Saturday, February 20, 2010

Just Call Me Rachael Ray: Part 1

My feet hurt. My legs are sore. I feel like I have run miles today, but the only place I ran today was the grocery store—twice. But it was totally worth it! I spent the day making meals to freeze. I do this every now and then, usually when it hits me how much my family has been eating out. And just how much spaghetti and tacos we’ve eaten lately. I find when I have meals in the freezer, dinner on the weeknights doesn’t seem so overwhelming, and I feel so much better feeding my family home-cooked meals.

Today was no different than any other time—I set my sights high and planned too much for one day. I did, however, make a lot of meals. I’ll have to finish up tomorrow. Here was my plan of what I wanted to make. Yes, the crossed off ones are the finished ones that are sitting in my freezer right now. :)

Lasagna (2)
Sour Cream Enchiladas (2)
Dijon Chicken
Apricot Pork Chops
Mini Meatloaf (3)
Maple Mustard Pork Chops
Tortellini Soup (2)

BBQ Meatballs
Apricot Chicken
Cinnamon-Braised Pork Tenderloin (2)
Pecan Crusted Orange Curry Chicken
Pork Chops and Apples
Curried Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie (2)

So, tomorrow I'll finish up the lasagnas, enchiladas, and the BBQ meatballs. The bulk of this list is the staples of what I make when I freeze meals. I did try a few new ones though. (The last four are new to me.)

If you have never done this cook ahead and freeze thing before, here are a few tips.

1. If you are making a “casserole” type dish that is going to require some cooking, make a double batch. It’s really not that much more work, and you’ll be happy you did.

2. Have plenty of freezer bags, 9 x13 pans, and a Sharpie on hand.

3. I find picking one day to make the meals is easiest for me. That way I am only making a complete mess of my kitchen once. (I hate doing dishes.)

I’ll leave you with one of my recipes and then I’ll continue to post more in the coming days. If I tried to put all of the recipes in this one post it would be super long. :) Apricot Pork Chops are one of my favs. Here’s how simple they are:

Apricot Pork Chops:

4-6 thick cut pork chops (can also use chicken)
1 cup Catalina or Russian Salad Dressing
1 cup Apricot Preserves
1 pkg dry onion soup mix

Place pork chops in a gallon freezer bag. In a bowl combine other three ingredients. Pour into bag over the pork chops. Get the air out of the bag and seal. Work the dressing mixture through the pork chops. Label the bag and place in freezer.

Thawing and cooking directions: Take the bag out of the freezer the night before you plan to cook them and place in the refrigerator. When ready to cook, pour the entire contents of the bag into a baking dish and arrange pork chops in a single layer. Cook at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

And on that note, I am off to bed. My eyelids are so incredibly heavy. Please forgive any typos in this post; I’ll edit it tomorrow.


  1. Great post! Now you're gonna have to learn to take & add pictures....people like pictures. :)