it’s day 12 on my WHOLE 30 journey and things have been put on hold for a few days while i’m home taking care of my mom. she broke her shoulder and it’s in a sling, and all we could do was focus on that for the last few days.
however, typical of the women in my family ~ i was here for less than 24 hours and already drummed up a few projects. i love to lay around and watch HGTV when i’m at my mom’s house, but not unless there’s a pot of something yummy simmering on the stove!
she will only have the use of one arm, so cooking might be really annoying. and especially cleaning! but then, cleaning is always annoying.
so we cleaned out her fridge and freezers to make room for some pre-made, healthy, yummy meals!
TAKE YOUR FREEZER BACK WITH THESE PRE-COOKED, DELICIOUS FREEZER MEALS!
she’s not very hungry right now, but when my mom starts to feel better, she’s gonna have a whole restaurant in her freezer!
this is the way we should all live. when we get home from the grocery store, we should just make all the food and freeze it in individual baggies for easy living the whole next month. it’s hard for a day, but then easy for a long time after that!
here’s what has been cookin’ in my mom’s kitchen:
SHRIMP GUMBO: mom had some shrimp in the freezer, as well as some pineapple/pork sausages that she loves. i took those out and added fresh pineapple, veggies, canned tomatoes, and cajun spices for a super easy comfort food, served over rice.
*TIP: did you know you can freeze rice? i’m making a huge batch of wild rice with toasted pecans, and will freeze it in 1/2 cup portions.
VEGETABLE SOUP PROVENCAL: this is my favorite vegetable soup. it’s silky and rich and colorful. here’s the recipe. you’ve gotta try this!! https://pixyskansascity.com/2017/01/05/vegetable-soup-provencal/
*TIP: when you’re freezing this soup, freeze the fresh herbs, mixed with olive oil, in an ice cube tray. you don’t want to cook those gorgeous green herbs. also, i only added the green beans and tomatoes in the last few minutes, to keep them bright, even after freezing and reheating.
ROASTED POTATOES: did you know you can freeze already chopped and seasoned potatoes? i LOVE this! just chop up your potatoes, divide them up in small ziplock bags, add salt, pepper, a seasoning mix of your choice, and a drizzle of olive oil to coat the potatoes. massage the bags to mix together and throw them in the freezer. when it’s time to eat, pull out the potatoes and place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. defrost them in the oven WHILE the oven is preheating to 400 degrees. when the potatoes have thawed, spread them all over the pan and roast until golden brown. 30-45 minutes. GENIUS!!!
my mom has requested the same thing with sweet potatoes. good idea!
NAVY BEANS: freezing beans is brilliant. they actually become even more flavorful! cooking and freezing beans ensures that you have a quick meal when you’re in a pinch. and heating up a bowl of beans is a lot faster and healthier than ordering chinese.
all you need is a bag of dried beans, veggie stock, and salt and pepper. that’s it! you can soak them overnight, but i always boil them in water for a minute, then let them sit for an hour. drain and rinse, add veggie stock, salt and pepper, and cook until done (time depends on the type of bean). don’t season them if you want to use them in different ways. just use the recipe on the bag.
PULLED PORK: seems like the best way to have an abundance of meat at your fingertips. we’re going to freeze this in individual bags as well. we used a pioneer woman recipe, but added stone ground mustard to the recipe for a more german, tangy flavor.
we also used a pork loin, because my mom prefers that. and she already had it in her freezer.
COCONUT MACAROONS: i can’t stop eating these. i think these will freeze really well. mom had a couple big bags of coconut in the freezer, so all we needed was sweetened condensed milk!
- preheat oven to 375.
- mix a bag of coconut with half a can of sweetened condensed milk, and a teaspoon of vanilla.
- if you still have some dry coconut, pour in some more condensed milk.
- roll into balls and bake on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. bake for 10-12 minutes.
is that not the easy cookie recipe ever? drizzle with dark chocolate if you like MOUNDS BARS!
TOMATO SOUP: this is too easy for words. but it’s so comforting to know my mom will have a hearty, hot tomato soup that’s not from a can. there’s too much sodium in those canned soups.
- saute an onion in coconut oil until translucent. add some garlic and cook for a minute.
- add a little white wine and deglaze the pan. let the wine cook out.
- add a can of san marzano tomatoes (or 2 cans if you want a lot!)
- add a cup of veggie broth.
- add your favorite seasonings, like thyme, oregano, salt and pepper.
- meanwhile, toast 1-2 tablespoons of caraway seeds in a dry pan. ground them in a spice grinder and add them to the soup.
- simmer on the stove for 15-20 minutes.
i’m also making some adzuki bean veggie burgers, but i’m not convinced they’ll be good. i’ll post them if they are!
i hope this post will motivate you to use your freezer in a different way than i think we americans learned to use it. putting large pieces of unprepared meat into the freezer, or already-frozen vegetables from the grocery store, can give you a feeling of doom when you look in your freezer for ideas. but if you pre-make the meals and THEN freeze them, it can be so liberating!
happy eating, mom!
we kept chopping veggies and making soups for another day, and here’s what the freezer looked like by the time i left:
WAAAHOOO!! she’s set for months!