Freezer Cooking Day: Taco Meat, Lasagna, Lemon Chicken, and White Bean Chili

Gretchen added spices and onions to the already-browned ground beef for Taco Meat and then she took on that task of making all the Butterhorn rolls (a rather tedious task that I was completely happy having her volunteer for!).

While she was busy with that, I put together four pans of FishMama’s Lasagna, the marinade for the lemon chicken (I took this recipe times three and divided frozen chicken breasts into three bags and poured a third of the marinade into each), and the White Bean and Chicken Chili.

Whew! What a great feeling to be done–and it was only 1:15 p.m.! I’m so very, very glad my sister said she’d help. Without her, I would still be back on the second recipe, I’m pretty sure. But instead, in four hours, we whipped out 25 dinners plus 64 Butterhorns and a batch of Blueberry Pancakes! Plus, we had leftover cooked brown rice and beans to freeze and chopped onions, too.

Our little kitchen “helper” (ahem, he enjoyed pulling out all the contents from under the kitchen sink!)

And the girls–with make-up on! (Auntie Gretchen had fun playing “beauty shop” with them while she was here!)

Stay tuned tomorrow for the final picture of everything we made ready to go in the freezer. I’ll post a link-up post at 12 p.m. CST for you to come and share your Freezer Cooking Day accomplishments, too. I can’t wait to see what you made!

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Comments

  1. Amy Monaghan says

    PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE post your recipe for the butterhorns! Thanks so much….LOVE your blog!

  2. says

    I’m wondering if you could get a helper on Freezer Cooking Days more regularly. The helper helps with the cooking, but also helps keep the kids occupied and Mama less distracted. Plus the helper gets to take home some goodies. A complete win-win!

    • Crystal says

      @Chris, I think my sister and I decided we’re going to make this a monthly thing. We both really enjoyed it and it went so much faster. Plus, my house wasn’t a disaster when the cooking was over–which is a huge plus!

  3. Emily says

    I am sort of new to this whole freezer cooking thing, but LOVE the idea. Just not sure the “rules” for how long you can freeze all of these items (cooked chicken, cooked hamburger, burritos, lasagna etc). Does it depend on if it was frozen before, or fresh. Any info you could provide would be WONDERFUL!!!! I love your site and look at it ALL the time now!

    Thanks
    Emily

  4. says

    It looks like a link for the lemon chicken marinade is missing? Everything sounds SO good! It will be fun to see the end results picture :)

  5. Colleen says

    Lemon chicken recipe please! Also, my sister and I had a freezer cooking day when I was expecting, using lots of the recipes from your ‘Mom of Littles’ blog right around the time Silas was born. Lots of yummies! Thank you as always!

  6. elizabeth says

    Aww, this makes me miss my sister. I would love to do this with her! I am very motivated to do some cooking!

  7. says

    Your little man is getting so big! I completely agree about having a “helper”. My mom stopped by this afternoon during nap time and played with my daughter, swept the floor and folded some laundry. What a huge help! My camera died half-way thru today, so not many pictures for tomorrow.

  8. Erin says

    Cooking ready-made meals for the freezer makes a lot of sense, especially labor-intensive ones like lasagna, but aren’t “easier” meals, such as taco meat, marinaded chicken, and pancakes almost as fast and easy to whip up fresh? These tend to be “filler” meals that I don’t plan because I usually have all the ingredients on hand, so it’s really just a matter of measuring spices. I’m also wondering how much flavor or texture might be compromised with the chicken and pancakes. I know refrigerated pancakes aren’t nearly as good leftover as fresh, and I’m a bit leery of freezing already-frozen chicken in marinade. . . . Also wondering what sort of vegetable sides you make with these meals. Made ahead or prepared fresh? Frozen or whatever’s in season?

    • Crystal says

      @Erin, For me, it’s easier to make these things up ahead of time. I literally do not spend more than 15 minutes per day in the kitchen–except on Freezer Cooking Day. So having it almost all done and ready to go works very well for our family–and it doesn’t taste any different to us. But we’re also not terribly picky either!

      • Erin says

        @Crystal,
        Fifteen minutes?!? Wow! We’re foodies, so I like to try at least a couple new recipes a week. (Love the cooking, hate the dishes! Now if I could have a monthly dish-washing day instead, I’d be set.

        This morning I had some leftover pancakes, so I’m going try freezing them.

  9. Eileen says

    I would like the recipe for the lasagna, white bean chili and also for the taco meat please. Thanks.

  10. Jennifer Kaiser says

    Crystal, I am a 24 year old Mom of three kids four and under and one on the way and I’ve thought up ’til now that there is no way I’d be able to do OAMC. But you’re starting to change my mind :) On Saturday, my husband and I made four batches of potato soup instead of one and I LOVED putting those extras in the freezer. While I still don’t think I could do the cooking and look after all the little by myself, I realized that if I recruited either my husband or other family member, I could make it possible! I can’t wait to try!

  11. Ann says

    Crystal, I just had to tell you that your little “helpers” are so sweet! Your little boy reminds me so much of our youngest (of our 5), Aaron, who is 5 months old. Such a sweetie!

    I am inspired by your post to inquire of some of my friends if they’d like to come over and have a freezer cooking day with me. I homeschool my oldest daughters and having a helper to keep the little ones busy and help clean up as we go is a great idea. With so many children (and the 2 youngest ones under 2), I feel like I have so many projects going that I never get completely completed, but you give me hope that I can get it together if I plan it out first. Thanks!!

  12. Emily says

    Didn’t you say in a previous post that your sister was going to take some food home with her? Did you make more than the 25 meals so she’d have some, or did she get some of the 25?

  13. Jane says

    If possible I would love the recipe for the white bean chili. thanks.
    (we all love the children’s pictures too)
    Jane

  14. Kathy Davis says

    Crystal,

    I just love how every picture of your girls shows their close bond. Like in this one, with Kathrynne’s arm around Kaitlyn, so protective.

    Your babies are precious! How old is your boy now (Silas??)

  15. Kathy says

    I ALSO would LOVE to have the lemon chicken recipe! I cannot believe you get all that done with your kids under foot. Good for you! I try to do most of my cooking while my little daughter is sleeping because she doesn’t like to stay put. I don’t have a helper to watch her while I am doing things :( wish I did. Thanks for being such an inspirational mom!

  16. Shelley says

    I am new to this freezer cooking as well. I am eager to try some of the meals that you mentioned. One quick question, did you all cook the pancakes and then freeze them (individually or several together)?