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Coupon Abbreviations
  • SC = Store Coupon
  • MC = Manufacturer Coupon
  • SS = Smart Source
  • RP = Red Plum
  • PG = Proctor and Gamble
Coupon Terms
  • WYB = When You Buy
  • B1G1 = Buy One Get One Free
  • .75/1 = 75 cents off one item
  • .75/3 = 75 cents off three items
  • EXP = Expiration Date

Going Nuts? I can help you understand coupon terms and abbreviations

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freezer cooking

So, for several weeks in a row now we’ve been talking all things freezer. Here’s what we’ve covered so far:

-6 reasons you need a freezer
-Saving time by Freezer Prepping

You learned last week that I don’t typically freezer cook for a variety of reasons, but I totally understand why some of you do! It saves time and stress during the week and it can be sort of fun.

If you’re new to freezer cooking, the concept is basically this: you cook many meals all at one time and then freeze them all separately, making it super easy to pull a meal out and have dinner ready in a flash (you can see how having an extra freezer would come in handy…).

10 Tips for Freezer Cooking:

1. You can choose your own cooking intervals. For example, some people cook once a month, some once every two weeks, and so on. It just depends on how much freezer space you have and how much you want to cook at one time.

2. When thinking about recipes, try to go with dishes that use similar ingredients and prepare as much of them together as you can. For example, if you’re making a soup and a casserole that both call for cooked chicken, cook a larger amount of chicken and simply separate them for each recipe. Along this same line, go ahead and chop all your veggies at once, too (onions, peppers, garlic, etc.), so they’ll be ready to toss in each recipe when you need them.

3. Make sure your food is completely cool before wrapping it up and storing it in the freezer. This will prevent freezer burn and possibly contamination.

4. You can store your prepped meals in disposable pans or your own casserole dishes; it just depends on your preference. Just make sure they’re able to be covered well to reduce freezer burn and extend their lives in the freezer. I used my own casserole dishes (because that’s what I had) and first covered them in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil.

5. Freeze soups in good plastic freezer bags. Once your soup is ready and cooled, fill your bags, remove excess air, and freeze them completely flat in the freezer. This will make them super easy to stack and will save a lot of space (as opposed to sitting them up and the bags turning into frozen blobs).

6. Make sure to label your dishes well with the title and date so you know what it is and how long it’ll be good. You can even write some quick instructions on there as well to make it easier for you when cook time comes.

7. When you’re ready to cook a meal, simply remove that dish the night before you’re ready to cook it and thaw it in the refrigerator.

8. As long as your food is wrapped and stored properly, most dishes should keep their quality between 3 and 6 months in the freezer.

9. If you’re not thrilled at the thought of this, try setting aside a day and going in with friends! One person can do the veggie chopping while another can do the sauteeing. Or you could split it up between meals and have each person make enough of that meal for each family involved. You can get creative with it.

10. Try not to get overwhelmed. When making so many different meals, you can easily feel like you’re just staring at a bunch of ingredients. It helped me to physically write down my detailed game plan and cross off each step as I went: it turned the process into little baby goals rather than a big, daunting task.

These recipes that I created are all basically ready to go right from the fridge (where the dish has been thawing) to the oven/stove. Next week I’ll give you some really super simple recipes that can go straight from the fridge to the slow cooker (I know you guys are excited about that one…).

Freezer Cooking Recipes:

shepherd's pie

Shepherd’s Pie

1 lb ground beef
½ cup diced carrots
1 cup diced onion
salt & freshly ground black pepper
½ cup frozen peas
1 tbsp worchestershire sauce
½ cup ketchup
½ cup unsalted butter
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
3 russet potatoes
¼ cup milk (may be more or less)

1. In a large skillet over medium high heat, brown the ground beef until no longer pink. Drain any grease, remove the beef from the pan, and set aside.
2. Add the carrots and onion to the pan along with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes. Add the peas, worchestershire, and ketchup and heat through. Return the ground beef to the pan.
3. While the vegetables are cooking, make the gravy. In a small saucepan over medium low heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and cook until the flour is a blonde color (about 1 minute). Whisk in the broth in small increments until smooth. Add the gravy to the meat mixture.
4. To make the topping, peel the potatoes and cut into chunks. Add them to a medium saucepan and cover with water. Boil until tender. Drain completely and mash with a potato masher. Add the milk a few tablespoons at a time until your desired consistency is reached.
5. Add the meat mixture to the bottom of a 9×9 casserole pan. Add the mashed potatoes on top of the meat mixture and be sure that they are even and that all holes are sealed. Cool, cover, and freeze.

To serve: Thaw in refrigerator overnight. Cook in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until heated through and slightly bubbly.

mexican soup

Mexican Soup

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 cup diced onion, divided
2 cups diced celery
salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp ground cumin
2 32 oz cartons low sodium chicken broth
3 cups cooked rice
2 cups cooked & shredded chicken
For serving:
1 diced jalapeno
½ cup diced tomato
¼ cup chopped cilantro
1 avocado, cubed

1. In a soup pot over medium high heat, heat the olive oil and add the onion, celery, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 1 minute and add the garlic and cumin. Cook the mixture until tender, about 8 minutes.
2. Add the chicken broth to the pot and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and let simmer for 20 minutes or until the broth has reduced slightly. Add the rice and chicken and remove from heat.
To freeze at this point: Allow the soup to cool, add to freezer bags, and freeze flat in the freezer.

To serve: Thaw soup in fridge overnight. Heat on the stove until hot. Serve with jalapeno, tomato, cilantro, and avocado.

jambalaya

Jambalaya

½ lb andouille sausage, sliced
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced celery
1 bell pepper, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
salt & freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp ground cayenne pepper
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp paprika
1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 cup cooked & shredded chicken
3 cups cooked rice

1. In a large skillet over medium high heat, brown the andouille sausage. After browning, remove the sausage with a slotted spoon and set aside.
2. Add the onion, celery, and bell pepper to the pan. After one minute, add the garlic and cook until the vegetables are tender. Add salt and pepper (to taste) and the thyme, oregano, and paprika and cook until fragrant (about 2 minutes longer).
3. Add the diced tomatoes to the pan, stir gently, and let simmer for 10 minutes.
4. Return the sausage to the pan along with the shredded chicken and stir to combine.
5. Add the cooked rice to a greased 9×13 casserole pan and pour the mixture from the pan over the rice. Stir to evenly combine. Cool, cover, and freeze.

To serve: Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Cook (covered) in a preheated 400 degree oven for 35-45 minutes or until hot.

chicken and rice

Chicken & Rice Casserole

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced celery
½ cup diced carrots
1 cup chopped fresh broccoli
1 garlic clove, minced
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups cooked & shredded chicken
4 tbsp unsalted butter
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
3 cups shredded cheese, divided
3 cups cooked rice

1. In a large skillet over medium high heat, add the oil followed by the onion, celery, carrots, and broccoli. After one minute, add the garlic and cook until the vegetables are tender. Add salt and pepper to taste.
2. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook (while continuously whisking) until slightly golden (about one minute). Whisk in the chicken broth until combined and allow to thicken (about 3 minutes). Whisk in 2 cups of the shredded cheese and stir until smooth.
3. In a greased 9×13 casserole pan, add the cooked rice, vegetable mixture, and gravy and stir to combine. Top with remaining 1 cup shredded cheese. Cool, cover, and freeze.

To serve: Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Cook uncovered in a preheated 400 degree oven for 30 minutes or until the casserole is heated through and the cheese has melted.

lasagna rolls

Lasagna Rolls

1 10 oz package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 cup ricotta
½ cup shredded parmesan
2 cups shredded mozzarella, divided
3 tbsp chopped fresh basil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 25.5 oz jar tomato-based pasta sauce
1 12 oz package lasagna noodles, cooked al dente

1. In a medium bowl, mix spinach, ricotta, parmesan, 1 cup mozzarella, basil, salt and pepper (to taste) until well combined.
2. Add 1/3 of the jar of pasta sauce to a 9×13 casserole pan and spread evenly across the bottom.
3. To make the rolls, spread ¼ cup of the spinach and cheese mixture evenly all the way across one of the lasagna noodles. Place the roll seam side down in the casserole pan. Repeat with the rest of the noodles and spinach mixture.
4. Top the rolls evenly with the rest of the pasta sauce (make sure to cover all parts of the noodle to prevent them from drying out). Top with the remaining 2 cups mozzarella cheese. Cool, cover, and freeze.

To serve: Thaw in refrigerator overnight. Cook (covered) in a preheated 400 degree oven for 30 minutes or until the rolls are heated through and the cheese has melted.

    • mommalana

      I am not sure the entry is working. Is there some indication that I have actually entered?

      • Jamie Buchanan Benningfield

        when I completed the form a box popped up that said Sweet, You’re Entered!

        • mommalana

          Hmmm…I don’t think it worked for me.