5 healthy freezer meal recipes + 4 hours = 21 meals.

my food budget this month is out of control amazing. we have never eaten more at home.  to say i am obsessed with freezer meals would be quite the understatement.  now that i have a few under my belt, it is time to really focus on healthy freezer meals.  i also did a break down of cost per 2 serving meals.

$102.44 spent at trader joe’s.  i had several ingredients on hand so that definitely helped.  i used 5 recipes which made 21 meals, meals being 2 servings per meal.  that comes out to $4.87 per meal for the two of us.  besides the cost savings, the fact that i have ready meals that just need to be thawed and then reheated.  it makes meal planning and eating at home such a no brainer.

to see what i made during my first attempt at freezer meals, click here. to see slow cooker freezer meals, click here. still want more slow cooker meals, click here.

the first recipe is for black bean taco soup.

ingredients:
1 lb lean ground beef (or ground turkey works too!)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 package mild taco seasoning mix or make your own
1 (16 oz) bag frozen corn
1 (16 oz) can black beans drained and rinsed
2 (14 oz) cans stewed tomatoes
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (4 oz) can diced green chilis

directions:

  • brown meat and onion in a stock pot, drain.
  • stir the remaining ingredients into the pot, mix together.
  • pour soup into freezer safe containers.  (i bought these bpa free containers from amazon.)
  • freeze.
i found on pinterest lots of “crock pot” recipes that are pre made.  crock pot meals are already a favorite of mine and this just takes the ease to a whole new level.  basically, you assemble all the goods in a bag, freeze until ready to throw into the crock pot to cook.  no worries if you have all the ingredients, it is already together.

ingredients for cilantro lime chicken with corn and black beans: this recipe makes two bags, which for us is two meals per bag.

6-8 chicken breasts
4 Tbs olive oil
2+ limes, juiced
2 (16oz) bags of frozen corn
4 minced garlic cloves
1 finely chopped onion
2 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
2 tsp cumin or chipotle powder
salt and pepper to taste

directions:

  • take ingredients and split everything into two freezer safe containers. i used ziploc bags.
  • mix bag by shaking, seal, label and put in the freezer.
  • cooking instructions: cook in crockpot on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.

a friend of mine posted this chili link the other day on her blog.  i immediately wanted to try it.  the weather is getting cooler and it is perfect chili weather.  plus it has super healthy ingredients, perfect for my quest for healthy freezer meals.  look at all those colors.  freezer meals do not have to be bland and void of nutrients!

here is the original bean chili with walnuts and chocolate recipe. i adapted it slightly for the freezer.

ingredients:

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 fresh chili, minced (more if you like it spicy)
1 tsp ground paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
2 bell pepper, red & yellow, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 parsnip, peeled and finely chopped – i did not include a parsnip. i am VERY allergic.
2 large stalks of celery with top greens, finely chopped
150 g raw walnuts, very finely chopped
800 g cooked mixed beans (adzuki, kidney, black eye, borlotti)
2 x 400 g cans whole plum tomatoes
1 cup (240 ml) water
2 tsp salt
1/2 cup (120 ml) balsamic vinegar
70 g 80% dark chocolate, broken in pieces

directions:

  • start by preparing all vegetables.
  • heat oil in a large thick-bottomed saucepan or dutch oven. add onion, garlic, cumin, chili, paprika and oregano, and let fry for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally, until the spices smells fragrant.
  • add bell pepper, carrot, and celery, let cook for another couple of minutes.
  • add walnuts, beans, tomatoes, water and salt
  • add balsamic vinegar and chocolate, stir around carefully.
  • taste and season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
  • place into freezer safe containers.

 

to get away from pasta heavy freezer meals, i found a recipe for stuffed cabbage.  i calculated this recipe to be approximately 200 calories per serving without cheese.

ingredients:

2 tsp olive oil, divided
1 lb. 95% lean ground beef – i used ground turkey.
1 large onion, chopped fine
1 tbsp finely minced garlic
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp paprika
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 1/2 heads green cabbage, coarsely chopped
1 can (14.5 oz.) petite dice tomatoes with juice
1 can (15 oz.) tomato sauce
1/4 cup water
2 cups cooked brown rice
2 cups low-fat mozzarella cheese

directions:

  • heat a large frying pan on medium heat; add ground meat and cook until it’s browned and cooked through, breaking it apart as it cooks.
  • in the same pan, add 1 tsp olive oil, chopped onion and cook over medium heat until the onion is translucent and starting to brown, about 5 minutes.
  • add the minced garlic, dried thyme, and paprika and cook about 2 minutes more.
  • add the diced tomatoes with juice, tomato sauce. add water to the pan. simmer until it’s hot and slightly thickened, about 15-20 minutes.
  • while it simmers, cut cabbage in half, cut out the core, and remove any wilted outer leaves; chop the cabbage coarsely into 1 inch pieces. also start cooking the brown rice.
  • when the meat and tomato sauce mixture has cooked and thickened a bit, stir in the 2 cups of cooked rice and gently combine.
  • in your freezer safe containers, layer half the cabbage, half the meat mixture, remaining cabbage, and remaining meat mixture. cover tightly with foil or lid.
  • to cook:  bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes, or until the mixture is just starting to bubble on the edges then remove foil and sprinkle on cheese (if using.) bake uncovered an additional 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and starting to slightly brown.

because it is a favorite of the husbands, i made baked ziti. i made it a bit more healthy by adding spinach and less cheese.

ingredients:

olive oil spray
1/2 cup grated parmesan
8 oz part skim ricotta
8 oz part-skim mozzarella, shredded
14 oz uncooked sweet italian chicken sausage, removed from casing
12 oz penne pasta
1 tsp olive oil
2 cloves smashed garlic, roughly chopped
10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess liquid
salt and fresh pepper to taste
4 cups tomato sauce

directions:

  • bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. when the pasta water comes to a boil, cook pasta according to instructions for al dente, but undercook them by 4 minutes less; drain and return to pot.
  • in a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, 6 tablespoons of the Pecorino Romano cheese and half of the mozzarella cheese.
  • meanwhile, in a large deep skillet, brown the sausage breaking up into small bits until cooked through; set aside. add the oil to the skillet and sauté garlic about a minute, careful not to burn. add spinach and season with a little salt and pepper and cook another minute. return the sausage to the skillet and add the marinara sauce; cook on low about 2-3 minutes.
  • put half of the cooked pasta into the prepared baking dish and top with half of the meat sauce. spoon the ricotta mixture on top of the sauce in an even layer. cover with the remaining pasta and the remaining sauce. top with the remaining mozzarella cheese.

needless to say, there are lots of dishes to be cleaned. i am tired. but knowing that i won’t have to cook for the next two weeks is pretty darn satisfying.  i have ordered some glass freezer safe dishes to move away from the aluminum.  this is a healthy obsession that both the husband and i are excited about exploring more.

if you have any freezer meal recipes, please share!

2 comments
brandyw
brandyw

Do you cook the chicken before putting it into bags for the cilantro lime chicken with corn and black beans?

ShannonMasseyLowry
ShannonMasseyLowry

I don't own a crock pot, but I think I may have to invest in one. I try to make one freezer meal each week to keep stocked up. I just love them!

 

Also, I recognized the chili recipe, but had to click on the link to find out who made it. :) Thanks for the link love.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] glassware to my collection.to see my previous recipes for freezer cooking click the following, here and here.whenever i am prepping for freezer meal cook day, i first assemble all my recipes and [...]