Freezers are Our Friends!
During the summer months, when it is hot, no one wants to be stuck over a hot stove cooking or use the oven to heat up their house. Grilling outside is great, but when you need quick at the end of the day, it might not be an option. This has led me to LOVE my crock pot! There are so many amazing ideas out there, especially of meals already prepared, and frozen so you just dump into the crockpot and go. Freezers are my friend!
When working with freezers, there’s a few things you should remember to do to get the best out of your food. Here’s some tips and tricks I’ve learned!
First, don’t try to put hot foods directly into the freezer while still hot. This leads to extra ice in the frozen product from the steam, plus freezing at uneven paces which can mess up the texture of your foods. Let foods cool, even in the fridge if necessary, before freezing.
As you package food, label what you are putting in the freezer! I have often opened something that I can’t remember when I froze it, or what it was. Label everything! Include instructions on how to cook, what it is, and when you froze it. So much less hassle later!
Once you thaw something, don’t refreeze it! It’s unhealthy, plus it really messes with the food texture. Once thawed, the food needs to be cooked or eaten, not refrozen.
If you are freezing something like berries, spread them out on a cookie sheet to freeze, instead of freezing them as a clump. After they are frozen, then you can put them in baggies or other containers for more permanent storage. That way you can get out just as many as you need without having to thaw everything. I love doing this with blueberries, sliced strawberries, cherries, sliced peaches or apricots. So nice to have delicious fruit all winter long!
As you find several recipes and decide to do a freezer meal prep day, make sure you have the room in your freezer beforehand. Rearrange food so that the new meals can be frozen flat. Once they are frozen, feel free to stand them up if you need to, but freezing flat is the best way.
Also give yourself plenty of time the first run through. Chopping veggies and browning hamburger can take longer than you think! While some people like to chop everything and then assemble, I don’t have room in my kitchen to do that! So I’ll chop some, package some, put some in the freezer, and go back to do some more. Find a style that works for you! Preparation before assembly is essential!
Overall, freezers make life so much easier! Try this Salsa Chicken recipe below! I love how versatile it is- I use it in tortillas, in taco bowls over rice, or just eat it plain with chips.
Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken Freezer Meal
Another super easy recipe- this actually makes 2 meals. I like to make it in the morning, make one for that day, and freeze the second part for later! It works great as filling for tacos, added to bowls with rice and toppings, or just eaten with chips! Take your pick!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 6-8 hours
8 chicken breasts
2 (15-ounce) cans black beans
2 (15-ounce) cans corn
2 (15-ounce) cans petite diced tomatoes
1 jar salsa
1 packet taco seasoning mix
Prepare your freezer bag by labeling, dating, and writing instructions on the outside of the bag (or bags, if freezing both portions).
Divide everything between two portions- half in a bag large ziplock bag, and the second half to either a crock pot or another freezer bag. Flatten and freeze for up to 6 months.
Before using, thaw at least enough to be able to fit into your crock pot. Cook for 8 hours on low, or until chicken shreds easily. Serve over rice, in a tortilla, or however you like! I love to top with cheese, serve as a salad, in a tortilla with a little sour cream, or as a dip for chips! Enjoy!
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