Matt.  I find recipes on Pinterest that I’d eat, with ingredients I like.

Beef Strogonaff is NOT one of those things.  I hate mushrooms, so I never even thought about making this for Matt, who LOVES mushrooms!  So being the good wife I am, I made it for him…  quite honestly the smell emanating from the crockpot made me nauseated.

I didn’t change anything with this recipe 🙂

Gnocchi, Spinach, & Sausage Soup:

OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I am not the best with adjectives, so I use exclamation points to get my point across 🙂

This is such a great soup!  I changed very little of this recipe; basically I added extra peppers, spinach and sausage.  When it comes to soup and casseroles, I rarely pay attention to amounts and add everything to my liking.  I also didn’t add the Half-and-Half, I didn’t think it was necessary… leaving out the cream made it a broth soup rather than a creamy soup.

BBQ Chicken Pizza Soup:

I pretty much stuck to the recipe on this one.  I believe I added some extra BBQ sauce, I didn’t think 1/2 C. was enough, but that’s just me 🙂   It really just tastes just like BBQ Chicken Pizza!

Baked Pasta with Spinach & Ricotta:

Another winner!!!!  I added cooked sausage to the pasta sauce to add a meat to this meal.  I unfortunately forgot parmesan cheese at the store, so my ricotta mixture didn’t have any; it tasted fine without it but I think for next time I’ll make sure I get it.

Apple Toffee Blondies:

Saved the best for last…  no seriously!!!  These never actually made it to its intended destinations, TWICE 🙂  About a month ago, when it was starting to become fall I decided to do a bit a baking.  I tested this (just a little corner piece) to make sure it was ok to take to work, and half a pan later realized it was staying home 🙂  I made it again, knowing how good it was, thinking I’d take it to work, and once again my family and I consumed it before the weekend was over 🙂

The only thing I changed was the amount of apples, I didn’t think 1 apple was enough… so I went with 2.  I also made the mistake of grabbing the Health candy bar bits with chocolate; I didn’t realize they made just toffee bits…  they tasted really good so I didn’t think anything of it until I saw them at Target 🙂  Next time I’ll make them with the toffee bits instead of the candy bar bits.

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Freezer Meals for Matt: Meatloaf Cupcakes

Not going to lie, I’m not quite as excited about this one as I was about the others…  Meatloaf isn’t a favorite thing of mine to begin with but thought I should change it up a little for Matt, so here it goes…

The original recipe is from Proud Italian Cook, it was a Chicken Parmesan Meatloaf.  I changed it a little cause of freezing, and individual servings…  plus I didn’t want leftover Tomato Sauce… so it’s the same but different 😉

Meatloaf Cupcakes

1 1/2 lbs. ground meat (beef, chicken, turkey… I used turkey cause it was $2 a lb. cheaper…)

1/2 Tbsp. minced Garlic

1/2 onion, chopped

2 eggs

1/2 C. bread crumbs

8 oz. can Tomato Sauce (this is where you can change things, you can use more for a topping if you choose)

1/2+ C. shredded Parmesan, Asiago cheese blend

1/2 Tbsp. parsley

1/2 Tbsp. Basil

salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 375*, prepare baking dish (cupcake pans, bread pans, 8×8″ baking pan)

2. Mix all ingredients together, spoon into prepared baking dish.  Bake 1 hour, when there are 20 min left spoon tomato sauce over top and sprinkle extra cheese on top (if desired).

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I know they don’t look all that appetizing, but they smelled really good! 🙂  I promise!

Freezer Meals for Matt: Spinach Artichoke Chicken Bake

See I told you I do a lot of chicken recipes!

For this one, imagine Spinach and Artichoke Dip, but with chicken and as a meal 🙂  You know that sounds awesome!  I’ve been wanting to try this recipe for quite a while, the spinach has been in the freezer for months…  And I finally decided to make it yesterday!

The original recipe is from Add a Pinch, which also has some great recipes!  Anyway, I kept to the recipe fairly closely, not changing a whole lot.  Here’s my version:

Spinach Artichoke Chicken Bake

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed and cooked

1 13+ oz. can Artichoke hearts, drained

10 oz. chopped, frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed

1/2 Tbsp. minced garlic

1 C. Greek Yogurt

1/2 C. shredded fresh Parmesan cheese

1 C. shredded Italian blend cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350*, prepare a 9×13″ baking dish.

2. Mix together all ingredients and pour into prepared baking dish.  Sprinkle with cheese if desired and bake for 25 min.

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So easy!  Can’t wait to make this again!  If you don’t like Greek Yogurt or prefer a creamier texture, I would switch it out for cream cheese.

For freezing information, see FAQs page.

Freezer Meals for Matt: Shrimp Feta and Herb Mac and Cheese

So glad I found this gem!  Doesn’t it sound wonderful and different?!?  And let me just express my love for Pinterest once again!  I’m sorry but I cannot stress enough, how much easier my life is with Pinterest.  I can find so many wonderful ideas and keep them in one place!  As much as I like cookbooks, I think Pinterst is just a great time saver!  Alright enough praise for Pinterest (not like it needs any…), on to a new Freezer Meal for Matt!

I feel like I’ve been doing A LOT of chicken meals.  I try to change it up with beef but it doesn’t happen very often.  I started feeling bad that all Matt’s meals were chicken, granted they were all different meals, but still chicken.  So I decided to try Shrimp, Feta and Herb Mac and Cheese, originally from Annie’s Eats (which by the way has some great recipes, and can’t wait to explore the site!!).

I however, did change this recipe quite a bit, mainly because whenever I make a roux it doesn’t seem to turn out… so I improvised and used my Mac and Cheese recipe and made it Shrimp and Feta!

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Shrimp, Feta & Herb Mac and Cheese

1 lb. Box noodles, cooked and drained

1 1/2 lbs. shrimp (I used mini shrimp, but you can use medium and cut it into pieces), thawed

3 tsp. lemon zest

2 C. shredded Italian cheese blend

8 oz. Feta cheese crumbles

1 can 98% Fat Free Cream of Celery soup

1/2 C. Greek yogurt

1/2 C. bread crumbs

2 Tbsp. parsley

2 Tbsp. Dill Weed

salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350*, prepare a deep 9×13″ baking dish.

2. Mix together cheeses, spices, yogurt, bread crumbs, and soup.  Stir in cooked pasta and shrimp.

3. Pour into prepared baking dish, sprinkle with addition bread crumbs and cheese if desired.  Bake for 25 min.

For freezing information see the FAQs page

Freezer Meals for Matt: FAQs

I’ve been asked a couple of questions about how to freeze, what I containers I use to freeze, do I bake first and then freeze?, freeze and then bake?  Well, I figured instead of updating each and every Freezer Meals for Matt entry, I’d clarify a few things 🙂

Bake First then Freeze:

For majority of the meals I make for my husband I bake it first, allow to cool and then place into freezer containers.  He’s living out of a hotel and therefore only has access to a microwave.  He’ll grab meals for the week when he’s home on the weekend, and once he arrives back at his hotel, he thaws everything and just heats it when he’s ready to eat.

Depending on what you are using these meals for, you can do what works best for you.  Matt has said they all heat up well and taste good.  However, if you’d rather have a ‘fresh out of the oven’ meal, prepare the meal as stated, skip the oven part, and place into freezer containers.  When you’re ready for the meal, start at the oven step 🙂

What containers do you use?

Because I have to put them into individual serving sizes for Matt I use the following:

Glad FreezerWare Small: 3 C/24 oz., I usually fill them about 2/3 of the way, sometimes 1/2, they are a little bigger than needed but the size down is too small.

Glad LockWare Small: 2 C/16 oz., these are the perfect size for the meals and they stack really well in the freezer.

Glad Mini Round: 1/2 C./4 oz., I use these for when I make shredded chicken for sandwiches, Matt’s said that these are a great portion size for buns 🙂

If you are making it for family dishes, I would recommend:

Glad FreezerWare Large (8 C.) , or Glad Family Size (13 C.)

**I’m not promoting Glad, just giving you an idea of sizes and things 🙂  Majority of what I use is either Glad or Ziplock, sometimes the Target brand (however, I did notice that they aren’t a very good quality and tend not to wash as well…).

Please feel free to let me know if you’ve noticed something that works best for you when it comes to Freezer Meals!  This is just what I do, because of needing to do individual servings and Matt only having a microwave 🙂

Hope this helps, Happy Freezing! 🙂

Freezer Meals for Matt: Chicken Tortilla Bake

I feel like I’m on a roll with recipes!!  I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on my Pinterest boards.  I don’t know why cause it’s not like I make all of that stuff, I just spend way too much free time on Pinterest and find some really good things 🙂

This one was another good find!  I did change this one quite a bit from the original recipe that I found on Homemaking Challenged.  Great original recipe, it’s just that when I started making it, I didn’t feel the need for all the layers or the amount of sauce…  So here’s my version:

Chicken Tortilla Bake

1 pkg. 8-10″ tortillas, cut into bite sized pieces

**I bought the low cal, low carb, high fiber, high protein ones from Target, they were an Archer Farms brand; just to add a little extra nutrition and take away a few calories**

1 can 98% fat free Cream of Chicken soup

1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes, any flavor

3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts; cubed and cooked

1/2 C. corn

1/2 C. black beans

1-2 C. shredded Taco cheese (or any shredded cheese)

1.  Preheat oven to 350*.  Grease a small baking dish (I used maybe a 7×11″… not sure, my mom has some deeper dishes and I know it’s smaller than a 9×13″ but it’s still rectangular 🙂 ).

2. Mix together soup, tomatoes, corn and beans.

3. Layer 1/2 tortillas, 1/2 chicken, 1/2 sauce, and 1/2 cheese; repeat. Bake for 20-25 min.

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For freezing information check out: Freezer Meals for Matt: FAQs

Freezer Meals for Matt: Buffalo Chicken Pasta Bake

Umm, there are no words to describe how good this recipe is… I guess that’s if you like Buffalo Chicken 🙂  Which both Matt and I do, so this one’s a keeper!!!!

I’m going to get right to the recipe (mainly because I ran 13.1 miles today, and I have about 4 other blog posts to share and I’m feeling a little lazy today 🙂 ).

I stuck to the recipe fairly closely, however because this is one of those taste preference things I didn’t follow amounts very closely 🙂  Feel free to use more or less of everything to make it the way you would like!

Buffalo Chicken Pasta Bake

originally from Homemade Delish

1 16 oz. box Penne pasta, cooked and drained

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts; cubed and cooked

1/2-1 C. Buffalo Hot Sauce

3/4 -1+ C. Ranch dressing (or Blue Cheese)

1-2 C. Shredded cheese (Colby Jack or Cheddar)

1. Preheat oven to 350* and prepare a deep baking dish.

2. Mix together hot sauce and ranch.  In separate bowl, mix chicken, pasta and cheese.  Pour sauce over all and mix well.

3. Pour everything into prepared baking dish, sprinkle with cheese (if desired) and bake for 20-25 min.

IMAG0275 I really enjoyed this!!!  It’s is on the spicy/hot side so if you aren’t a fan of that, don’t use too much hot sauce!  Enjoy!! 🙂

For Freezing information check out: Freezer Meals for Matt: FAQs