Freezer Cooking

With September and school starting, we are headed to two months of crazy weekday schedule. Add to that my new work schedule where I come home anywhere from 30 – 45 minutes later than usual means that I have to get my butt in gear over the next few weekends and do freezer cooking. If you want to see the list from last year, go here.

I’m making very similar things because there are only so many freezer friendly meals.  I gave myself two weeks last year. It took me three, possibly four weekends to get everything on the list.

This year, I’m making:

  • 10 cups of marinara sauce, divided into 1 cup bags – 4 done
  • 2 medium-sized turkey meatloaves – done
  • pesto in ice-cube size – done
  • 2 pounds of mac and cheese – 1 pound done
  • 2 meals worth shredded chicken – 1 done
  • 1 pound turkey taco meat, divided – done
  • 1 pound Korean Bulgogi style turkey meat, divided – done
  • 1 pound Italian style turkey meat, divided – done
  • 2 pounds meatballs
  • 2 meals worth lentil soup
  • 2 meals worth broccoli or cauliflower soup
  • 2 meals worth Chana masala
  • 1 dozen breakfast muffins
  • 1 dozen breakfast scones
  • 1 dozen breakfast biscuits
  • 2 loaves of pumpkin bread

Below is what I made this past weekend, excluding the meatloaves. I know it doesn’t look like a lot, but I basically cooked all weekend! I also cooked salmon, rice and some sides to eat over the week.

This weekend is a little busy with both girls activities starting up, Soso has tennis and Peanut has gymnastics. I hope to get the easy ones done like meatballs and the second batch of sauce.  May be if I’m lucky one of the soups. The breakfast items will have to wait for another weekend. I actually bought store made muffins to tide Soso over and felt guilty.

Mac and Cheese, froze one tray, ate one yesterday with the third meatloaf.
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Crockpot shredded chicken, froze 1 meal worth, ate one Tuesday.  I froze only the chicken since I wasn’t sure how potato chunks would freeze.
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All the ground turkey cooked in three different style, Mexican, Korean and Italian.
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Greek Orzo Pasta Salad

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Every once in awhile I come across a recipe that’s a keeper and this Greek Orzo Salad is one of them. It’s so super easy to make and so very delicious, alone and as an accompaniment to some grilled chicken (or any meat of choice).  I know summer is almost over, but there’s still plenty of time to enjoy a nice “summer” meal.

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This recipe is very flexible. I have the ingredient measurement written to how I make it, but they can all be changed to taste. For example, I’m not a big fan of raw onions so I add only about 1/4 cup.

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I also marinate the onion in the lemon juice while I prep the other ingredients to mellow it out.  Same with feta cheese, I tend to use a little less since Soso doesn’t love it.  We love olives, tomatoes and cucumbers so I tend to add a little more usually. The key to this recipe is the lemon juice, zest and the artichoke marinade. So, make sure to have a nice juicy lemon and get good quality marinated artichoke!

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Greek Orzo Pasta Salad
*Adapted from Allrecipes.com

Prep time: 10 mins Cook time: 20 mins
Serves: 6

Ingredients

1 1/2 cup orzo
1 lemon, juiced and zested
12 ounces of marinated artichoke hearts, drained and reserve liquid
1/4 cup diced red onion
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup diced cucumber
1/2 cup pitted black or kalamata olives, drained and sliced
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 – 1/3 cup crumbled feta
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions

Bring a medium pot of salted water to boil.  Add orzo and cook 8 to 10 minutes or until the pasta is al dente.  Drain, rinse with cold water and set aside.

*Optional: In a large mixing bowl, marinate the diced onion in lemon juice and zest while prepping the other ingredients.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients except for feta and gently mix. Add feta and half the reserved artichoke marinade and toss gently.  Refrigerate and chill up to an hour before serving.  Drizzle additional artichoke marinade if needed right before serving.

The salad can be made a few hours ahead of time.

First Day of School

School started on Thursday and we’re 3 days into our new routine. So far so good, crossing my fingers and toes.

I was super nervous about Peanut, because there were going to be so many new things and changes introduced all at once: 2 different school, two set of teachers and classmates, going on a bus, having Zizi pick her up to bring her to Kindercare.

But she did great on the first day.  I drove her there and she went into her new school without any problems. I emphasized many times that starting Friday, she would be taking a bus and she was fine. In fact, she “loves” her bus even though she is the only one on it.

Here are some photos.

Soso starting 5th grade!

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With cousin who’s in 4th grade and Peanut.

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At the lineup… gosh it was such a sunny and hot day even at 8 AM!

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With her BFF and they are finally in the same class together! Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

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Peanut’s new Pre-K school!

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At the lineup wall waiting to go into her class..

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This is on the second day where she’s patient waiting for the bus that winded up being 15 minutes late.

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Thank goodness though that she loves her bus!

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