Freezer cooking this weekend!

This weekend I’ve decided to join Money Saving Mom and Life As Mom‘s freezer cooking challenge.  I’ve got lots of ingredients in my freezer and pantry.   I just need to translate those into some meals that will come together easily in the next weeks.

Here’s my plan:

  • 3 Hamburger Enchilada casseroles (Thursday)
  • 3 dozen banana-almond muffins (Thursday)
  • 3 loaves of banana bread (Thursday)
  • Big batch of granola (Friday)
  • Big batch of refrigerator bread dough (Friday?)
  • 3 Cheesy Chicken Casseroles (Friday)
  • Double batch of Bean and Ham soup (Saturday)
  • Big batch of Taco Soup (Friday)
  • Double batch of homemade mac and cheese

Yesterday I did the enchiladas, muffins and bread.  The enchilada recipe is basically this one (Family Feasts p. 102) but with ground beef instead of chicken.  Thanks to the great hamburger sales lately, I was able to make 3 casseroles with only $5 worth of ground beef (6 lbs).  Pureed tomatoes and corn from last year’s garden added to the affordability of the meal.  I figure that all three LARGE casseroles cost me about $15 to make.

I tried a recipe from Inn Cuisine for banana muffins.  I tripled the recipe and substituted regular oats instead of oat flour, and almonds instead of walnuts.  I also used fewer bananas– tripling the recipe would have meant about 10 bananas.  I used 7.  Boy, was it ever yummy!!  It made 3 dozen muffins and 3 mini-loaves of bread.

This morning I made a triple batch of Cheddar Chicken and Rice Casserole using my daughter’s recipe.  I’d been wanting to try it for awhile.  They turned out really pretty.  I’ll serve one this weekend, and have the other two in the freezer for later.

Then for lunch we had homemade mac and cheese.   I doubled that recipe, topping it with a bit of crumbled bacon and chili powder to jazz it up a bit, and stuck half of it in the freezer for later.

Dinner tonight is Taco Soup (Family Feasts p. 182), already simmering on the stove.   I’ll probably make corn bread to go along with it.  That is all the energy I have today, but tomorrow I’ll finish up with the rest of the things on the list!

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  1. So glad to hear you tried the Banana-Nut Muffins & loved them! Your changes to the recipe sound like great additions, and the innkeeper who submitted that recipe says he always get the best reviews when he uses almonds as well. Good luck with your freezer cooking challenge—sounds like a good one!

  2. I keep telling myself that soon I’ll have a freezer. Won’t that be lovely? Thanks for the great ideas, I’ll save them to implement later!

  3. I wrote a post a couple years ago about a lady who uses potatoes in her freezer cooking. The link is in my post. I have tried several things. Thought you might be interested. :0)

  4. You must have an enormous freezer and a lot of casserole pans! 🙂

    • Yes, we got an 18 cubic foot freezer at a yard sale about 15 years ago for less than $100. I’m spoiled. If I had a small freezer, I’d probably focus on cooking and freezing just the meat for various dinners. That doesn’t have to take much freezer space. In some cases it is more space efficient: for example, cooked/deboned chicken takes LESS freezer space than raw chicken.

  5. Fantastic! Mary you are my inspiration!

  6. Sunnie in NC says:

    I need to do this!!!

  7. I’m never sure if I should bake the casseroles first and then freeze them, or freeze just after mixing up all the ingredients. Which way do you do it?

    And printing that banana muffin recipe, too. Yuummm!

  8. Wow – you accomplished a lot of cooking and baking.

    I like cooking like that – lots of stuff for the freezer. But with only 2 of us here, I have to be careful just how much I make.


  9. Hello,
    I just wanted to drop a note. I just grabbed a cup of coffee and I am sitting here getting ready to dive into your book “Family Feasts for $75.00 a Week”. I am a homeschooling mom of four, full-time college student (graduate in May with my teacher license), wife to a wonderful husband, and future adoptive parent + so much more. I also plan on writing a book after graduation : )

    Well looking forward to reading your book tonight : )

    Teaching for Him,
    Jennifer Hyatt

  10. Yikes! Meant to post my blog site : )


  11. Liked the article and was wondering where I can find the recipe for the double batch of Refrigerator Bread Dough? Didn’t see it in your cookbook or on the website. Love your cookbook–the Orange Chicken Panda Style is amazing!

  12. Hi- I’m reading your current book and I was wondering how you keep things from getting freezer burn. I used to use the reynolds vacuum bags but they discontinued them. Also what kind of pans do you use in the freezer for lasagna (I heard metal makes the taste go off) etc and how do you protect them so they don’t have a funky taste?

    • Hi Michelle,

      Use freezer bags and press out as much air as possible to avoid freezer burn. I haven’t had trouble with things in metal pans tasting funny…have you? But if you are concerned about that, you can line a casserole dish with wax paper, fill it, freeze the casserole in that pan, and then remove it from the pan once frozen. Then just wrap up the casserole ‘brick’ freeze it without a pan.

  13. just put out her summer menu plan- none of them use the oven on cook day! Lots of grilling prep for the summer months when you want to be outside!