Freezer Meal Demo - Breakfast Sandwiches

Sunday, April 30, 2017
I don't know about all of you, but mornings are BEYOND CRAZY around my house!  I am not a morning person, and while I love the idea of *eating* a hot cooked breakfast, I don't relish the idea of having to get up and actually *cook* one.  Especially early.  I seriously am not fully awake until about noon...

Most of the time, the kiddos are relegated to eating oatmeal or cold cereal.  It's easy, but I really don't like the amount of sugar in the cold cereals.  And I'm finding that the cold cereal just does not keep them full for very long.  My 5 year old will eat a full bowl of cereal, and then seriously 10 minutes later, will ask me for a sandwich, or an apple, or more cereal, saying that she is starving again.

So, to help remedy this, it's freezer meals to the rescue!  I can make these up in not much time on a weekend, and stick them in the freezer.  Then, during the week, we just pull out a sandwich, microwave it, and it's ready to go!  So fast!!  

There are lots of different variations you could go with for these sandwiches.  Bagels and biscuits also work really well (and freeze well, too).  You can choose what goes on your sandwich based on what your family likes.  Change up the cheese, change up the eggs, go ham or bacon instead of sausage, etc.  So many choices!  ;)

For my husband, I usually use sausage, egg and cheese on the inside (he likes cheddar - don't even mention using American on there) and we use bagels, biscuits or English muffins.  

The first step in making the sandwiches is cooking the eggs.  


Once you've cooked your eggs, you can gather the rest of your ingredients and assemble your sandwiches!  After they are assembled, we wrap ours in clear plastic cling wrap, then in a layer of aluminum foil, then stick them in gallon-size freezer bags.  Make sure to label your bag with the contents and date (and any reheating instructions). 

Freezer Meal - Breakfast Sandwiches

English muffins, bagels or biscuits
cheese slices
sausage patties (I use the pre-cooked ones from the store) - you could also use ham slices or bacon

1. Cook eggs. *You can cook them in the mason jar lids to get them round, or if you're an awesome egg cooker, you can just do fried eggs (I can never keep mine round enough).  If you don't want to mess with the rings, you can cook your eggs in a square electric skillet, then cut into squares for your sandwiches.  Or bake in a rectangular dish in the over and cut into squares.

2. Gather remaining ingredients. 

3. Assemble sandwiches.  I don't think the order you put the items on the sandwich really matters.  I like to have the cheese on the top so it melts down over the other ingredients.

4. Wrap sandwiches in clear plastic cling wrap, then in a layer of aluminum foil.  

5. Label a gallon-size freezer bag with the name, date and reheating instructions.  Place wrapped sandwiches in bag.  Remove as much air as possible, seal, and place in freezer.

To reheat: Remove foil and cling wrap.  Wrap sandwich loosely in a paper towel.  Microwave for 1:30 or until heated through.

Saving Money on Freezer Meals

Friday, April 28, 2017
One of the reasons why once-a-month-cooking didn't really work for me (beyond the insane amount of prep and assembly and cooking and cleaning time, and the piles and piles of dirty dishes) was that I didn't feel I actually saved any money doing the meals.  Don't get me wrong, it was GREAT to have all the meals in the freezer!  But in trying to get a variety of meats and meals, I could never find the majority of the ingredients I needed at good prices all at the same time, so I was paying full price for most of the ingredients.  Bad planning on my part...

For me, I've really enjoyed doing much smaller meal "sessions" and I usually only focus on one or two main proteins. It allows me to make freezer meals based on what is on sale that week, and I feel like I DO save money this way.

For example, this week, Mission tortillas are on sale for $1.00 (the soft taco 8" size) at Smith's, and eggs are .88/dozen (or .79 if you have a Harmon's close).  So I stocked up on Wednesday, and I'll spend a little time today or tomorrow doing some Chicken Bacon Ranch Taquitos (using tortillas and my canned chicken) and more breakfast sandwiches (using the eggs).

Another great recipe to do when tortillas are on sale?  Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas!  Yummy!! (And Old El Paso enchilada sauce was on sale at Harmon's last week.)

[For the taquitos, follow the recipe through step 6.  Add taquitos to a freezer bag, seal, label and freeze.  We usually cook these right from frozen.  Follow the directions as listed, but add 5-10 additional minutes in the oven.]

Once you get an idea of the kinds of freezer meals that your family likes, and find the ones that you willing go back to time and time again, you can start watching for those ingredients to go on sale.  When they do, pick up a few extras and keep them in your food storage.  Then, when your main protein goes on sale and you've got some time to make a few meals, you can get your protein and then shop the other ingredients from your food storage! No need to do a big huge shopping trip because you have most of the ingredients already, and they were bought on sale!!

Easy Chicken Freezer Meal Session

For those looking to get into freezer meal cooking, my best advice is to START SMALL!

I did the opposite, and it was not mountains of dishes, crippling back pain, I-want-to-scream-and-cry-for-days not pretty!

So don't make the same mistake I did.  Start small.  If you REALLY want to do all your cooking for a month in one day, start by doing smaller sessions and then work your way up to larger and larger sessions once you've got the tips and tricks down.   It will save you so much grief.  And possibly your sanity... ;)

To help get you started, I've put together a little freezer meal session of five meals, all chicken, all of the "dump-and-go" variety - that means that there is very little prep work needed and no pre-cooking.  You literally dump all the ingredients into a freezer bag, seal it, label it and then stick it in your freezer - that's it!!

These are five easy chicken recipes that I make over and over again.  They are fast and easy and good.  Feel free to modify them as needed for your family.

Cooking instructions are given for slow cookers, but you can also cook these  using an Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker.  (For pressure cooker, set on high pressure for 6 minutes [thawed] or 10 minutes [frozen] - allow 4 min natural release and then quick release the rest of the pressure.]

I think these are great recipes to start out with to give you an idea of how convenient freezer meals can be!

Fast and Easy Crockpot (or Instant Pot) Chicken Freezer Meal Session

Give them a try - feel free to ask any questions you may have, and let me know what you think of these!