Freezer Meals for Busy Schedules

Now that I am closing in on the last part of my pregnancy – 35 weeks and counting – nesting is definitely in full swing for me! I have reorganized our daughter’s room more than once and I am sure I will rearrange things a few more times before she makes her arrival. I have also taken to purging extra items around our house and even in my work office. Even though I am feeling pretty large and round, sitting still is not something I can do right now – there’s too much to do!

I am now focused on getting a few meals prepped and ready to have on hand for after we bring our “lady bean” home. I know things are going to be busy getting used to having a third member in our family and tending to her wants and needs. I am sure cooking is going to fall extremely by the wayside.

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Photo c/o @thecommoneer

I have been researching some easy and healthy freezer meals to prepare and keep for when we need them. I have also been reviewing batch cooking options or quick throw together recipes for breakfasts and snacks. I am overwhelmed with how many options are available online and most of them sound really good and contain healthy ingredients: lean protein like chicken, vegetables, and plant-based options. Not only will options like this help out my husband and me, with school starting soon, it is a good idea to be prepped and ready for the changing season!

You can purchase lots of frozen foods and meals at the grocery store, but most of the time these options are expensive – trying to save money over here – and they usually contain more calories, sodium, and fat per serving to preserve quality and flavor. You have much more control over what is added to food when you are preparing foods in your own kitchen. I am always ok with plain frozen vegetables or fruit because often these options contain no extra ingredients (check the nutrition label), are inexpensive, and convenient as a quick and healthy side dish or to add to a fruit smoothie or yogurt snack.

Here are a couple of options I am looking forward to preparing:

I love my crockpot and try to use it often for easy and fuss-free meal prep. I think these seven marinated chicken recipes you can freeze are an awesome idea to have several main entrees prepped and ready. You can then added these cooked entrée to tacos, soup, or eat it as a main entrée. If you are looking for more plant based recipes that are also friendly for snacks and breakfasts, Hummusapien offers some great tips for being prepped and organized for quick, throw together option.

I think two options I am definitely going to make are the cilantro lime slow cooker chicken from Sweet Peas and Saffron and the chocolate peanut butter oatmeal cups from Hummusapien because they are a hand held breakfast or snack option. I have been told that I will have to learn to do some things with only one hand like eating! So many changes to look forward to! Check out the recipes below!

Cilantro Lime Slow Cooker Chicken (Modified from Sweet Pea and Saffron

Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 4 hrs
Total Time: 4 hrs 20 mins

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken breasts roughly 28 oz
  • 341 mL/ 11.5 of can of corn kernels drained
  • 1 red onion sliced into strips

Sauce

  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • zest of 2 limes
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves

To serve – optional (you will just need these ingredients the day you serve)

  • Tortillas 2 small tortillas per person
  • shredded cabbage
  • radish slices
  • greek yogurt

Instructions

  1. To cook right away: in the base of a 5 quart slow cooker, place the chicken breasts, corn and onion slices.
  2. Using a stand or immersion blender, blend the sauce ingredients and pour over slow cooker contents.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours, until chicken is cooked through.
  4. To assemble and freeze: in a gallon sized freezer bag (see note), place the chicken breasts, corn and onion slices.
  5. Using a stand or immersion blender, blend the sauce ingredients and pour into the bag.
  6. Seal and freeze for up to 3 months.
  7. Thaw completely and place dump everything into a 5 quart slow cooker.
  8. Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours, until chicken is cooked through.
  9. Serve in tortillas topped with yogurt, shredded cabbage and radish slices

Recipe Notes

Be sure to use a good quality freezer bag, as there is substantial liquid in this recipe. When thawing, place the bag on a large plate in case of leakage.

4 chicken breasts produce roughly 4-5 cups of shredded chicken; ½ cup per serving.

Slow-Cooker-Chicken-Recipes-HERO sweet peas and saffron
Image Credit: Sweet Peas and Saffron

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Baked Oatmeal Cups (via Hummusapien

Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 25 mins
Total time: 35 mins

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp chia seeds + 6 tbsp water
  • 3 medium to large ripe bananas, mashed (the more ripe the better)
  • 1 cup Silk unsweetened cashew milk (almond or coconut are great, too)
  • ¼ cup creamy peanut butter
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup (optional for sweetness, I omitted and used 15 drops of liquid stevia)
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 scoop chocolate plant-based protein powder (I use Vega Chocolate Protein + Greens)
  • 3 cups old fashioned oats (gluten-free if necessary)
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • pinch salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray muffin tin with cooking spray.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together chia seeds and water to make “chia eggs.” Alternatively, you could use 2 large eggs. Set aside.
  3. Place bananas in a large bowl and mash with fork. Add cashew milk, peanut butter, optional maple syrup or stevia, and vanilla and stir until well mixed. Stir in chia eggs.
  4. Add protein powder, oats, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Stir until combined.
  5. Spoon mixture evenly into muffin tin. You can fill the tins to the top. You may have some leftover batter. Bake for 25 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven and cool in pan on a wire rack. Once completely cool, store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator
choc pb oatmeal cups hummusapienImage Credit: Hummusapien

Post by Lemma

 

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