With the baby coming soon, I have been extra-productive in the kitchen, trying to prepare some meals to just make life a little easier when she arrives. I basically spent two full days cooking, one day one week and one day the next week, and was so pleased with how much I was able to prepare in that time! Why don't I always do this?! It worked so well and now I have many meals in my freezer prepared and ready to go. Though hotdishes and soups aren't exactly ideal for the hot summer weather, it will still be preferable to looking at the clock at 5pm and wondering what I am going to feed the family!
I thought I'd share some of the recipes that I prepared--maybe it will inspire you to prepare some meals for your freezer too, for busy days ahead!
First, Barbecue Chicken (this could not be easier):
Rub 4-6 chicken breasts with a prepared spice rub (I happened to have some in the cupboard). Place chicken in crock pot and cook on low until chicken is tender and can be shredded with a fork, about 6 hours. Add bottled barbecue sauce (I used about two bottles). Now it's ready for sandwiches!
Corn Chowder with Chilies:
This is a great recipe from the Pioneer Woman. You can find it here:
http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2010/10/corn-chowder-with-chilies/ I usually use three cans of corn instead of fresh, and also I just add chipotle powder instead of the chilies in adobo sauce, so that it doesn't get too spicy for my kiddos to enjoy. It's delicious!
Turkey Wild Rice Casserole
This is an easy, filling, delicious meal and this recipe makes a large batch. Perfect for eating some and freezing the rest for later!
You will need: 4 cups cooked, chopped turkey (or chicken)
2 boxes Uncle Ben's Original Wild Rice
1 cup sour cream
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 lb fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 stick (8 Tbsp) butter
Cook the rice according to package directions. Add the turkey, soup, and sour cream to the rice. Mix well. In a separate pan saute mushrooms in butter until cooked. Add to the turkey mixture. Transfer to a large baking dish and bake at 350 for 1 hour.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
I love this recipe because the soup is a basis for all sorts of fun toppings: sour cream, diced avocado, pico de gallo, grated cheese, or fresh cilantro. As well, we love to eat it with chips! You can't go wrong! Here is the Pioneer Woman again and this home-run of a recipe:
Simple, Hearty, White Chili
Again thanks to the PW, here's a hearty, filling, delicious soup recipe that can easily freeze for busy days ahead. It's great with garnishes or without and is quite economical as well. Give this one a try!
http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2010/01/simple-hearty-white-chili/ I made mine with turkey this time because after roasting a whole turkey, that's what I had on hand. I also used the turkey broth to cook the beans. Yummy!
We love this Indian-style dish that is just a little spicy but so very delicious over some basmati or jasmine rice. You can find the recipe here: http://tastykitchen.com/recipes/main-courses/butter-chicken-2/ It's a hit with all my kids too! (and there's actually not that much butter in it!) The only change I make is to cube the chicken before marinating so that the pieces are much smaller...we like them to be bite-sized and distributed through the sauce more. They also seem to absorb more flavor that way. Love the lime, cilantro, tomato and cream flavors here!
Banana Oatmeal Raisin Muffins
After having each of my babies, I remember times during those first few weeks where I was just HUNGRY. Nursing 7-9 times a day and caring for a newborn can just make you want to eat everything in sight! When Chloe was born in Chiang Mai, my friend Germaine brought me a still-warm batch of muffins very similar to this...hearty, tasty, healthy, and delicious. Ever since I think it's the perfect gift for a new mom--easy to make and easy to eat between meals when you're desperate for some real sustenance that won't cost you a bunch of empty calories. These mix up so quickly and are a snap to make. Enjoy! http://tastykitchen.com/recipes/breads/banana-oatmeal-raisin-muffins/
So there you have a list of the things that are waiting in my freezer right now. Hope you find a recipe or two that strikes your fancy! Happy cooking!