With the holidays coming upon us, guests arriving from near and far I do not want to be spending my time in the kitchen preparing food. I want to enjoy my time with the kids and my families as they are here so Eva and I took to the kitchen the last few days to prep some freezer meals for an easier holiday season. We have made:
Pumpkin Butter Muffins
Ham and Cheese Pretzel Rolls
Pork, Potato and Carrot Soup
Chicken Tortilla Soup
Chicken Pot Pie
I did not do any extra shopping to do these meals, I took inventory of what was in our freezer and pantry and found recipes that would utilize what I had on hand.
The Pumpkin Butter Muffins we made were by Eat at Home. The only thing we did differently upon Eva’s request was to add dark chocolate chips to the batter. They were delicious, we keep 12 out and froze 12 to pull out for an easy breakfast, snack or lunch
Eva enjoyed sprinkling the raw sugar onto the tops of the muffins before baking. I love the seriousness and concentration she puts into everything she does. Even her preschool teachers comment on how methodical she is about her work in the classroom.
Last week we froze from Ham and Cheese Pretzel Rolls without even thinking I was going to write a quick blog for more freezer meals. So this picture is of them already frozen. Quick and easy recipe: Costco’s pretzel rolls with 1/2 slice of havarti cheese torn into 2 pieces, one for the top of the roll the other for the top, 2 slices Black Forest Ham – place these inside the roll and place into a backing dish with sides. In a small bowl add 1/4 c softened butter, 1/2 tsp of sesame seeds, 1/2 tsp of poppy seeds, 1/4 tsp minced garlic, 1/4 tsp salt. Smear onto the tops of the pretzel rolls and either bake right away or freeze. Bake at 350 thawed for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melty and the tops are crispy. We pair these with a fresh vegetable or even Costco’s prepared Mac n Cheese as my kids love it and its far better than what I can make. The inspiration for these rolls came from this funeral sandwich recipe. I just simplified it to something I knew my family would eat.
Pork, Potato and Carrot Soup
This recipe was nothing more than my thawing out leftovers from my freezer and making soup. I had 2 quarts of homemade chicken stock in my freezer which I thawed, 4 slices of a pork roast we made last month, and the potatoes and carrots that were cooked along side the roast. I literally threw it all in a pot and instant soup. Now the entire family can eat a meal off a small amount of leftovers. Sorry not really a recipe but just know if you wan t to stretch a meal into something that will feed more make a soup!
We love anything Mexican, southwest – from soups to enchiladas to quesadillas to tacos. We eat something from this category at least 2-3 times a week. For this soup I pulled hamburger, sweet corn and diced onions from my freezer. From the pantry I grabbed quarts of stewed tomatoes, sweet potatoes, black beans, refried beans and the spices. Yes you read that correctly I said refried beans, I am really trying my best to clean out our pantry and I had 3 cans of refried beans so I figured hey its a SW chili what these would give it a great flavor and I was no wrong, they totally work with this soup!
1lb hamburger, 1 small onion diced, 2 ribs celery diced – saute these three items together with 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp smoked (or regular) paprika, salt pepper, and 3 garlic cloves. Once the hamburger is cooked and the onions and celery are soft add the can of refried beans. Cook on low stirring frequently to incorporate the beans into the mixture. Add 2 quarts stewed tomatoes, 1 can black beans – drained and rinsed, 1 c frozen corn, and 1 sweet potato diced into tiny chunks so it cooks faster. Simmer on low until the sweet potatoes are tender. If it appears too thick add some water to thin it out. Also if you use canned tomatoes they tend to taste “tinny” add 1/2 tsp of baking soda to your soup and cook for 10 minutes this will help to take that taste out while also balancing out teh acidity in your tomatoes.
Serve with your normal taco soup fixings – sour cream, avocado, cheese, tortilla chips
Because mine went into containers to be froze I did not add any toppings to the soup. But my boys and I did some taste testing and without toppings it is still very tasty.
One may ask how do you occupy three kids while doing all this…here is what they do because they NEED to be in the kitchen with me blankets and all. The ipad is a wonderful distraction from what I am doing.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
From our freezer I grabbed chicken breasts, corn and chicken stock. From the pantry I grabbed spices, white canellini beans, salsa verde, and garlic. Fridge I had a zucchini celery, and onion to add to make the soup complete.
Now my chicken was frozen so I placed it frozen into my corningware with 1/2 c water, salt, pepper and cumin. I baked it covered at 400 for 45 minutes. If I had fresh I would have just sauteed my raw chicken with my onions and celery to make it simpler. So after my chicken was fully cooked I diced it and set it aside. In a soup pot I added some olive oil, 1 small onion diced, 2 celery ribs and sauteed until soft. I added 1 c salsa verde, 2 quarts chicken stock, the chicken, 1 zucchini diced, 2 cans white beans -drained and rinsed, and 1 c frozen corn. I simmered with 1 bay leaf for 20 minutes.
Right before serving add cilantro if you care for it (I added my celery leaves to my soup for flavor, you do not have to but it will look like cilantro but without that flavor that some do not care for)
Serve with queso fresco or cojito cheese, avocado and chips.
Chicken Pot Pie
This was the another meal we added to our freezer. I made this one yesterday while my parents were here. The recipe I followed here was The Pioneer Woman’s – LOVE her, just love her! I did not make my crusts from scratch because I had some left over from Thanksgiving that I purchased but never used.
Now this is from the frozen state as I froze it yesterday again not knowing I would get a crazy wind to cook all day for freezer meals. I had some left over dough so I made some leaves to make the torn store bought crust look nicer than it was. As I unrolled it it was tearing and sticking to each other (but that is what I get for buying dough in November and not using it until the day before its expiration date. When you do your’s you do not need holes that large to let the steam escape. Also, I did not add tumeric to my pot pie as I did not have it and the mixture still taste well.
Oh and in between all the cooking the kids needed to eat – they ate and I kept cooking. Some rules do not apply when mom is busy cooking like sitting on the table to eat lunch. They were quiet, eating and out of my hair so I could finish!
Stacking plates on the table, sure just let mommy finish this soup!