I’ve been trying to be really good about cooking these past few weeks. By good, I mean trying to cook new, “real food” meals at least twice a week (usually Wednesdays and Sundays) and trying to make extras to freeze. So far, I have been having pretty good success at making meals my family likes/will eat, and – maybe more importantly to me – does not involve me spending a whole day, or even a whole afternoon in the kitchen. The past few meals I have tried have been chicken pot pie, stromboli, and tacos! In all of these cases I have yet to try the frozen-then-thawed version yet, but i will update once I do in case any don’t thaw well.
Stromboli (sorry I don’t have pictures for this one)
Recipe here from Fabulessly Frugal
Ease to make: Very Easy (I was able to assemble two strombolis (is that the plural of stromboli? haha) in about 25 minutes)
For my pizza crust, I used the pillsbury pre-made pizza dough in the canister, which I loved because I really HATE spreading out pizza dough. I love all things pizza and would probably make all sorts of pizzas except for the step of spreading the crust. I had never tried the pillsbiry pre-made dough, and was pleasantly surprised with how easy it was to use and the final taste.
I made one stromboli for dinner that night and wrapped one in plastic wrap and tin foil to freeze. The one I made for dinner tasted great, even V (the toddler) ate a little bit of it, and it tasted good left over and cold for lunch!
Chicken Pot Pie
Recipe here from Fabulessly Frugal (totally didn’t realize that these were both from the same blog until now, one was from Pinterest and one from Google Search)
Ease to make: This recipe took about 1.5 hours to make from start to finish, so pretty time consuming, but it doesn’t take much longer to make several than to make one.
I made a few modifications to this one. The recipe is for chicken pot pie but the only crust is on the top, none on the bottom. I think this is so you can make more pies with fewer pie crusts, maybe? I was describing this to Mark (husband), who is the expert in southern cuisine in our house, and he was not a fan of the “crust on top only” idea. Since he loves chicken pot pie way more than I do, I figured I should cook it to suit his tastes so I added crust on the top and bottom. For the container I also used the regular pie containers that came with the pre-made crusts rather than the meatloaf container (I used deep dish pie crust). I also didn’t measure my vegetable amounts at all, which resulted in the pot pies being very vegetable heavy, in particular very pea heavy. I like peas, and I like veggies, so I thought it was good, but Mark would prefer more chicken. I made 3 pot pies total, and wrapped the other 2 in plastic wrap and tin foil for the freezer.
Verdict: Will probably make again because Mark likes pot pies, but a lot of work…
Ok, confession – this recipe is so simple you probably don’t need a recipe, but I have such cute pictures to go along that I had to share it. I did, however, discover that it is possible to make taco meat in a crock pot, so it was a learning experience!
Recipe here at Passionate Penny Pincher
Ease to make: very easy – throw the meat and ingredients into crockpot, stir occasionally, done!
I didn’t read the recipe right and added the taco seasoning at the beginning of cooking rather than at the end. This resulted in my meat being under-seasoned once it was done, but I just added more seasoning and it worked out ok. It also turned out a little more soupy than my typical taco meat, but there were no complaints about it. I served the meat on tortillas with typical taco dressings, and it was definitely a hit. V thought it was amazing and ate soft tacos/burritos for dinner 2 nights in a row! I put half of the taco meat in the freezer for later.
Her first experience holding the burrito herself – she DID NOT want mom to help her 🙂
Hope my experience helps anyone trying to come up with meal ideas for their family. I really prefer meals that take minimal prep work and that I can make extras of so Mark can heat them up for dinner when I work late. Any good recipes you know of? Feel free to let me know!