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Pita Chips

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I hope you have a good hummus recipe you enjoy.   I have tried several, but still go back to my old store bought favorite…Sabra plain/original hummus.  Anyway, you are going to want some hummus to go with these, though they taste great without it, too.

PITA CHIPS

–Take a package of pita bread.  I buy Tofuyan Whole Wheat Pita Bread.  Cut each “loaf” of pita bread into wedges.  I use a pizza cutter for this.  Then separate the sides of each wedge into 2 triangles.  Lay these out on a cookie sheet.  I use my Pampered Chef bar pans, so your cooking time/temp might need to be adjusted for metal pans.

–Then I take some olive oil and sprinkle or brush it onto each pita chip.  Then I sprinkle some coarse salt like kosher or sea salt on each pita chip.

–Then pop the cookie sheets/bar pans into the preheated oven.  Cook at 400 for around 10 minutes give or take a few.  I like the pita chips to get golden in color.  If they get brown, they are too done for me.

 

I’ll be honest, I could eat the whole pan of these with or without hummus.  They are just what I need to satisfy that craving for salty and crunchy snacks.  Plus, they have to be better for you than potato chips, right?

I have frozen them with success, but honestly, we eat them up within a day or two of making them.  And to package them so that they won’t break takes up a lot of room in the freezer.

ENJOY!

August 26, 2016 Menu Plan

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I’m so excited to post what I hope will be the first of many weekly dinner menu plans!  This is something my Facebook followers requested and I so appreciate their input!

I made this a week’s worth of meals.  To keep things simple around my house, I typically loosely follow these guidelines:

1 Tex/Mex dish

1 pasta dish

1 meatless dish

1 night for leftovers

I also try to use my slow cooker at least one meal per week and if it is good weather, I also try to ask my husband to grill at least once per week.

To keep it easy, I repeat meals every 4-6 weeks.

**I do not use original recipes very often.  I frequently borrow recipes and am happy to link to the original or give credit where due.**

***I only planned 6 nights as we usually have enough food leftover for another day of leftovers or we are at an event or go out to eat.  I suspect you are the same way.***

I am trying to design the meals so you could prep everything on Sunday for your entire week.  A printable version of the plan is at the bottom of this post.

 

Meal #1Taco Pie –I serve this with packaged yellow rice (Aldi and Vigo both make a packaged yellow rice with no MSG) and a side salad.  (I have tried it several times with homemade dough, but haven’t found one that works as great as Pillsbury Crescent Rolls.)  This recipe makes enough meat mixture for 2 pies.  Right now, 1 is enough for my family, so I stick the extra meat mixture in the freezer for another meal.  And voila!  You have 1 meal in your freezer with no extra effort.

Meal #2–GRILL-Hamburgers–I serve with frozen Oreida french fries or these homemade potatoes.  We also like to grill corn on the cob for a side.  You could easily make double the amount of hamburgers and freeze the extra.

Meal #3–SLOW COOKER–Greek inspired chicken (don’t forget the olives and feta cheese)–I serve this over rotini noodles or rice with a side salad.  You could easily make double the amount and freeze the extra.

Meal #4Pizza Pasta–I make this garlic bread as a side and add a salad.  This makes an awesome meal to deliver when someone has had a baby or a surgery and you need to take a meal.  Again, it takes very little effort to make 2 pans of this pasta dish, eat one and freeze one.

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Meal #5Breakfast for dinner-scrambled eggs, biscuits, fruit, bacon  (I discovered some bacon at Aldi that contains no nitrates.  However, I can’t find the picture now!  It had great flavor.)

Meal #6Leftovers–My kids actually LOVE leftover nights.  I have several picky eaters.  Getting to choose their dinner is a nice change for them.  I just pull out all the containers of leftovers and place them on the counter.  Everyone fills and heats up their own plate.

–To prep main dishes on Sunday:

  1.  Use at least a 5 lb. package of ground beef.  Brown 1 pound for the taco pie and assemble the meat mixture (see recipe).  Depending on your family size, make the remaining 4 pounds into hamburger patties.  If you don’t want that many hamburger patties, then use 2 pounds for hamburger patties and then brown the other 2 pounds and freeze in 1 pound packages.
  2. If only making 1 taco pie for the week, place half your meat mixture (see recipe) in a container with lid and refrigerate for use later in the week and place half meat mixture in a labeled quart size freezer bag and stick in the freezer.  If making 2 taco pies, then just place all the meat mixture in a container with lid and refrigerate until cooking day.
  3. Make desired amount of hamburger patties (see recipe) and place in a dish with lid for refrigeration.  I like to put them in a Pyrex 9 x 13 with a lid. If you have more than one layer of hamburger patties, place wax paper or foil between layers.  If you make extra hamburger patties for the freezer, I like to wrap each one individually in aluminum foil and then place all the foil packages in a labeled gallon Ziploc freezer bag.  This way, I can just pull out what I need later and not have to thaw all of them at once.
  4. Make marinade for Greek-inspired chicken.  Place chicken and marinade in a labeled Ziploc freezer bag.  That’s it for this one, see how easy it would be to do 2 of these at once?  On cooking day, open the freezer bag and dump contents into slow cooker…easy peasy!
  5. Assemble pizza pasta according to the recipe.  Except do not cook.  To make it easy, again, I would assemble in a 9 x 13 Pyrex with a lid.  Stick it into the fridge.  Then on cooking day, I would take lid off and bake according to the recipe.  Go ahead and do yourself a favor, make two of these and freeze one for another day or for a gift to someone who needs it.
  6. At this point, you could be done for the week as all the main dishes are prepped and in the fridge.  If you want to do a few extra steps to make the week easier, go ahead and mix up the garlic butter for your garlic bread and mix together the dry ingredients for the biscuits.  Or better yet, make a batch of freezer biscuits so you only have to pull out what you need on cooking day.

Can you imagine how easy dinner would be on a week where you prepped all of this on Sunday?  Or how simple it would be to double one of these recipes this week to have something to pop in your freezer for later?  It really is that simple!  My goal in showing you some meal plans is to help you see and experience how easy and fearless it is to make filling your freezer a way of life.

Happy Weekend to You!

 

August 26, 2016 Meal Plan – Google Docs

 

**This post contains affiliate links.  Thanks for supporting Fearless Freezer Cooking!**

 

Chad’s Hamburgers

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My husband has somehow become the hamburger person in our family.  Even my grandparents prefer him to make the burgers when we are there.  His burgers always end up delicious!  I asked him for a recipe, but there are no exact measurements.  :)  However, here are the ingredients Chad uses.

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Hamburgers

ground beef

canola oil (if the meat is lean…like 90/10)

Worcestershire sauce

salt

pepper

crushed red pepper

garlic powder

Combine all ingredients and form into patties.  When we have a big package of fresh ground beef, we make lots of hamburger patties so that we can freeze some for later (of course!).  We wrap each patty in aluminum foil and then place all the foil patties in a gallon Ziploc freezer bag.  This allows you to be able to just pull out one or four without them being frozen together.  We grill our hamburgers, but you could also cook them in a pan on the stovetop.

**This post contains affiliate links.  Thanks for supporting Fearless Freezer Cooking!**

Honey Garlic Chicken

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We’ve been enjoying this new recipe recently.   Usually, I am the only person in my family who eats carrots.  With this recipe, the carrots soak in the marinade and it makes them so flavorful!  My husband and oldest son ENJOY carrots in this recipe!  :)  And really, what could be easier….freezer to crockpot.  <3

 

http://www.mommysfabulousfinds.com/2013/06/crock-pot-honey-garlic-chicken.html

Marianne’s Taco Pie

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My friend Marianne introduced me to this simple recipe a few years ago.  I love the flavors, simplicity, and the fact that it makes extra!  :)  It uses refrigerated crescent roll dough, but if you’ve sworn it off any homemade pizza dough would work.

Hope you enjoy!

 

Taco Pie

(from Marianne)

Ingredients:

1 lb. browned, drained ground beef

1 can drained black beans

1 can drained corn

1 pkg. of taco seasoning (or the equivalent of homemade)

1 can refrigerated crescent rolls (or homemade dough)

sour cream

shredded cheddar or mexican cheese

Doritos (nacho flavor) or Fritos

Instructions:

-Press dough into a pie pan to form a crust.

-Combine the black beans, corn, ground beef, and taco seasoning in a bowl.  Put half of mixture into a freezer bag to freeze for next time.

-Dump the other half of the mixture into the crust you made.  Top with sour cream, cheese, and chips.

-Bake at 350 F until heated through and the crusted is golden brown.

YUM!

Mom’s PB Squares

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Where my mother found this recipe, I don’t know.  I just know she has been making it as long as I can remember and I never get tired of these.  I feel the need to make them every Christmas.  :)  They make great gifts, they freeze well, the kids can help make them….there is NOTHING bad to say about them except that they are ADDDICTING.  :)  Teachers are getting them for Christmas this year.

ENJOY!

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PB Squares

Ingredients:  peanut butter, wheat thins, chocolate bark

Directions:  Spread peanut butter on one wheat thin & top with another wheat thin.  Do this with an entire box or two of wheat thins.  Melt the chocolate bark according to package directions. (I usually work with about half a package at a time so that it doesn’t harden before I’ve used it all.)  Dip the wheat thin/peanut butter sandwiches in the chocolate and turn to coat.  Place on wax paper to harden.

Try not to eat them all.  :)

Pasta Fagioli Soup

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So, I tried two different knock offs of Olive Garden soups this week….Chicken Gnocchi and Pasta Fagioli.  I was so disappointed when the Chicken Gnocchi did NOT taste like Olive Garden’s and it really didn’t taste good at all.  So bummed.   BUT, the Pasta Fagioli turned out delicious and made an enormous amount.  The recipe completely filled my  crock pot to the top.  That’s way too much soup for our family, so before adding the pasta at the end, I scooped out half of the soup into a freezer bag.   I will freeze that half and add the pasta to it when reheating.  The half that remained in the crock pot got the pasta added the last hour or so.  I hope you enjoy…it was SUPER easy.

PASTA FAGIOLI

(I would give credit, but my mom sent me this recipe & I don’t know where she got it from!)

2 lbs. ground beef

1 onion, chopped

3 carrots, chopped

4 stalks celery, chopped

2 (28 oz.) cans diced tomatoes, undrained

1 (16 oz.) can red kidney beans, drained

1 (16 oz.) can white kidney beans, drained

3 (10 oz.) cans beef stock—I used a 32 oz. carton of beef broth

3 tsp. oregano

2 tsp. pepper

5 tsp. parsley

1 (20 oz.) jar spaghetti sauce

8 oz. pasta

-Brown beef in a skillet.  Drain fat and place in crock pot.

-Add all other ingredients, EXCEPT pasta.

-Cook on low 7-8 hours or high 4-5 hours.

**At this point, if you want to freeze half, separate it out.

-During last 30 min on high or 1 hour on low, add pasta.

**We served with Parmesan cheese on top and homemade rolls as a side.

I also think you could assemble all ingredients (except pasta) with the beef already browned and place in a freezer bag.  Freeze.  Then, when you want to make it, thaw overnight and dump in the crock pot the following morning.  Still wait to add the pasta till the last hour or so.

 

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