With summer upon us and grilling and salad season in full force, I challenged myself to create a menu plan for Freezer Cooking Day which include zero casseroles. I also am short on time this weekend and ended up with only a 2-hour time slot with which to cook.
::The No-Casserole, Two-Hour Freezer Cooking Day Recipe List::
–Barbecued Beef x 4 (recipe coming)
—Southwest Roll-ups x 4
—Marinated Chicken x 3
–Whole-Wheat Chocolate Chip Pancakes (recipe coming)
–Cooked bacon for BLT sandwiches and salads (enough for 3 meals)
–Cooked and chopped chicken for Homemade Pizza and Chicken Pasta Salad (enough for 4 meals — 2 of each)
And here’s my plan — maybe a little ambitious to accomplish in two hours. But it seems doable on paper, at least!
::The No-Casserole, Two-Hour Master Freezer Cooking Day Plan::
–Set out meat and milk from freezer tonight (to thaw).
–Start beef in crock pot (5 minutes)
–Grind flour (5 minutes)
–Cook bacon and chicken (5 minutes)
–Make chocolate chip pancakes batter (5 minutes)
–While pancakes are cooking, clean up kitchen (10 minutes)
–Continue cooking pancakes and mix chicken and marinade in freezer bags (5 minutes)
–Make fruit cups (15 minutes)
–Chop chicken (10 minutes)
–Make Southwest roll-ups (10 minutes)
–Bag everything and put in freezer (10 minutes)
–Clean up kitchen (20 minutes)
If all goes exactly according to plan, I’ll have 18 meals (or parts of meals) in the freezer, plus fruit cups and pancakes. Stay tuned on Monday for the full report including pictures and recipes.
Are you participating in the May Freezer Cooking Day Event? If so, post about your cooking plan on your blog and then come back here and leave your direct link below so we can all be inspired! Please note: links which do not link directly to your freezer cooking post or which do not contain your freezer cooking plan will be deleted.
Are you cooking the marinated chicken today, or are you just sticking the raw breasts in the freezer with the marinade? It seemed a little unclear to me. I would love to know how marinading it and then freezing turns out. Always nice to have as many steps out of the way as possible, but someone commented earlier that they thought the chicken might get mushy. Would love a little clarification on this if you have time.
I’m linking up too! I’m a relatively new freezer cooker, and sadly my crockpot died this week (heartbreaking). So this month is mostly breads and baking, all inspired by many of the great sites here!
I almost didn’t participate because I had planned to spend the day baking cakes, but then I realized I was baking all these cakes to FREEZE them, so YAY, I’m posting and linking up too!
Cathy D says
you can bake and freeze cakes?!? Omgosh… Ok, now I’m really intrigued by this freezer cooking idea! LOL
I think I’m going to jump in and give this a try. I know my husband would not be happy having the same things week after week though so maybe I’ll just start by making a week or two worth of meals and then adding those in to my weekly meal plan.
I’ve been doing a weekly meal plan for a long time now and it’s great knowing what we’ll have for dinner but I dread coming up with the list every week! My boys (hubby and son) are so picky! And, I, too, tire of the same food quickly so it’s always a challenge for me. Hopefully, freezer cooking can help alleviate some of the weekly burden! Thanks for including this info on your blog! 😉
Do you have a specific recipe for your pasta salad? I’ve been trying to find a good recipe for one.
Stephanie Glidden says
I love the frozen fruit cup idea!! Another “Why didn’t I think of that?” simple recipe!
My first freezer cooking day today. I think it was a success. Thanks for the inspiration!
Will the texture of my chicken be OK if I thaw in refrigerator, prepare (but not cook) and refreeze? Or should I cook all chicken before I refreeze???
I don’t have a blog, but I got a lot accomplished last night, so I will share it here. 🙂
Pizza Noodle Bake x2
Butterhorns (thanks for the recipe!)
Chicken Noodle Casserole
Homemade Granola Bars
Brown Bag Burritos (my husband is happy!)
Cinnamon Bread and Cinnamon/Raisin Muffins
I made (6) Stromboli the other day and that is very well like at our house. It’s great to see a freezer full of food!
Just realized that you are cooking the marinated chicken first then freezing. It was another blog that put the raw chicken with marinate in freezer …..see my earlier comment and question……sorry!
Crystal, am wondering if you have tried the marinated chicken (assuming it is frozen with marinate in with it) after thawing etc. I have trie something similar and the chicken was mushy and nasty all around….actually, I threw it out! Any ideas?
Not sure if you read all the comments but I want to tell you, I am FINALLY (I’m a long time MSM reader) going to participate! I am going to try a weeks (maybe a bit more) of meals! I “meal planned” once (you motivated me) and it was a smooth week. I hope the next week is even smoother. I used to read your posts and think, “I can’t be like her, she is organized and a super mom.” But ya know what? I can try! 🙂
How do you cook bacon and chicken in 5 minutes?
Hi Crystal! Silly question here— how do you keep your pre-cooked bacon crispy? I have never frozen cooked bacon, but I have refrigerated it after cooking and it quickly became soggy. Any hints?
bethany m says
@Ellen, freezing it keeps it crispy until ready to use!
Quick question: Are you thawing the meat and milk on your kitchen counter? It really needs to be thawed in the fridge to prevent bacterial growth. Sorry–I’m kind of hysterical about food safety (c:
PS, are there any other freezer recipes for rollups, less southwest style? my family is not a big fan of refried beans. TIA
Andrea Q says
@Robin, You could just leave out the beans and add more chicken if they like the other seasonings.
My daughter doesn’t like refried beans at all and she pretty willingly ate this. Only one, but she didn’t just push it around her plate. That’s why we added rice and probably a little more chicken and cheese. Ya gotta do what ya gotta do 🙂 Maybe a spanish rice version with chicken or pulled pork would be better.
@ Chelle and Andrea.
Thanks for the tips! I’ll definitely be giving that one a try then, minus the beans. (time to add to my grocery list!) 🙂
This looks great! I think I’ll actually attempt some of this!
Figure what recipes my family will go for, and make those. Might not work for the whole month, but it will carry us farther for those days no-one (me) wants to make supper! 😀
Thanks for the bacon tip! Does the grease really splatter? we have a gas oven, so I’m wondering if it could be a problem.
I am soo trying to get into this too. All because of you 🙂 I’ve only made a few batches of things. I don’t devote a whole day yet. Instead of doing that I just quadruple what I am making and freeze it. My husband LOVES the Southwest Rollups. With his suggestion we added partially cooked white rice. Very tasty. He compares them to the Grilled Stuffed Burritos at Taco Bell. I even made the tortillas. That was fun and easy. I also made really easy from scratch pancakes. Slowly, but surely I am getting the hang of it.
Thanks so much for writing what your actual schedule is during the cooking time. Nice to get ideas on how to coordinate things. Way to go on getting that much done!!!
Get interupted by girls fighting (5 minutes)
Stop to nurse a fussy Silas (10 minutes)
Stop to pick up teething baby (2 minutes)
Just kidding! But it seems that my “time” to do stuff like this always gets eaten up by kids!
@Noah, 😉 You’re cracking me up!
I’m planning to do this today since Jesse is home and has willingly offered to be on child-duty. I think he’s taking everyone somewhere during those two hours to prevent interruptions. Otherwise, my plan would look quite a bit different. 🙂
Claire at Saving Money Plan says
Thanks for the linky! My plan is a bit of plan for wimps who have been traveling too much — but I guess we all need to start somehow in replenishing our freezer, right?
@Claire at Saving Money Plan, Hey, I’m pretty sure you’re not a wimp! You have a lot on your plate. 🙂
I am so looking forward to actually participating in the freezer cooking on the same weekend as you are. I usually do some freezing cooking every 4 weeks, but it hasn’t corresponded with your posts. I can’t wait to get started.
Claire at Saving Money Plan says
Has you or someone you know made the frozen fruit cups before? From looking at the recipe I’m really curious how they taste…please report back!!
@Claire at Saving Money Plan, We have made them, but I leave out the lemonade (ew) and add mandarin oranges. Any other berries work well too. I think that the fruit and juice could be substituted for your preference!
Claire at Saving Money Plan says
SO FUNNY! I was just thinking — lemonade???? HA
@Claire at Saving Money Plan, I’ve made a similar recipe before, but not that exact one. I couldn’t find my exact one from long ago, so that’s the best I could come up with. Not sure on the lemonade, but I’m going to make the recipe pretty much exactly as written and we’ll see what we think.
I’ll report back and let you know!
Kristin Call says
I’m completely addicted to OAMC! DH is even getting in on the cooking action this weekend! 🙂
Kelly K says
Well, it is currently just myself, hubby and 16 yr old son in the house. Hubby works late hours so I have to pack him lunch & dinner. I babysit at home and my days go from 7am-9:30pm some days (I even babysit every other Saturday & Sunday!) I find that it is near impossible to find time for myself to eat, let alone cook. (note: toaster strudels are NOT dinner! And frozen or canned store bought meals should NOT be my sons regular diet! The kid is the size of a toothpick!!) I told my Hubby that I want *US* to start cooking one Sunday a month splitting the food into serving size portions. I figure freezer bags should work well for this (right?) Then I can toss a bag in his lunchbox for him to heat up, along with a sandwich instead of 2 sandwiches each day. My son can also pull a bag out at night before bed for his dinner the next night. If I’m lucky even I will find time to eat this way!
Thanks for giving me something to aspire to!… Now to find the motivation, and time, to get it done!
OAMC has changed my way of cooking for the family. We love it! Can’t wait to try some new recipes!
Probably a dumb question, but how would you make the fruit cups? Then how would you defrost them to use? That sounds like such a great idea, but I just cant figure out that would work.
@Christina, You serve them frozen, so I’m just planning to pull them straight out of the freezer when we’re ready to use them!
I love frozen fruit cups! We made them all the time when I was in high school. They were an easy, quick breakfast! I will def. be making some! Perfect for summer!
thanks for the idea to just cook chicken, and put in salads. now i can do freezer cooking and still eat fresh salads this summer! One trick that helps me with freezer cooking is I have my hubby BBQ all the chicken I’m going to use. It’s one less meat I need to prepare and BBQ chciken in the freezer meals always tastes more flavorful in the meals too.
Teresa Hitt says
HI! I think this plan would be great, but I am gluten-intolerant. Is there a plan for me? Or can you help me figure out a substitution for the items containing wheat?
@Teresa Hitt, Check out:
She’s doing a gluten-free Freezer Cooking Day!
Okay, when you say “Southwest Roll-ups” x 4, do you mean you quadruple the batch that your recipe makes? If so, you end up with 16 x 4 = 64 roll-ups! That’s a ton! I’m assuming you’re only making a total of 16 (or thereabouts), in which case my next question is: does your family not mind eating the same thing approx. 4 times in the same month, or do you somehow serve them differently each time so that it doesn’t “feel” like the same meal?
@Heather, My family doesn’t mind eating the same thing once a week — provided it’s something we all like!
The roll-ups are great for lunches and snacks for my husband, too, so sometimes they don’t end up much on the dinner menu because they disappear quickly! 🙂
I was planning to take the recipe x 2 — which would make enough for 4 dinners plus some lunches and snacks.
Nikki at couponcookin says
Yea, I love it that you are using a crock pot. My dad and I had our Freezer Cooking Day yesterday and we had two crock pot meals. It’s so much easier. This was my first Freezer Cooking Day and I loved it. Thanks for the wonderful ideas.
I just did my first OAMC day this week!
this may be a dumb question but is a crock pot the same thing as a slow cooker? or is there a difference?
Nikki at couponcookin says
@Mariam, yes they are the same
What a great idea with the fruit cups. I will definately add that to my list next time.
I could not cook bacon for the life of me. However now I cook it in the oven. easy peesey. Line a baking sheet with aluminium foil and bake it till you can smell it and then a little more to get it extra crispy. clean up is easy too just bacon grease. Hope this helps someone out there 🙂
@Jenn, EXCELLENT tip!! I’m going to have to try it this way. Thanks!
Nony (A Slob Comes Clean) says
It’s so fun to do this every month. Just as hubby ran out of the breakfast pockets, you’re doing another link-up. Perfect timing! And this time, I’m also trying some cheeseburger pockets . . . totally making them up, but I hope they’ll be good.
Brandi Aliaga says
For the last 3 years I have been going to a cooking kitchen where I could make meals for my family but decided to give it a try with my best friend at our own houses. First month was a success…looking forward to our May cooking!
Julie H says
I completely forgot about Frozen Fruit Cups….great idea! I have been scoring strawberries for .99 at Aldi’s so these are going on the list! 🙂
Your plan looks great. The frozen fruit cups are a great idea.