Sometimes you just can’t help it – your day goes completely sideways, the fridge is quite literally empty, the kids are starting to rumble about being hungry.
The phone is in your hand ready to order in pizza and call it a day! And then you remember: you have something in your freezer just for days like today!
Tackling the Dinner Dash with Fast from the Freezer Favorites!
Every week (or so) I try to cook something and freeze it for days like that. So instead of ordering in pizza, I pull out my favorite casserole and pop it in the oven and turn my attention back to my family.
It doesn’t take much between client deadlines, a last-minute meeting and family activities for your well-stock fridge and pantry to run out! (Because of course the chaos weeks magically correspond to when you just seem to run out of everything!)
#1: Chunky meat sauce – Not only is it helpful for hectic days, but it’s the base for other family favorites like lasagna or sloppy joes.
#2: Anything pot pie – Chicken, beef or even fish pies freeze very well. Just freeze prior to baking and then all you have to do is stick in the oven and bake according to the recipe (with a little extra time to thaw).
#3: Hearty stews – Anything that’s a meal in itself is ideal for a fast from the freezer dinner. Freeze in family and individual-sized portions and reheat as needed.
#4: Marinated meat – Add your favorite marinade to beef or chicken and freeze in a sealed freezer bag.
#5: Casseroles – Freeze in an oven-safe container and seal with a lid or cling wrap and pop in the oven. Note: if the container is glass, thaw slightly in the microwave to prevent thermal shock.
Carla’s Favorite Hamburger Casserole
Sauté until no longer pink
1 to 1.5 pounds of ground beef (lean is best)
1 medium onion chopped
1 medium bell pepper chopped
And continue sautéing until onion are transparent
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook 3/4 of a package of egg noodles according to package directions, set aside
Layer Beef mixture
1 can of corn niblets drained
1 small can of tomatoes
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
Cheddar cheese slices to cover
Bake at 375 for 20 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted.
If using a 9 x 13“ pan, cook more pasta and put two cans of mushroom soup on top of the noodles.
Note: Freeze prior to baking and reheat in the microwave to bring the casserole to temperature and bake to melt the cheese.
Freezer Favorite Recipe From our Readers
MOMeo Reader, Rachel, from Busy Mommy Media, sent us her favorite crockpot recipe.
She loves it because it is easy, can be prepared ahead of time, and it is absolutely delicious.
This is not your typical meatloaf recipe.
Rachel’s (atypical) Crockpot Meatloaf
3/4 cup milk
2/3 cup seasoned bread crumbs
2 teaspoons dried minced onion
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
1-1/2 pounds ground beef
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
In a large bowl combine the first six ingredients. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well. Mixture will be moist. Shape into a round loaf; place in a 5 qt slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees.
In a small bowl whisk the ketchup, mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Spoon over the meat loaf. Cook 15 minutes longer or until heated through. Let stand for 10-15 minutes before cutting. 6 servings.
Variation: Substitute basil and black pepper for the rubbed sage and leave out the ground mustard.
Freezer Meal Option
Make meatloaf according to directions. Shape the meatloaf and without cooking, place it in a freezer bag. Freeze the meatlloaf raw. When ready to cook, thaw in the fridge over night and place in the crockpot in the morning.
Got a Fast Freezer Favorite you’d like to share? Add it to the comments below along with your story and you could be featured in an upcoming MOMeo Kitchen! Just a reminder… links to your blog don’t count as a submission!