6 freezer meals for fall {october}

i love fall cooking.  stews, soups, chilis.  all comfort food in my book.  lucky for the waistline, stews, soups, and chilis can be pretty darn low calorie.  we still have a couple meals left in the freezer but i could tell the husband and i were a little bored of the rotation so i thought it a perfect time to make up six new meals.  when i first started freezer cooking i was using the aluminum pans.  aluminum has some scary research in terms of cooking with it and the connection to alzheimer’s, so i quickly began searching for other alternatives.  for soups and such i found these plastic containers that are freezer safe on amazon.  i try to use glass as much as possible (double bonus, it can go into the over without more dirty dishes) and am slowly adding portion control 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 ingredients.  then i figure out what i can do ahead of time, this time around i cooked a whole chicken in the crock pot the day before.  two of my recipes used shredded chicken, so i would split the chicken between those two meals, and then overnight i made chicken stock.  i saved having to buy chicken stock at the store and used the fresh stock i had just made in my recipes the next day.  plus, homemade chicken stock tastes so much better.  i just froze the rest.

here is my recipe for slow cooking a whole chicken and making homemade stock.

i did learn this the hard way, when freezing glass jars, make sure you use jars that are wide mouth.  when they taper in at the top (regular mouth) they can break when frozen.  and they will.  chicken stock and broken glass is not a good time.

with the shredded chicken i made the following, chicken pot pie soup and chicken enchiladas.

{ chicken pot pie soup }

ingredients:

1/4 cup flour (to make gluten-free use 2 tbsp cornstarch instead)
2 cups water
4 cups milk
1 large celery stalk, chopped
1/2 medium chopped onion
8 oz sliced baby portabella mushrooms
2 chicken bouillons
fresh ground pepper
pinch of thyme
10 oz frozen classic mixed vegetables (peas, carrots, green beans, corn)
2 potatoes, peeled and cubed small
16 oz cooked chicken breast, diced small
salt

directions:

create a slurry by combining 1/2 cup of the cold water with flour or cornstarch in a medium bowl and whisk until well blended. set aside.

pour remaining water and milk into a large pot and slowly bring to a boil. add celery, onion, mushrooms, chicken bullion, thyme, fresh pepper, frozen vegetables and return to a boil. partially cover and simmer on low until vegetables are soft, about 20 minutes. remove lid, add potatoes and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. add chicken, and slowly whisk in slurry, stirring well as you add. cook another 2-3 minutes, until soup thickens, adjust salt and pepper to taste and serve.

{ chicken enchiladas }

ingredients:

for the sauce:
2 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 tbsp chipotle chilis in adobo sauce
1-1/2 cups tomato sauce
1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
3/4 cup fat free chicken broth
kosher salt and fresh pepper to taste

for the chicken:
1 tsp vegetable oil
8.5 oz (2 breast halves) cooked shredded chicken breast
1 cup diced onion
2 large clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup cilantro
kosher salt
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp chipotle chili powder
1/3 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup tomato sauce
corn tortillas

directions:

in a medium saucepan, spray oil and sauté garlic. add chipotle chiles, chili powder, cumin, chicken broth, tomato sauce, salt and pepper. bring to a boil. reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5-10 minutes. set aside until ready to use.

heat the vegetable oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. sauté onions and garlic on low until soft, about 2 minutes. add chicken, salt, cilantro, cumin, oregano, chili powder, tomato sauce, chicken broth, and cook 4 to 5 minutes. remove from heat. to assemble, i didn’t roll the enchiladas because corn tortillas don’t roll easily.  i just make a enchilada casserole.  i layered enchilada sauce, tortillas, chicken and repeat until at the top.  when i bake these i will sprinkle a little cheese on top.

{ spinach lasagna }

ingredients:

9 lasagna noodles, cooked (gluten free, i like tinkyada)
10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and completely drained
15 oz fat free ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 egg
salt and fresh pepper
32 oz tomato sauce
9 tbsp (about 3 oz) part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded

directions:

combine spinach, ricotta, parmesan, egg, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.

ladle about 1 cup sauce on the bottom of freezer dishes. layer lasagna noodles then cheese mixture then sauce.

{ 3 Bean Chili }
Gina’s Weight Watcher Recipes

ingredients:

1 lb meat, turkey, beef, bison. whatever your fancy.
1 small onion, chopped
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (16 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (4.5 oz) can chopped chilies, drained
1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, undrained
1 (15.5 oz) can black beans, undrained
1 (15.5 oz) can small red beans, undrained
2 tbsp chili powder

directions:

brown meat and onion in a medium skillet over medium high heat until cooked through. add the beans, chilies, chickpeas tomatoes, tomato sauce and chili powder mixing well.

{ chorizo lentil soup }

ingredients:

1 pound chorizo sausage
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 can (15 Oz. Size) cannellini beans, drained
1 can (15 Oz. Size) fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 cup dried lentils
2 cups chicken stock
6 cups fresh chopped spinach
salt and pepper, to taste

directions:

in a big stockpot, brown the chorizo in a little bit of vegetable oil, stirring constantly, until almost done, about 5-7 minutes. add in the cannelini beans, tomatoes, lentils, and chicken stock and stir until combined. bring to a boil and then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 30 minutes until the lentils are soft and tender.

remove from heat and stir in the spinach; cover for about 5 minutes to let it wilt. season with salt and pepper to taste.

one of my tips for freezer cooking day is to use all burners, the crock pot is totally a burner! i started the day off with prepping my corned beef and cabbage stew and tossing it in the crock pot.  by the end of the day, it was done and ready to freeze.

{ corned beef and cabbage soup }

ingredients:

2 tsp olive oil
2 leeks, chopped (whites and light green only)
2 cloves garlic
3 medium carrots, chopped
1 yellow pepper, chopped
1 lb lean corned beef brisket (yields 9 oz cooked)
6 cups of water
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup chopped parsley, plus more for garnish
1 small head cabbage, cored and chopped
1 large potato, peeled and cubed
fresh pepper to taste

directions:

in a pot or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium low heat. add leeks and sauté until soft, about 4-5 minutes; add garlic, carrots and yellow pepper and sauté about 2-3 minutes.

into the crock pot, add corned beef, peppercorns or seasoning packet that comes with the corned beef, bay leaves, parsley, water, and vegetable mixture. covered on low heat for 6-8 hours, until the meat becomes tender.

remove the corned beef, set it on a cutting board and shred with a fork. return it to the pot then add the cabbage and potatoes, taste for salt and pepper and adjust as needed. cook until the potatoes and cabbage are tender, about 45 more minutes.

enjoy!

2 comments
katieallenwatson
katieallenwatson

Quick question.... How does the un-freezing go? Like for the lasagna, does it just go freezer to oven for some amount of time at some degree of temperature?

oursimplehappylife
oursimplehappylife moderator

 @katieallenwatson I like to pull out meals the day before and let thaw in the refrigerator before putting it in the oven.  The only reason I know of why I like this better is it takes less time to bake.  When going straight to the oven frozen, it can take 60 - 90 mins.  I am too impatient for that :)