To start, I mapped out everything I needed for this week. In addition to this week's meals, I also added ingredients to prepare for freezer meals. I took the list, and looked in my pantry to cross items off that I have in stock. Then I tackled Kroger. $107 later, I had everything I needed! NOTE: It might be more expensive for you to start because you don't have the ingredients on hand, but it gets better! I always, always, always have some form of veggie in my fridge or freezer, along with brown rice, black beans, and salsa in my pantry. I also don't buy veggie or chicken broth, ever. I make it myself since there's much less sodium. :) You'll see how below with my rice recipe!
If you haven't tried the freezer meal workshops, do yourself a favor and jump in! SO worth it!
Now, for the good stuff. After all, this is the part you're waiting on, right!?
1. Rotisserie chicken, sweet potato, and rice
Buy a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. You can also buy a whole chicken and make it yourself, but with preparing 11 freezer meals, I didn't have time. So I purcheased a whole chicken from the deli. They are less than $10, and will be used for many of the meals this week.
I don't weigh my food, but I eyeball what 4-6oz of the chicken (protein) would look like and stick that into 4 separate containers. I added a side of cooked Jasmine rice (1 c. Uncooked rice was enough for 4 sides) and 4 sweet potatoes topped with plain cinnamon.
-1c rice (Jasmin, brown) flavored to your liking
(Note: how I always make mine)
- 4 small sweet potato or 2 large cut in half.
($ saving tip! If you have frozen or fresh veggies on hand, use them instead of sweet potatoes. Save money!)
2. Chicken fajita bowls
You still have tons of chicken left, so why not use it up!? I used more chicken meat, sparing the leg and thigh meat since that'll be used for the next recipe. I threw it in a pan with a sliced onion and 2 sliced bell peppers. Add some fajita/taco seasoning and voila! (Labels. Read them!! Make sure you watch for sodium. I don't sell Wildtree products but again, Wildtree for the win! You'll see I use a LOT of their stuff.)
Make 2 cups brown rice and season with taco seasoning. I throw some salsa in, too, for an added kick.
Place rice on the bottom of the containers and chicken mixture on top. 4 Chicken fajita bowls!
- leftover chicken from last recipe
- 2 bell peppers
-1 medium onion
- taco/fajita seasoning
- brown rice
-optional: salsa and jalapeños
3. Buffalo chicken salad
Well, we still have the leg meat to use from that chicken, and after this meal its about picked clean. Put the shredded chicken in a bowl and throw in some buffalo seasoning of your choice. If you don't like buffalo, you can also just eat the plain rotisserie chicken on the salad since it has nice flavor. Chop lettuce, carrots, etc (whatever you like on your salad). I put them in mason jars because they don't get soggy.
Layer like so:
Bottom = dressing. I use Bolthouse Ranch that is made with Greek yogurt (found in produce section. Healthy alternative!)
Next chopped veggies.
Top with the lid.
($ saving tip: buy the 2-5lbs bag of large carrots, much cheaper than baby carrots! Also buy a big head of green leafy lettuce or romaine lettuce. You can get them at Kroger for 99 cents! You just have to wash and chop. It's easy and worth it)
- leftover chicken from above
-buffalo sauce (optional)
-salad toppings (onion, bell pepper, carrots)
- dressing (Bolthouse ranch Greek yogurt dressing in produce section is my fav)
This made 6 small jar salads or 4 big salads.
4. Meatloaf and cauliflower mash
Throw 1lb turkey burger into a bowl with an egg. If you have whole grain or wheat bread/buns on hand, tear 1 piece in tiny pieces. Finely chop 1/4 onion (I had leftovers from salad). Add 1 tsp pepper, garlic seasoning, and 2 tbsp BBQ sauce. Mix together well and place in loaf pan. Add some more BBQ sauce to the top evenly with a brush. Bake at 350 degrees for an hour. When it's done, cut into 4 pieces.
Steam cauliflower. When steamed, throw in a blender/food processor with some garlic. Some people add plain Greek yogurt, I just added some minced garlic and pepper. Blend away until it's like mashed potatoes!
-1lb turkey burger
- 1 head cauliflower
- BBQ sauce
- optional : seasonings and bread crumbs mentioned above in recipe
5. One Pot Mexican Quinoa
Adopted from one of my best friends, this recipe is so EASY. You can literally toss in just about anything. This time I added 1c quinoa, 1c cooked black beans (if you want to buy them canned, search for low or no sodium), 14.5oz can diced tomatoes with green chilies (if you don't have this, use salsa), 1c. Veggie broth (low sodium, or buy bouillon and add water), 1 tsp chili powder, & 1/2 tsp cumin to pan and simmer for 20 mins until quinoa is cooked. Recipe also calls for 1c frozen corn but I didn't have any. You can top with cilantro and avocado if you want.
Grocery list:1c quinoa
1c cooked black beans (if you want to buy them canned, search for low or no sodium)
14.5oz can diced tomatoes with green chilies (if you don't have this, use salsa)
1c Veggie broth (low sodium, or buy bouillon and add water)
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
Optional: cilantro, avocado
And there you have it. Each freezer meal is at least 4 servings, and each recipe above also has 4 servings. 16 meals X 4 servings = 64 servings total!