Sunday, March 23, 2014

Clean Eating {Freezer} Meals

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 Hi friends!  It’s been quite some time since I’ve posted about freezer meals, so I thought it was due time.  We have been trying to do the whole “clean eating” thing at my house.  If you aren’t sure what Clean Eating is, google it!  We definitely aren’t perfect with it, but we are trying to get rid of processed things.  When you look at food labels and the majority is names of things you’ve never heard of, it’s no wonder why we have so many health problems.  I cannot credit the recipes to myself.  I have taken recipes from Pinterest and made a meal plan for our family.  You will have to click the link to get the recipe from the original website.   I will say that I have adapted these to be frozen and then prepared but have not tried them all frozen.


I will reference flash freezing quite frequently in this post.  That is simply the act of taking your food items, placing them on cookie cooling rack and putting them in the freezer for about 15 to 30 minutes so that everything freezes individually and won’t stick together when you combine it into a big bag.

All of these recipes are intended for just one freezer bag unlike my former recipes.  You can easily double them though for two bags/casserole dishes.  Several of these would be easy to prepare in the crockpot.  You all know how much  I LOVE the crockpot!


I hope you enjoy my selections.  I have also included a shopping list at the bottom of the post, as well as a freezer cooking day plan of action


Greek Marinated Chicken



Serve with some fresh veggies or a salad. 

Directions for Freezer Preparation (modified from Budget Bytes):

1.        To make the marinade, combine the yogurt, olive oil, minced garlic, oregano, salt, and some freshly cracked pepper in a bowl.  Add 1-2 tbsp of lemon juice plus some lemon zest.  Stir until well combined.  Add parsley.

2.       Add the chicken (I prefer breasts) to the marinade in a large Ziploc bag.

3.       Freeze/Thaw/Cook.  Heat oven to 375*, bake in a 9x13 casserole dish until cooked through.  Boneless meat requires less time than bone-in or try the crockpot!

Crockpot for 8 hours on low if frozen or 4 hours on low if thawed.  Again, I’ve not yet attempted the crockpot, but I definitely will on this one!

Chicken Fingers



What kid doesn’t love chicken fingers!  My 3 1/2 year old gobbled them up!  I like to serve these with sweet potato French fries.  You can make your own or buy them frozen.   Here’s a link to a Pinterest recipe.  These ingredients are not included on my shopping list.  Like I’ve said, we aren’t perfect on the “eating clean” thing.  But we are trying!  This is definitely a recipe to make in bulk.  No more yucky freezer chicken strips full of gunk!

Directions for Freezer Preparation (modified from The Fitness Freak):

1.        Preheat oven to 475*.  Line a baking sheet with foil.  Set a wire rack on the baking sheet and place it in the oven while it preheats.

2.       Place almonds, flour, paprika, garlic powder, dry mustard, salt and pepper in a food processor until the almonds are finely chopped and the paprika is mixed thoughout.  With the motor running, drizzle in oil.  Process until combined.  Transfer to a shallow dish. 

*I had whole almonds and pounded them out on the counter with a meat mallet before putting them in the food processor.

3.        Whisk egg whites in a second shallow dish.  Add chicken tenders and turn to coat.  Transfer each tender to the almond mixture and coat evenly.

4.       Place the tenders on the baking rack (removed from oven and coated with cooking oil/spray).

5.       Bake 20-25 minutes.

6.       Flash Freeze.  Then combine into a large Ziploc bag and remove as many as needed.

7.       Bake at 475* until warmed thoroughly.  You could probably pop them in the microwave for a quick kid snack if needed.

Chicken Broccoli Quinoa Casserole

Sorry, no picture for this one.  Didn't remember to snap the photo!

Perfect stand-alone meal.  No sides necessary.  For those of you who love Chicken Broccoli Casserole, this is awesome.  I have really come to love quinoa, especially when mixed in with other foods.  Just a note—try to buy the pre-rinsed variety.  Otherwise you’re going to need to add a step.  Another option my family loves is the Minute Rice Multi Grain Medley.  It has brown rice, red rice, wild rice, and quinoa.  Lovely flavor.

Directions for Freezer Preparation (modified from Kalyns Kitchen):

1.        Cook chicken.  Either buy a prepared rotisserie chicken or prepare your chicken however is easiest for you.

2.       Cook quinoa according to package instructions.

3.       Boil/steam broccoli.

4.       Whisk together sour cream, mayo, lemon juice, curry powder, salt and pepper to make sauce.

5.       Place chicken, quinoa, and broccoli in a greased 9x9 pan (foil pans freeze best).  Cover with sauce.

6.       Freeze/Thaw/Cook.  Freeze.  Thaw and then bake at 350*for 35-40 minutes.  You can even add a layer of low-fat cheese to the top if you need a little extra umph!

Southwest Meatball Skillet



Perfect meal on its own.  No sides necessary.

Directions for Freezer Preparation (modified from Clean Eating Mag):

1.        In a large bowl, combine turkey, egg whites, bread crumbs, salt and pepper and mix well.  Shape into 16 meatballs, each about the size of a golf ball.  

2.       In a large skillet, heat oil on medium-high.  Add meatballs and cook 3-5 minutes, turning frequently.  Partially cover and book an addition 3-5 minutes, until cooked through. 

3.       Flash Freeze.

4.       Place meatballs in a large Ziploc bag, add corn, beans, tomatoes, broth, lime juice, and cumin.

5.       Freeze/Thaw/Cook.   Heat in a skillet over medium-high heat or try the crockpot!

You could possibly cook in the crockpot frozen to serve, though I’ve not tried it.  I would try 8 hours on low when you put it in still frozen or 4 hours low when thawed.  Please let me know if you try it!

Turkey Mini Meatloaf Muffins



Who doesn’t love muffin shaped meat!?!  Serve with fresh  veggies or salad.

Directions for Freezer Preparation (modified from Body Building):

1.        Preheat oven to 350*

2.       Grease muffin pan.

3.       Mix all ingredients.

4.       Roll into balls and place in muffin pan.

5.       Bake for 40 minutes. 

6.       Flash freeze.

7.       Thaw/Cook as many as needed.  I’d say that 1 ½ to 2 muffins would be a dinner size portion.  Reheat at 350* until heated thoroughly.

Quinoa Bowls



These look absolutely delicious!  I’ve changed my recipe to include chicken as well.  No sides necessary.  Full of protein, grains and veggies!

Directions for Freezer Preparation (modified from Domestic Super Hero):

1.        Fry eggs and chop.

2.       Cook chicken or use rotisserie chicken.

3.       Cook quinoa according to directions.

4.       Heat oil in large skillet.  Add garlic, ginger, and onion.  Cook until tender.

5.       Add mushrooms, broccoli, carrots, zucchini.  Cook until tnder.

6.       Add corn, peas, and quinoa.  Cook a few minutes.

7.       Add soy sauce,  green onions,  eggs, and chicken.

8.       Freeze/Thaw/Cook.  I would freeze either in a casserole dish or in individual Tupperware dishes for lunch.  Thaw and then heat in the oven at 350* until warmed thoroughly.  You could easily microwave for lunch, too.


Plan of action:

1.       I highly recommend buying the Rotisserie chicken for the Quinoa bowls and the Chicken Broccoli Quinoa casserole.  Otherwise, cook and chop your chicken the day before.

2.       Chop all vegetables the day before.

3.       While you’re chopping, go ahead and cook your quinoa.

4.       Get all your ingredients out on the counter in groups by recipe.

5.        Throw together the Greek Marinated Chicken bag.   That one is the easiest to get done and out of the way.

6.       Prep and cook the chicken fingers.

7.       While chicken fingers are in the oven, prep the Chicken Broccoli Quinoa Casserole and get that in the freezer.

8.       Start working on the Southwest Meatball Skillet.  While that is going, flash freeze the chicken fingers.  Adjust the temperature on the oven for the Meatloaf Muffins.   Get the Southwest Meatball Skillet in the freezer.

9.       Start the prep the Meatloaf muffins.  Take chicken fingers out of the freezer and place all in one baggie and back into the freezer.

10.   Bake the Meatloaf muffins.   While those are baking, prep your Quinoa Bowls.  Get those into the freezer.

11.   Flash freeze your Meatloaf Muffins.  Take out, and place all in one baggie and back into the freezer.

12.   Whew,  Relax!  That was a lot of work!   But, now you don’t have to cook for the rest of the week!


Shopping List

Produce:

Tomatoes

Lime

Cilantro

Parsley

Garlic

Lemon

Broccoli

Carrots

Green Onion

Zucchini

Onion

Ginger

Mushrooms


Meats:

1-2 Rotisserie chicken (Quinoa Lunch bowls and Chicken Broccoli Quinoa Casserole)

2lbs ground turkey

Chicken—for chicken fingers

Chicken—for Greek Marinated Chicken


Canned/Frozen:

Frozen Corn

Black Beans

Frozen Peas or fresh


Packaged:

Quinoa (2 meals worth)

Chicken broth

Whole wheat bread crumbs

Almonds

Quick oats


Spices/Condiments:

Garlic Powder

Dry Mustanrd

Paprika

Curry

Onion Powder

Cumin

Chipotle pepper spice

Thyme

EVOO or other cooking oil

Dijon Mustard


Diary:

Eggs

Greek Yogurt—plain

Sour Cream

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