40 meals, 1 freezer – August Freezer Meal Assembly

When we were first getting the freezer meal group started, one frequent response I’d get from people was “all I have is a small freezer attached to my fridge, there’s no way I could do something like that.”

Truth of the matter is if you keep your freezer inventory relatively low (like I strive to do) fitting ten meals in it is a piece of cake. Even 20 meals. But 40? How could someone store 40 meals without a deep freeze?

That’s exactly what I did for at least 12 hours after August Freezer Meal Assembly. I did use my fridge for certain items, like burgers, that were made from fresh meat so I could keep everything cold until sets of meals started heading out of the door, but here it is folks. 40 meals, no deep freeze. So 10 IS possible!

August Freezer Meal Stats

  • 7 preppers
  • 3 additional sets of meals sold (yay for an even “10” of everything!)
  • 10 sets of meals, about half of which were grill-friendly and the other half were more like crockpot meals
  • $73 or so per prepper – awesome!

Looking for our recipes? Join our Facebook group where I post recipes each month and offer tips on prepping these meals, too!

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Protein-Packed, Clean-Eating, 21 Day Fix-Friendly Breakfast Casserole

My freezer meal group is an AMAZING group. We come up with some awesome recipes and the best part of this group is that our meals each month get “voted” on and we all share feedback. Since I make the menus, it allows me to tweak the recipes based on everyone’s votes and feedback to make things that (hopefully!) our families all LOVE!

Enter our family’s new favorite breakfast casserole.

So many breakfast casseroles have crescent rolls, cinnamon rolls, processed hash brown potatoes, etc in them and we wanted something that, well, didn’t. This one is seriously delicious. You can make it ahead and freeze it, thawing before using it, or just quickly whip it up one morning or the night before.  It is FILLING and its one of those weekend breakfast casseroles that will keep you full to lunch and beyond! You can also sub in any vegetables you like (I add mushrooms for my mushroom-loving hubby!)

Ingredients
1 lb breakfast sausage
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 ½ c finely chopped spinach
1 diced green pepper
4 eggs, beaten
16oz carton of egg whites
8oz low fat cottage cheese
1 1/2 c shredded cheddar
¼ c parmesan

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 baking dish with coconut oil.
  2. Brown breakfast sausage and drain grease.
  3. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and pour into dish.
  4. Bake uncovered for 40-45 minutes.

Freezer Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients except for breakfast sausage and pour into bag.
  2. Thaw at least overnight before preparing.
  3. Brown sausage and combine all ingredients; pour into greased 9×13 baking dish.
  4. Bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes (depending on how thawed it was).

21 Day Fix Container Equivalents

For 1/6 of the casserole (pictured) – 2 reds, 1 blue, 1 green
For 1/12 of the casserole – 1 red, 1/2 blue, 1/2 green

July freezer meal assembly – Grill Edition, the sequel

Well June was the first month in over a YEAR that I did not organize a freezer meal get together (first month since we started in fact). I missed those freezer meals! We had an awesome group including THREE new people to make a set of grill friendly recipes. Plus we did it in WELL UNDER TWO HOURS!? Can you even believe it!?

This month’s stats:

  • 6 preppers (including one fiancee’) and an additional prepper “proxying in” and assembling 1.5 meals ahead of time.
  • 8 sets of meals (we sold two sets)
  • 10 meals, 4 of which we had done before and 7-8 of which were “grill friendly”
  • Just over $68 per prepper, which was incredible considering we had steak AND salmon in there!

IMG_9852Aside from the regular baby or two, there’s usually no kids at freezer meals, and Troy comes down to “watch the mommies” for a bit before heading to bed. However, this month we ended up with not just a baby but two preschool-aged kids over too! And while that could have gone haywire on us, the kids were AMAZING and played so well together. Highlights included that uber-quiet moment when I snuck down to the basement to make sure they were okay and the three of them were in the pitch black basement saying “5.4.3.2.1…BLAST OFF” and pulled a “see ‘n’ say” lever. Who would have thought such a simple toy would entertain them so long!?

Aside from poor Melissa’s bumps in the road at the Sam’s pickup, we had a ridiculously smooth month of meals! Thanks to a FANTASTIC GROUP for coming after these meals month after month with gusto!

Looking for our recipes? Join our Facebook group where I post recipes each month and offer tips on prepping these meals, too!

Freezer Meal 102 – GRILL RECIPES

Well last month’s Freezer Meal 101 post was such a hit, that I thought I’d put one together again. This month, our group did mostly grill recipes, so today I bring you FOUR grill recipes you can prep and freeze quickly!

Our meals
Peach Ginger Glazed Chicken, Gourmet Cheesy Spinach Burgers, Chipotle Lime Chicken Fajita Kabobs, Honey BBQ Chicken Tenders

Our shopping list
6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 lbs ground beef
1.5 lbs of boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 lbs chicken tenders
1 jar sugar free peach jam or preserves
1 10oz package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
8oz shredded cheddar
1 bunch cilantro
1 package mushrooms (NOT sliced, whole)
1 green pepper
1 red pepper
1 onion

Items you’ll want to pick up if they’re not in your pantry
honey
lemon juice
lime juice
sesame oil
low sodium soy sauce
olive oil
ginger
minced garlic
sesame seeds (optional)
1 envelope onion soup mix (OR see below for homemade)
brown sugar
salt
cumin
red pepper flakes
BBQ sauce
4 freezer gallon ziploc bags
1 foil tray/lid

Prep Instructions
Thaw frozen spinach and squeeze dry.
Slice up fresh chicken breasts into 1.5 in cubes.
Wash cilantro, chop and remove stems.
Wash mushrooms.
Wash green and red peppers and “chunk” them (for kabobs).
“Chunk” one onion (again, for kabobs).

Assembly Instructions
Peach Ginger Glazed Grilled Chicken
Combine 6 chicken thighs, 3/4 c sugar free peach preserves, 2 T honey, 1 T lemon juice, 1 T sesame oil, 1 T low sodium soy sauce, 1 t ginger, 1 t minced garlic, and 1 t sesame seeds (optional) in a freezer bag. When ready to cook, thaw overnight and grill for 6-8 minutes on each side.

Gourmet Cheesy Spinach Burgers
Mix together 2 lbs ground beef, 1 packet onion soup mix (OR see below for homemade version), package of thawed spinach, and 1 c shredded cheddar. Form 6 burger patties and place in foil tray. When ready to cook, thaw overnight and grill.

Chipotle Lime Chicken Fajita Kabobs
In one bag, combine the cubed chicken breasts, cilantro, 1/3 c lime juice, 1/3 c olive oil, 2 T minced garlic, 1 T brown sugar, 2 t salt, 1 1/2 t cumin, and 1/2 t red pepper flakes. In another bag, combine mushrooms, green and red peppers and onion. When ready to cook, thaw overnight and skewer kabobs. Grill until chicken is no longer pink.

Honey BBQ Chicken Tenders
Combine chicken tenders, 1/4 c olive oil, 1/4 c honey, 2 T soy sauce, 2 T BBQ sauce, and 1 t minced garlic in bag. when ready to cook, thaw overnight and grill until chicken is no longer pink.

Looking for a substitute for onion soup mix?
Combine 1/4 c dried onion flakes, 1/2 t onion powder, 1/2 t garlic powder, 1/4 t celery salt, 1/4 t pepper, 1/2 t parsley and 1/2 t sea salt. Voila!

Happy grilling!

May freezer meal assembly – GRILL EDITION

A couple of our group members asked if we could do some grill friendly recipes this summer awhile back. Enter freezer meal grill edition! We tried a LOT of new recipes this month. I have been having a LOT of fun writing and re-writing recipes these past couple months. I like getting feedback from our group members on what they like/dislike about certain recipes and I like taking recipes that are already out there and converting them to freezer meals without compromising on their quality at all. For instance, the chicken kabobs I made earlier this month were not a freezer meal, but with a few simple tweaks, I think they’ll come out just the same.

This month’s stats –

  • 11 preppers (9 in person and 2 that “proxy-ed in” by assembling meals at home if they couldn’t make it).
  • 14 sets of meals (we sold three sets)
  • 10 meals – 1 we had done before (lettuce wraps), 1 more I re-wrote from a previous month (sloppy joe’s), and 8 new recipes, including six “grill friendly” ones. Wow!
  • Just under $73 per prepper for their set of 10 meals. Another “WOW!” We had some major deal-finders this month especially on meat as it was Memorial Day weekend.

Further adding to the freezer meal-ing fun was that we had a house showing immediately before freezer meals, so the kids and I had to leave the house in perfect (i.e. not ready to assemble 100+ meals) condition and return, setting everything up as people arrived. Thank you SO much Cassidy Lynn for cooperating and going to bed early and quickly for Mama, that night 🙂

We were low on table space last month so I set up a makeshift pantry with all our spices and such. It worked out great!

We were masters of efficiency this month, since we began assembling whatever we could before all our preppers even arrived. Props to my amazing team for seeing this opportunity and going after it!

Even with an emergency trip to Aldi for honey (thanks Jenn!) we were still completely done in just about two hours. WOW. It was impressive.

Looking for our recipes? Join our Facebook group where I post recipes each month and offer tips on prepping these meals, too!

     

Paleo enchilada chicken casserole 

One of my freezer meals from this past month was a paleo enchilada chicken stew. I heard it was a *little* on the spicy side and I wanted a fun Cinco de Mayo meal so I took what I had put together and reworked it in a fun way!

First I started by making a simple cauliflower rice. My method? I like to put it through the food processor with the “grate” attachment and voila, ready to cook or prepare. Many of the ingredients were frozen in my meal, so I thawed it overnight and poured it in a baking dish to cook. I added some black beans, too.

Then I baked it for about a half hour, removed the chicken , shredded it, returned it to the casserole and gave it a good stir. Then I topped it with a whole bunch of cheese and returned it to the oven to bake until bubbly. Yummo!

Ingredients

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 c chopped onion
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 4oz can chopped jalapenos (I would reduce this to 1/2 can next time!)
2 T coconut oil
1 14oz can diced tomatoes w/ green chiles
1 7oz can tomato sauce
1 ½ t minced garlic
1 T cumin
1 T chili powder
2 t oregano
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 head of cauliflower, chopped into florets and “riced” in food processor

Directions

Spray 9×13 pain with non-stick cooking spray (I like to use a coconut oil one).
Mix all ingredients except for cheese and cauliflower in a bowl.
Layer cauliflower rice (or regular brown rice, if using) on bottom of dish.
Pour rest of ingredients over rice.
Bake 30 min.
Remove chicken breasts, shred and return to dish. Top with cheese.
Return to oven for 10-15 minutes until melted and bubbly!

Freezer Meal Instructions

Put everything except cheese and cauliflower in a bag.
When ready to prepare, thaw overnight.
Assemble just as described above!

Freezer Meal 101

I11037378_10104774460350000_5517464290593103768_of you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you know I love my freezer meal group. We work together to assemble a set of 10 meals every month for each of our families. It’s a pretty stellar system.

Today I had an exchange with a friend who shared she’s working on how to handle eating out frequently when they’re in a hurry. I thought to myself, well being a part of a huge freezer group may not work for EVERYONE, but having some “go-tos” in the freezer to throw in the crockpot when you *know* you’ll have a busy day can be a great solution.

Enter this post.

This is my Freezer Meal 101 post. I challenge you to make these four simple meals next time you go to the store and stash them in your freezer. Over the next month, as busy days emerge and you know you’ll be crunched for time, throw one of these in the crockpot on low (for 8ish hours) and voila… no cooking required and NO dining out in a hurry!

If you’re a family of four (like us!) and opt to eat these vs dining out over the course of a month, you can save upwards of $75 through this little experiment. PLUS you’ll be eating home cooked goodness you prepared in your own kitchen with real and nutritious ingredients. BOOM! (Bonus… all of this can be bought at your local Aldi! I LOVE Aldi!)

Our Meals
Black Bean Chicken – Turkey Sloppy Joes – Taco Chili – Honey Sesame Chicken

Our Shopping List
2 lbs ground turkey
1 lb ground beef (or another pound of ground turkey)
4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts (approximately 2 pounds)
4-6 boneless skinless chicken thighs (approximately 2 pounds)
1 can black beans
1 can pinto beans
1 can chili beans in sauce
1 bag frozen corn
2 cans diced tomatoes
2 cans diced tomatoes w/ green chiles
3 8oz cans tomato sauce
1 block cream cheese
2 packets taco seasoning (or 6T of your own homemade!)
1 bag of onions
1 bunch of celery
2 green bell peppers

Items you’ll want to pickup if they’re not in your pantry
Bottle of ketchup
Brown sugar
Bottle of honey
Bottle of reduced sodium soy sauce
Bottle of olive oil
Minced garlic
Red pepper flakes
Gallon sized freezer meal bags

Prep Instructions
Rinse can of black beans and set aside.
Rinse can of pinto beans and set aside.
Chop up two onions.
Dice six stalks of celery.
Dice bell peppers into small pieces.
Label four freezer meal bags with each of our meal’s names.

Assembly Instructions
Black Bean Chicken
Put chicken breasts in a bag. Add can of black beans, 1 cup of frozen corn, 1 can of diced tomatoes with green chiles, 1 block of cream cheese and 1 packet of taco seasoning (or 3T homemade). Seal bag.

Turkey Sloppy Joes
Put 2 lbs of ground turkey in a bag. Add 1 diced onion, celery, green peppers, tomato sauce, 1 c of ketchup and 2T brown sugar. Seal bag.

Taco Chili
Put 1 lb of ground beef (or turkey) in a bag. Add pinto beans, chili beans in sauce, 1 cup of frozen corn, 2 cans of diced tomatoes, 1 can of diced tomatoes with green chiles and 1 packet of taco seasoning (or 3T homemade). Seal bag.

Honey Sesame Chicken
Put chicken thighs in a bag. Add 1/2 c of honey, 1/2 c of reduced sodium soy sauce, 1 diced onion, 1/4 c of ketchup, 2 T olive oil, 1 t minced garlic, and 1/4 t red pepper flakes. Seal bag.

That’s it! You’re all set! I prefer NOT to lay my bags flat, but rather have them standing up as they freeze, so they’re more “crock pot” shaped. You put them straight from the freezer into the crockpot and cook on low 8-10 hours. If you’re home, give them a stir halfway through – otherwise, don’t worry about it and just stir it up when you get home. These are four of my family’s favorites and I hope they are for you, too!