Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Get Out of the Kitchen

Amy asked if I ever do freezer meals, and which ones freeze the best. She wants to get out of the kitchen in the heat of the summer.

I usually don't do freezer meals. My mom has left me with a freezer full of dinners when I have had a baby, and they are a huge help. I love taking a meal out of the freezer, letting it defrost on the counter or in the fridge, and popping it into the oven at dinner time. Easy dinner when you don't have time or don't feel like cooking.

Normally I only cook dinner 3 or 4 times during the week because I can make one dinner go for two meals. I've found that when I am planning menus before I go to the grocery store, if I can come up with 3, sometimes 4, dinners that is good for my family.

So here are the meals my mom has frozen for me in the past that froze well:

Sausage and Rice
Chicken Enchiladas

These are some of the meals that come to my mind first when I am thinking "easy dinner:"

Taco soup
Tomato macaroni soup
Chicken enchiladas (if you have your chicken ready or use canned or precooked frozen chicken they are a breeze to assemble) These would also freeze well.
Chicken Salad sandwiches
Sloppy Joes
Salmon, seasoned with seasoning salt and lemon pepper, cooked with a little butter in my oven (inside foil) since our grill died
Spike chicken
Chicken divan (again, if your chicken is ready it assembles quickly)
Broccoli chicken
Chicken and rice
Italian crockpot chicken

I have other meals that are pretty easy too, but the list above are my go to dinners that I think of first because my family eats them and they are healthy. As I look over the list, I guess these are meals that don't require much food prep, i.e. meat or vegetable chopping. When I am looking for easy, I throw one of these together and steam some fresh or frozen vegetables (usually green beans, brocolli, or corn) as a side dish.

In the summer I don't cook as many soups, as much as I love soup. I go crazy on the soup as soon as it gets cold outside. But when it's hot outside and I don't want to heat up the kitchen with the oven, I usually cook on my stovetop or electric frypan on the countertop. Or, if I remember to start dinner early enough in the day, use the crockpot. And someday when we have one, a grill.

Here are other recipes that are easy and will keep you out of a hot kitchen in the summer. Some of them are soups because they don't heat up the house with the oven, even though you may not feel like eating hot soup at the end of a hot day.

Italian Crockpot chicken
French dip sandwiches
Ham and swiss sandwiches
Chicken Salad sandwiches
Tacos or Taco Salad
Sloppy Joes
Esau's pottage
Pinto bean soup
Beef Stroganoff
Fajita Quesadillas
Tuna noodle casserole
Broccoli beef
Stuffed peppers
Turkey tenders
Salmon marinade
Salmon sprinkled with lemon pepper and seasoning salt
Pork chops
more soups? I guess these are all on the stovetop
Broccoli chicken
sausage and rice (this one can even cook in the microwave)

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