Monday, May 20, 2013

TIME is MONEY: Fast Homemade meals from the freezer!

I had surgery last week.  I was blessed to have friends who brought us dinner 3 days, which made dealing with not feeling well easier…and my family was well taken care of. 

THIS week I am still not up to my normal self…but our life is back to normal “light speed” and isn’t being very accommodating to my recovery.  When I looked over my schedule this week, I thought there is NO way I can expect to cook a homemade meal on three days this week.  (I feel very blessed to have stumbled upon years ago and subsequently purchased the book, “Fabulous Freezer Meals” by Jenny Stanger…which led to experimenting with homemade meals that my family would like from the freezer.)   So…I went to my freezer and picked out 3 meals that I had previously made and frozen.  
An ACTUAL peek into my freezer...

What I WISH my freezer looked like...
 WHAT are the 3 meals this week that will be whipped up FAST and with very little dirty dishes?
          1)      Pot Stickers
          2)      Qdoba style burritos
          3)      Taco Soup

Below, I have included these family freezer favorites!  (I have plenty more freezer recipes…This is just the tip of the iceberg so-to-speak.)

Freezer Meal #1: Pot Stickers 
 (by Jenny Stanger)
2 pkgs. Wonton wrappers (2 inch circles)
2 c. Cabbage, thinly sliced
1 heaping tsp. garlic, minced
5 links sausage (partially cook and then use a food processor)
1-2 tsp. ginger
1 green OR regular onion, chopped finely
2 tsp. soy sauce

To Prepare:
11.       Dice cabbage into very small pieces. 
a.       (Use the rest in a soup OR a side dish like cabbage and bacon)
22.       In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except the wonton wrappers.
33.       Lightly flour 2 cookie sheets. 
44.       Halfway fill a small bowl with water. 
a.       (To dip your fingers in.)
55.       Wet one side of the wonton wrapper and spoon 1-2 tsp. of filling in the center of the wrapper.
66.       Fold in half, like a taco and pinch edges closed.
a.        If the edges don’t seal, wet them with your fingers and pinch edges until the DO seal.
77.       Place pot stickers on a lightly floured cookie sheet and freeze for 1-2 hours.
88.       Put in a Ziploc baggie and LABEL and place in the freezer. 
a.       Pull out desired # pot stickers and follow cooking directions.
To Cook:
11.       Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a nonstick skillet.
22.       Place frozen wontons in skillet on med-high heat.
33.       Add ¼ c. water and cover with lid to steam the pot stickers.
44.       Cook until liquid is gone—about 7-8 minutes.
55.       When pot stickers turn brown and crispy, flip them over.   (Like a pancake) 
66.       Add ¼ c. water and cook the other side until it is brown and crispy.

Dipping Sauce
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
3 Tbsp. water
3 Tbsp. vinegar
1+ Tbsp. brown sugar
3 cloves garlic, minced

Combine all ingredients and divide into individual small bowls for each person.

Freezer Meal #2: Qdoba Burritos  
(by Jenny Stanger)
(a combination of 2 recipes inside a tortilla)
·Serve with salsa and/or sour cream

Sweet Beans & Rice (by Jenny Stanger)
2 c. black beans
6 c. cooked rice
½ c. sugar

To Prepare:
11.       Cook Rice. 
22.       Gently fold in black beans.
33.       Add sugar and gently fold in.  Serve warm. 
44.       Put leftovers in a quart size ziplock bag.  Label and Freeze for later.

To Serve:
11.       Defrost in microwave .
22.       Serve inside a tortilla with Sweet Shredded pork/beef and salsa.

Sweet Shredded Pork or Beef (by Jenny Stanger)
3-4lb. pork roast or beef roast
2 liters Dr. Pepper/Root Beer/Pepsi
1 can (14 oz.) Pineapple tidbits, undrained

To Prepare:
11.       Place pork roast in a slow cooker.
22.        Pour soda and pineapple juice on top of roast. 
33.       Cook on LOW for 6 hours.
44.       Shred pork/beef in the slow cooker with two forks. 
55.       Place leftover in sandwich size ziplock bags with 1-2 Tbsp. liquid.  Label.  Freeze for later.

To serve: 
11.       Defrost in microwave. 
22.       Pour off extra liquid. 
33.       Serve inside a tortilla with Sweet Beans & Rice and salsa.

Freezer Meal #3: Taco soup 
(by Wendy Ashton)

1 lb. Ground beef
1 pkg. Taco seasoning
2 c. variety beans  (ex. Garbanzo, black, kidney, pinto)
1c. Mild picante sauce
Corn (frozen)
1 can stewed tomatoes
2 oz. Diced chilies
Olives (optional)
To Prepare:
1.       Throw everything in the crock pot in the morning, except the meat w/seasoning.
2.       Serve with crackers or tortillas.

To Freeze:
1.       I double the recipe…and freeze the second half for another day. 

To Serve: 
1.       Defrost halfway in the microwave.
2.       Throw in the crock pot to finish thawing and then the crock pot will finish cooking it.

Happy Pinching Pennies…