Sunday, December 6, 2015

Freezer Food Part #2

If you read my Freezer Food Part #1 post then you know I've really been hoping to stock the freezer full of some simple, healthy, quick foods for after Baby Larochelle comes. Since my almost fully pregnant body isn't exactly up to a huge 12 hour long cooking session I decided to break it down into a few different cooking days and finally got to my first one last week! I am super excited to be building up a stockpile of food, it helps take away some of the stress and anticipation of birth and having a newborn baby in the house. In fact, I'm thinking of making it a more regular part of our lives, pregnant or not!

Since I wanted to keep it simple this time around, I chose 4 easy foods with similar ingredients which meant less stuff to buy, less items to cut up and less chance of cross contamination. The items I made this time were:

Lunch Burritos
Ravioli and Tortellini Pasta Packs

The first thing I did was cut up all my vegetables which, in this case, was only peppers and onions. Having a big bowl of each cut up and ready to go made throwing everything together so much easier.

Next I browned all the beef, except for about 2lbs which I set aside for meatballs. I did half the beef in one pan to use for the burritos and pasta and the rest in a huge pot for my chili.With the meat I tossed peppers and onions into both pans, just setting aside enough onions for the meatballs later on.

While that cooked, I set out my awesome freezer containers I picked up at the wholesale store and filled them with Ravioli and Tortellini. I then added a big spoonful of Classico pasta sauce, either Alfredo or Italian to each container. I usually don't buy these but they were on sale and saved me a ton of time over making the sauces myself.

Then I opened cans and added my beans, spices and tomato sauces to the chili pot. Since I let the chili simmer for a long time, I was able to just stir occasionally while I worked on other things.

Now that my ground beef, pepper, onion mix was ready I moved to pasta packs and burritos. The only thing left for the pasta was adding the beef mixture to the top and putting the lids on. I also put the containers into large freezer bags as an extra measure against freezer burn. 

Next, I laid tortillas all over the counter for my burritos. I started by just adding a scoop of canned baked beans, re-fried beans are better but I just had these available. Then I added a scoop of beef mixture, some cheese and rolled them up. So quick and easy. I wrapped the burritos in a layer of aluminum foil before placing them in freezer bags.

Since my chili was basically ready at this point, I just let it to cool before putting into freezer bags and moved to my meatballs. I don't really follow anything for meatballs but any basic meatball recipe should work good. Just make sure you cook the meatballs and then freeze them without adding any sauce. Once they were done I portioned out my meatballs and chili, placed everything into labelled freezer bags and put them in the deep freezer!

I am definitely impressed with the end result. It only took about 3 hours and I now have lots of good food in the freezer and the whole process produced surprisingly less dishes than anticipated, yay!

Here is how I plan to use the foods, just in case you are curious.

- Pasta packs and burritos will most likely be used as quick, microwavable lunches for my husband and I, hopefully we will throw a few fresh vegetable or fruit slices on the side. If we are being completely honest, I've already broken into these when I was too lazy... I mean too busy to make lunch and they are amazing.

- We will have big bowls of chili for dinner a few different nights, probably with buns or salad, and then use leftovers for things like chili cheese dogs or chili fries.

- Meatballs will probably be eaten once as topping to a big pot of spaghetti and then the rest will be cooked using my favourite, super simple glaze recipe from I Heart Naptime.

Next I hope to take an afternoon and work on some of the breakfasts and snack foods I had on my original freezer meal planning list. While I may not get around to everything, I really want to do muffins, waffles and homemade granola bars.I better get moving since there are only 26 days, 2 hours and 3 minutes until the due date.... and I have a feeling he may come early!

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