For me, meal planning is the only way to go. Not only does it keep me on track with my eating but it also keeps me on track with my budget. And some evenings, scheduling doesn’t allow me an hour or so to prep a meal so having a few ready to go freezer meals on hand is really, really helpful. I often scour the internet for new and delicious recipes but I have to admit I am a sucker for a good old fashion cookbook.
I love flipping through pages of recipes especially when they have lots of photos of the finished products. I am usually more drawn to recipes that I can see what I am going to be eating in the end. When I got my copy of “Seriously Good Freezer Meals” by Karrie Truman, it had everything I wanted all in one book. This is Karrie’s first cookbook is the proud owner of the blog Happy MoneySaver.
What I really liked about this book is not only does it include the instructions on how to prepare meals for you to eat immediately but it also includes the instructions on how to prepare it in advance and put it in the freezer to use in the future. It’s not just cooking it and throwing the leftovers in the freezer.
If you wanted to prepare a bunch of freezer meals all in one batch, it has instructions/menus for 7, 30 and even 50 meals including shopping lists and time saving tips. It is a meal preppers dream. And for someone like myself who has never done batch meal preps for the freezer there is so much amazing information about how to freeze, what you can freeze and tips about thawing and preparing frozen foods that until now I had no idea about.
There is a wide range of recipes from breakfasts, appetizers, desserts and of course, main dishes. There are so many of the recipes that I want to try and it has definitely given me the push to buy a standalone freezer as my current freezer is much to small to hold a lot of freezer meals. And I definitely want to take a day and make a bunch of meals at once to make meal time much easier for myself in the months ahead. This recipe book is a must-have for busy families!
Here’s a taste of a few of the amazing recipes you will find in this book. (All recipes are courtesy of Seriously Good Freezer Meals: 150 Easy Recipes to Save Your Time, Money & Sanity by Karrie Truman © 2017 www.robertrose.ca Available where books are sold.)
Lemon Dill Tilapia Tacos
Makes 6 servings.
1/4 cup (60 mL) melted butter
1/4 cup (60 mL) chicken broth
Grated zest and juice of 2 large lemons
11/2 tsp (7 mL) dried dill
1/2 tsp (2 mL) minced garlic
2 lbs (1 kg) skinless tilapia fillets (about six 6 oz/175 g pieces)
2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil
12 6-inch (15 cm) corn tortillas, warmed
1 cup (250 mL) shredded lettuce
1 cup (250 mL) canned or cooked black beans, drained and rinsed (optional)
1/4 cup (60 mL) salsa or pico de gallo (optional)
- In a small bowl, whisk together melted butter, chicken broth, lemon zest, lemon juice, dill and garlic.
- Place marinade mixture and tilapia fillets in a gallon-size (4 L) freezer bag or bowl. (Label the bag if freezing for later.) Seal bag, removing as much air as possible, or cover bowl. Transfer to refrigerator to marinate for 15 minutes.
Make It Now Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Drizzle olive oil over a rimmed baking sheet. Transfer baking sheet to oven while it preheats. Once oven is preheated, remove baking sheet from oven, add fillets and return it to oven. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until fish is flaky and lightly crisped on the edges. Remove from oven and chop into chunks. Arrange tortillas on a work surface. Evenly divide fish and lettuce, plus beans and salsa (if using), among tortillas. Serve.
Make It a Freezer Meal Freeze bag.
Thaw and Cook Place bag in the refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours to thaw. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Drizzle olive oil over a rimmed baking sheet. Transfer baking sheet to oven while it preheats. Once oven is preheated, remove baking sheet from oven, add fillets and return it to oven. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until fish is flaky and lightly crisped on the edges. Remove from oven and chop into chunks. Arrange tortillas on a work surface. Evenly divide fish and lettuce, plus beans and salsa, if using, among tortillas. Serve.
Tip: You can also make a dilly sauce, if desired. In a small saucepan, combine 2 tsp (10 mL) cornstarch and the marinade from the bag. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Build your tacos and then drizzle a little lemon dill sauce overtop.
Chicken Tortellini Soup
Makes 6 servings.
6 cups (1.5 L) chicken broth
1 celery stalk, diced
11/2 cups (375 mL) frozen diced carrots or sliced fresh carrots, blanched
1/4 tsp (1 mL) dried rosemary
1 tbsp (15 mL) dried parsley
2 cups (500 mL) chopped cooked chicken breast
2 cups (500 mL) fresh or frozen cheese tortellini (about 71/2 oz/215 g)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Minced freshly parsley (optional)
Fresh thyme leaves (optional)
Make it Now In a large pot, combine chicken broth, celery, carrots, rosemary and parsley. Bring to a boil over high heat. Immediately reduce heat to medium-high and boil for 5 minutes, until carrots and celery are tender. Add chicken and tortellini; season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer, stirring often, for 3 to 4 minutes (7 to 8 minutes for frozen tortellini), until tortellini are tender and filling is hot. Remove from heat. Ladle into bowls. Sprinkle with pepper and parsley and thyme, if using.
Make It a Freezer Meal In a labeled gallon-size (4 L) freezer bag, combine chicken broth, celery, carrots, rosemary and parsley. Seal, removing as much air as possible. Place chicken and tortellini in another labeled gallon-size freezer bag. Seal, removing as much air as possible. Place both bags together as a kit, seal and freeze.
Thaw and Cook Place bags in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours or up to 24 hours to thaw. Pour contents of broth bag into a large pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Immediately reduce heat to medium-high and boil for 5 minutes, until carrots and celery are tender. Add chicken and tortellini; season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes, until tortellini are tender and filling is hot. Remove from heat. Ladle into bowls. Sprinkle with pepper and parsley and thyme, if using.
Molten Hot Fudge Lava Cakes
1/2 cup (125 mL) water
1/4 cup (60 mL) butter
1 cup (250 mL) all-purpose flour
1 cup (250 mL) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (60 mL) unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp (3 mL) baking powder
3/4 tsp (3 mL) baking soda
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup (125 mL) milk
11/2 tsp (7 mL) vanilla extract
Additional unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting
1/4 cup (60 mL) heavy or whipping (35%) cream
1/2 cup (125 mL) milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup (125 mL) bittersweet (dark) chocolate chips
- Cakes: Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
- In a small saucepan over high heat, bring water to a boil. Remove from heat. Add butter and stir until melted. Set aside to cool slightly.
- In bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the wire whisk attachment (or in a large bowl, using an electric hand mixer), combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt; beat together on Low for about 30 seconds, just until combined. With the motor running, add eggs, milk and vanilla, then slowly add butter mixture. Increase speed to Medium and beat for about 1 minute, until combined (batter will be thin).
- Grease 6 cavities of 2 silicone 4-cavity fluted mini cake pans (1 cup/250 mL capacity per cavity) and lightly dust with cocoa powder. Place prepared pans on a baking sheet. Pour batter into prepared cavities until half full (leave the other two empty).
- Bake in preheated oven for 22 to 30 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then transfer cakes to a wire rack to cool.
- Ganache Filling: In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring cream almost to a boil. Remove from heat. Add milk chocolate chips and bittersweet chocolate chips; stir until melted. Let cool for 5 minutes.
- Using a spoon, drizzle half the chocolate mixture over cakes. Set aside remaining mixture to cool until thick and smooth, about 30 minutes.
- Using a piping bag, pipe chocolate mixture into insides of cakes, leaving a dollop of chocolate on top. (You can also do this with a spoon.)
Make It Now Place each cake on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave, one at a time, on High for 20 to 30 seconds, until chocolate is bubbling out the top. Serve hot.
Make It a Freezer Meal Place filled cakes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze for 1 to 2 hours, until solid. Remove from freezer. Wrap each cake in plastic wrap, then place cakes in 2 labeled gallon-size (4 L) freezer bags. Seal, removing as much air as possible, and freeze.
Reheat Remove cakes from freezer and remove plastic wrap. Place each cake on a microwave-safe plate and, one at a time, microwave on High for 45 seconds, until chocolate is bubbling out the top. Serve hot.