Thursday, September 1, 2016

Filling the freezer

Today my oldest daughter and I spent a couple of hours making meals for the freezer.  In order to keep track of the recipes for future use, I'm linking to all of them in this post.  Altogether we spent a little over 2 hours working on this today. That doesn't include the time we each spent prepping, but it does include cleanup.  I got 11 meals out of the deal and she got a few more.  Some of these meals are casseroles that bake in the oven, and quite a few of them are "dump" crockpot meals.  (You dump the ingredients into a ziplock bag, and when you want to cook the meal, you dump the contents of the bag into the crockpot.)

We each did a bit of prep ahead of time.  She made Zesty slow cooker chicken barbecue, and Spaghetti sauce, and I precooked chicken and diced up leftover ham for Chicken cordon bleu casserole.  (I've made and frozen this one before, it's good with rice or over pasta.).  I also made a double batch of Alton Brown's baked brown rice .

We made cowboy casserole which should appeal to the grandkids as well as Andy.   I made a half recipe of Chicken Philly cheese steak, without the peppers.  I didn't stop to consider how really unappealing that is going to look with all the white from the chicken, onions, and the cornstarch.  Peppers would certainly add some visual appeal.

DD made Pesto stuffed shells, (she gave me two servings, but I'm not too sure how well they will go over here, although they sound delicious to me), and Salsa chicken, (I passed on this one because I'm not so sure Andy will even consider eating it).  We also made Creamy Italian chicken.  I wondered if this recipe had too much Italian dressing in it, but DD says she's made it before and it's very good served over pasta.  I also made Cool ranch chicken tacos, but DD passed on that one.

As we eat these meals, I plan to add our thoughts on them.

10/4:  I cooked the cool ranch chicken tacos when ds came for dinner a few weeks ago. Both he and Andy really liked them.  I found them slightly spicy, but that's normal for me.  I'd make them again.

11/20:  The chicken Philly cheesesteak was quite good. I served it on buns, with Swiss cheese and heated them in the oven after assembling.  We also really liked the zesty chicken barbecue, which we had on baked potatoes. Pesto stuffed shells were very good and would be suitable for company. As for cowboy casserole, you can't really go wrong with meat, cheese and potatoes. (Unless you are grandson 2, as he did not like it.). I'd use American cheese instead of shredded cheddar next time, just because it seems cheesier and melts better.

DD reports that her oldest son pronounced the chicken cordon bleu casserole awesome served over rice.  We had it over pasta last week and liked it that way too.

DDs family thought the creamy Italian chicken was okay, but not especially great. She says she added chicken broth and vegetables to the leftovers and made chicken noodle soup, which they liked better than the original recipe.  Andy and I both liked the creamy Italian chicken a lot.  We had it over whole wheat pasta.  I would make it again as written, but I don't think that DD would.  Initially, I was skeptical about the recipe, as I thought that it had way too much Italian dressing, and DD thought it would be great.  Funny how the results were the opposite of what we expected.

Alton Brown's baked brown rice is good, and very easy.  I always omit the salt, and add two chicken or beef bouillon cubes instead.  I also add about 1/4 cup more water than the recipe calls for.  When I make it, I do two or three pans of rice at a time.  I've already got the oven going so I figure that I might as well fill it.  I've never tried doubling the recipe in a single pan, since I don't want to mess with what I already know will work.  The rice freezes very well.  I freeze it in quart size bags and then put all the bags into a larger bag so that I don't have little bags of rice floating all over the freezer.