Ease Your Evenings with A Freezer Meal Exchange
It will not surprise you that I am a busy woman.
However, my loyal family expects a home cooked meal from me every single night of the week.
In some ways I am relieved that family dinner is an expectation and not a chore, but it sure does put pressure on a mom to get a hit meal on the table every night!
So, when my friend Diane, with an even busier schedule and an equally large family invited me to participate in her freezer meal exchange, I was intrigued.
I’ve been doing freezer cooking since before it was trendy. I have an original, gnarled copy of Once-A-Month Cooking. I used to sit by the playground with a calendar with other seminary wives in married student housing plotting out our month of meals on a VERY tight budget.
I love having meals, in my freezer, ready to go.
But I got tired of the giant shopping trip and all day cooking ordeal. Quite frankly, my “one butt” kitchen is just not set up for that kind of operation.
So, when Diane told me that all I had to do was create 10 of the same large meals (costing on average $7.50 each) , freeze them, and bring them to a host’s house to trade, I was in.
Our first month we ran into some snags. We had some moms forget to show up because of their busy schedule, so some of us had more of our own meals on hand than we planned. The time we chose to exchange food was not ideal either so some of us were rushed and flustered. However, we got to go home with a bunch of food that we did not have to cook!
This last exchange went super smoothly. We are trying new foods as a family, releasing my stress, and I’m meeting some new moms! (out of our group on 10 moms, I only knew one other one before the freezer exchange!)
So this month in my freezer I have:
- Chicken Alfredo (had it tonight. . .so yummy!)
- Taco Soup
- Creamy Potato Soup
- Bacon Ranch Chicken (I brought that!)
- Chicken and Rice
- Crock Pot Vegetable Beef Soup
- Chicken Supreme
- Spaghetti Pizza Bake
- Beef Stuffed Hard rolls
My mom was visiting last week and I made my friend Alisha’s Black Bean Salsa Chicken. She loved it, and so did the rest of us. So, if you are just beginning with freezer cooking, this is a great recipe to start with!
- 2 cans corn, drained
- 1 can black beans, drained
- 2 cups salsa
- 4 boneless chicken breasts
- 8 oz cream cheese* (save for end of recipe)
- To freeze: Place first four ingredients in a 1 gallon ziplock bag, remove air, deal and freeze.
- To prepare: Defrost and cook in a slow cooker on low for 6-8 hours.
- 30 minutes before serving stir in cubed cream cheese until melted.
- Serve over rice.
This is a great introduction to freezer cooking. Adjust the "heat" by varying how spicy the salsa is!
Have you participated in a freezer meal exchange? What is your favorite freezer recipe?
ps: Did you know that you can save and store my recipes in your own recipe box? You can even use them to plan your menus! ZipList has a great menu planning and shopping list tool! Plus, you can plug in recipes from other great bloggers an cooks! Check out the details at http://ziplist.com !