Friday, October 03, 2008

A Weekend Spent in the Kitchen

So the other day Julie and I were discussing about how tiring it is to work all day and then come home and have to make dinner. The worst part is getting home and wondering, "what am I going to make and do I even have the stuff to make it?" We agreed that it would be SO MUCH easier if the guys would come up with the dinner idea and at the very least defrost the meat that is usually involved. I suggested this to John and much to my surprise he was all over the idea. The next day I had 16 meals (I asked for 4 a week) in my hand. A lot of them were casseroles or bakes so I decided I would try something new - freezer cooking.

I got my shopping list in hand, headed out to Costco and HEB, and hopefully will only need to make trips for fresh vegetables and things for the rest of the month.

I started off with beef and pasta dishes because I had some chicken, but it needed to be shredded. So I threw some chicken breasts into the crockpot with some water on high while I did my other dishes.

I started with some rubs while I waited for 2 lbs of lean ground beef to brown and for some pasta to boil.

Pork chops were on sale so I portioned out one half that I'll just grill regularly one day. The other set I put a spice rub on:

1 1/2 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp packed brown sugar
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Mix all ingredients and rub!

I also did a rub on a brisket that I'll later throw into the crockpot. It's a variation of this recipe. The rub is what I used, but when I put it in the crockpot it will be with bottled BBQ sauce and brown sugar.

By this time my ground beef was ready to go. I added some minced garlic and Italian seasoning to it while I browned it since it was all going into Italian dishes. I also used Low Fat or Fat Free versions of all cheeses and lean ground beef in all the recipes. Gotta cut the fat out where you can!

Baked Ziti was the first since it required the least amount of work.

Notice the plastic wrap and the foil? I had 5 bakes that I planned on making today - that's a lot of pans to give up! So to reclaim your pan you line it first with foil and then with plastic wrap. Put your dish (it should be cool since you're not actually cooking anything) on top of the plastic wrap. Wrap it first and then wrap it again with the foil (it's very easy even though it doesn't sound like it) and voila!

Be sure to label your items (although I will most likely go back and add another foil layer for extra protection). Throw this into the freezer and when it's frozen, take the foil wrapped pack out and you can have your pan back. When it comes time to cook, defrost in the fridge during the day, remove the plastic and foil and put it back into it's original pan to cook.

Using my ground beef I also did baked spaghetti and lasagna.

Then I moved on to chicken. I realized that I forgot to buy enchilada sauce so there went one more of my casseroles. My other two dishes called for raw, cubed chicken so my cooked and shredded chicken just were not going to work out. So I decided to make some salsa chicken, but added some black beans. I'll probably throw this in the fridge in the morning and then throw it in a pot when I get home. I also used FF cream of chicken this time around too.

I also did another recipe I found on Weight Watchers and is only 5 pts a serving.

It's a Chicken and Stuffing Green Bean Casserole.

You mix 2 chicken breasts, 1 can Fat Free Cream of Mushroom Soup, 2 cans of Green Beans and put it into a pan. You make the stuffing according to the directions on the box and top the green bean/soup/chicken mixture. Cover and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Remove foil and then bake for another 5-10 or until chicken is cooked through.

To finish off the day I made Bruschetta Chicken which is one of John's favorites.

I probably worked in the kitchen for about 4 hours total, but that's a lot of meals to have around. Plus since it's just the two of us there will be TONS of leftovers!

1 comment:

  1. You've inspired me to do some cooking on Sunday and be a good WW member. Great job Faith!


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