Friday, June 24, 2011

Chicken...it's what's for Dinner.

It's been a long time since my last post on freezer meals/OAMC.  My freezer had been looking pretty sparse, but a sale on boneless skinless chicken tenders at our local grocery store and a post on freezer cooking by my bloggy friend Natalie gave me the incentive (aka:  kick in the behind) I needed to do another round of freezer cooking!

This time I focused solely on on chicken meals, since that's what was on sale ($1.59/lb).  I packed the kiddos in the car one morning and headed out to the store, and came home with over 20 pounds of chicken.  I might have told the wide-eyed cashier that we "were just hungry for chicken".  I paid $32.45, made 18 meals (9 different kinds to be sure we had a lot of variety), and froze 1.5 lbs of chicken plain, because after doing all the other meals, I was pooped.  Oh, and no....this does not mean my family will be eating only chicken for the next 19 days.  I will definitely space these out over the course of a two or three months!


19 meals for a total of $32.45 (chicken price only)....averages $1.71/meal for a family of 4!  Not too shabby!  Ok, so the actual meal costs a little more....these are only the main dish, so I will add veggies, fruit, rice, etc to balance it out a little.  And yes, there are ingredients in those bags along with the chicken....but they are mostly marinades or other inexpensive things like beans in the chicken chili....so the overall cost for the amount of food in each bag is still definitely less than $2 each.  Even if it wasn't a money saver already, it ends up being a huge time saver and soooo convenient!

Again, the book I typically use is Once-A-Month Cooking and it's one I definitely recommend, especially if you are new to freezer meals.  If you already have the book and are curious, here's the names of the recipes I made this round....  Mandarin Orange Chicken, Herbed Chicken, Chicken Chili, Chile Verde, Karen's BBQ Chicken, Sweet Soy Chicken, Cranberry Chicken, Asian Chicken, and Southwestern Chicken Soup.  My favorites are the ones like Sweet Soy Chicken, which is a "dump recipe," meaning you just dump all the ingredients in the bag.  The chicken marinates as you freeze and then thaw it out, and when it's ready to cook, it's already soaked up lots of deliciousness!!

Here's the super simple "dump recipe" for Sweet Soy Chicken....(I made a few minor adjustments)...
Warm marinade ingredients (1 c honey, 3/4 c low sodium soy sauce, 2 tbsp crushed garlic, 1 tsp ground ginger) until honey is melted.  Pour over 2 1/2 pounds of boneless skinless chicken pieces, label and freeze.  When thawed, pour into baking dish, cover with foil, and bake for 30 minutes at 350.  Uncover, turn chicken, and bake an additional 30 minutes.  I would serve this with rice, some veggies, and applesauce....makes a great meal.

Easy, right??  That amount of chicken is way too much for our family, so I split this and it makes two meals (plus leftovers for the next day's lunch!)  The amount of cooking time seems a little excessive to me, especially if you are using chicken tenders like I do, so you may need to adjust.

Anyway, I heart freezer meals.  I love the feeling of accomplishment and knowing I don't have to take time cooking each afternoon to provide a meal for my family that evening.  This is also a great option if you know of a family in need of a meal....maybe they have been sick, or busy, or you just want to bless them!  Every mom loves a night off from cooking now and then!

Here's a glimpse into my (now packed) freezer...


Ahhh....glorious!  Do you have a go-to freezer recipe you'd like to share?  Let me know in the comments!

Looking for more freezer-friendly recipes?  Check out my other OAMC/freezer cooking posts here!



Linking up to a few of my favorites!!

19 comments:

Southern Princess said...

Love this idea! I may have to check out that book, with baseball, school, work, volunteering, we are just running out of time to have a good home cooked meal. This would solve that! xoxo

Avry said...

What a great idea! I too should check that book out as I need ideas. I cook at home quite a bit but some nights after working all day with 4 kids I am dying for simple easy meals! Thanks for sharing!

Andie said...

I just finished reading "Can I Freeze it?" by susie theodorou. There are some awesome recipes in there! I made the peach and cream pie and it was very good! I will check out once a month cooking from my library!
Andie

Heather Bea said...

Next time ground beef or turkey is on sale, try these freezable meatballs - I make piles of them & they're de-lish!

http://fakeitfrugal.blogspot.com/2011/04/just-like-italy-but-without-price-tag.html

Jeanna said...

You are so awesome! I've been looking into starting freezer meals. This is great...

Jeanna @ dramaqueenseams.blogspot.com

Amanda Kuzak said...

Oh my goodness, I love your organized freezer! Doesn't a freezer full of prepared meals make you so happy? Thanks for stopping by to say hello today!

Natalie said...

oh my goodness, I am drooling over your freezer!! What's in the jars on the door? I would love an upright freezer like that! Thanks for the shout-out and good job!!

April@ Natural Nester said...

I'm just getting into freezer cooking and have a couple recipes there. I'm going to see if my local library has this book...looks great!

BTW, I'm visiting from Ladybird Ln! :)

Hayley said...

Very cool. I've done this a couple of times before but I did it in a group setting with my MOMS Club. We set up in a church kitchen so we had all the big nice equipment. It was fun, but A LOT of work.

Heather at Dragonfly Designs said...

Such a good idea! I definately need to try this! TFS!

Crystal said...

Excellent job!

I do not have enough room in my freezer to store that many meals at one time, but I do love freezer cooking.

Sharing a link to this with my Facebook readers.

Ruth said...

This is great. I live marinating the chicken while it freezes and thaws.

Ruth

Lisa @ Flour Me With Love said...

I said before I am new to freezer cooking, but you make it look so simple that I have to start doing it. I usually do menu's for two weeks and that is a huge help, however this would help even more! Thanks for being such a great inspiration:)

mander said...

Very impressive set up in the freezer. Have a few questions...Are those canning jars I see in the door and what do you have frozen in them? Do you freeze the baggies flat or roll and store? And those pretzels look good too...what brand are they? Sorry to hit you with all that :) Thanks so much.

angie @ the cellar door stories said...

thanks for the comments, everyone!

@mander...i can't get to your blog or an email through your profile, so i hope you see the answers to your questions here...
1) they are canning jars but i use them for strawberry freezer jam.
2) i kind of fold the baggies and stack them so they freeze flat.
3) i think they are Hanover?
:)

Kristen said...

@ Andie - GENIUS idea about checking them out from your library! I have always wanted to read some freezer cooking books, but couldn't rationalize the money (in case I hated it, lol). The library! Why didn't I think of that!??! =)

Chris and Hannah said...

Thanks so much for sharing. Maybe this is the inspiration I needed to do another batch of meals. Let me think about a rec. to share. Thanks for yours.

Anonymous said...

I use the freezer jars (Walmart) but they have to be freezer jars to freeze soup pasta sauce leftover casserols I put painters tape across the top and write what it is and date have left them of 3 months ..

Cindy said...

New to freezer cooking, love your site! Silly question, do you just freeeze in one freezer bag or do you double bag?! Would LOVE to know! :)
Cindy

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