Meal Planning: Meal Components and Freezer Cooking

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A couple weeks ago I spent a couple days pre-prepping a few meal components. Having homemade convenience items like cooked ground beef, shredded chicken, and tomato sauce on hand makes dinnertime preparations a snap. Here’s how it’s playing out in this week’s dinners:

Chicken Parmesan – This is our typical Valentine’s dinner since it’s the meal I prepared for FishPapa on our first date. I already have homemade sauce is ready to go and will add it to Crispy Chicken and cooked spaghetti with Garlic Focaccia and Steamed Broccoli on the side. Edited to add: I healthified my Chicken Parmesan tonight – delish!

Chicken Soft Tacos – My husband is great at making corn tortillas from scratch. We’ll serve them with cooked, shredded chicken from the freezer as well as other taco toppings and round it out with beans and Mexican rice.

Baked Chicken and Rice – I got a great deal on bone-in chicken breast and packaged it for the freezer in marinade. I’ll bake this in the oven on a bed of uncooked rice and chicken broth for an easy Chicken and Rice Bake.

Stuffed Shells – This dish is going to be an experiment. I’m using cooked, ground beef and red sauce from the freezer. I’ll add those and a cream-cheese sauce to large cooked shell pasta. If it’s good, you’ll hear about it.

Beans and Rice – In my efforts to reduce expenses, we’re bringing back our weekly beans and rice dinner. Usually, there are cooked beans in the freezer, but the supply is gone. So, time to cook up a few more pounds

Pizza night – I use my regular red sauce for pizza topping and have grated cheese blends and a huge supply of pepperoni in the freezer. Our newest pizza topping, however, is olive oil, garlic, crushed red pepper, topped with cheese, shredded chicken, red onion and tomato. So yummy! Most of the kids prefer pepperoni, though.

Peanut Butter Chicken – I’ve got chicken marinating the freezer and will grill it and add to the noodles, veggies and sauce of this dish. I’ve started using 1/2 whole wheat spaghetti mixed with 1/2 regular in order to increase our whole grains. With a flavorful sauce, no one notices.

What are you eating this week? Don’t forget to visit I’m an Organizing Junkie for all kinds of menu planning inspiration.

About Jessica Fisher

I believe you can get great meals on the table -- and still keep that pretty smile on your face.

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  1. Looks like a delicious week! Love all your “prep-ahead” strategies!

  2. Karin Alvarado says

    This may sound like a crazy question, but I’m wondering, when you cook from the freezer, do you put it in the oven frozen or do you defrost first. I’m just beginning meal planning and freezer cooking but there is so much to learn!

    • Jessica Fisher says

      It depends on what it is, but usu. I try to thaw it first. If it doesn’t thaw before I want to cook it, I just lengthen the cooking time.

  3. That peanutbutter chicken looks really good!!

  4. I’m really interested in learning how to freezer cook… You make it seem so easy… I don’t even know where to begin!!!! Love the blog and the menu as usual….

  5. Thanks for reposting the Corn Tortilla tutorial. I recently got a press, but couldn’t recall where I had seen how to do it. The bag tip is great!

    Even with the press, I know it is quite a skill to pull these off. A very good friend of mine is from NM and her mom is the most awesome cook, but even she wont do Corn Tortillas (say they are too much trouble) I’m going to give it a shot 🙂

  6. I made a meat manicotti. Once the ground beef is cooked, add 1 egg slightly beaten, 1/4 cup grated parmesan, and 3/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs. Mix it all up then stuff the cooked shells. Top with sauce and bake at 350 for 30 minutes!

  7. hey! i make a yummmmy stuffed pasta dish. we call them “pasta tacos”… used cooked 1lb ground beef(we add small diced bellpeppers and onions), half 8oz cream cheese, and salsa to taste! mix all together and stuff shells, top with cheddar cheese, bake and it is del-ish!!

  8. Do you buy a specific brand of whole-wheat pasta? I’ve tried a few varieties, but I can always tell the difference no matter how flavorful the sauce, and I don’t really like the texture. I’d love any tips you have on picking out a good whole-wheat pasta!

  9. Christine Albert says

    Love it! Great ideas that I am going to implement in my household! PS. We had Chicken Parm at home for our Valentines Dinner, too!!!

  10. Jessika says

    Some of my family is trying to eat on $1/day for Lent. Last night’s dinner was rice. Tonight it’s rice and beans. I may actually give the homemade corn tortillas a shot so we can vary our diet some. Thanks for including some economical meals/tutorials. I feel like we can eat delicious for a small amount of $$.

  11. Just finished my meal plan for the week. Now I am just hoping to actually make it to the store. Between sick kids and snow & ice on the streets it may take a few days. Thankfully we have a few pantry mealls on the list this week.

    This Crazy Amazing Life: Meal Time Madness

  12. ooh, wanna hear about those shells. And Peanut Butter Chicken sounds so good.

    I just posted my Menu Plan, forgot on Monday…crazy day!

  13. I used to cook and freeze quite often, but I’ve gotten out of the habit over the last few years. You have inspired me to pick it up again! =)

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