Saturday, October 12, 2013

Make Ahead Meals for the Entire Week and More!!!

I abandoned you last week, for that I apologize.  To make it up to you I am providing a double duty menu.  If you have been following me, you know that I LOVE "make ahead freezer meals".  This time I took it to another level.  I have been wanting to make all my dinners on Sunday and use them throughout the week...I finally did it!  It was WONDERFUL!!!

These 10 meals can all be made on Sunday (or any day you choose) in about 3 hours.  You can then use these meals all week long and not have to cook the entire week OR you can save these meals and use them whenever you see fit. 

Please do not be intimidated...the prep for these meals is EASY PEASY.  The ingredients are listed in the recipes making the grocery shopping the most time consuming part. 

*Oh and quick side note: these recipes can even be put in our "theme menu" if you choose...yea I'm that good;)

 Weekly themes are as follows:
  • Mediterranean Monday - We will mostly do Italian or Greek dishes but this day opens you up to try almost any dish. 
  • Tokyo Tuesday - Asian inspired dishes
  • Wrap it Up Wednesday - Wraps, Sandwiches, Burgers, Salads, etc...
  • Taco Thursday - Spanish inspired dishes
  • Free for All Friday - This day is used for leftovers, dining out, or pot luck
  • Slow Cooker/Simmer Saturday
  • Seafood Sunday 
***Saturday and Sunday are interchangeable depending on your families schedule that week.
As always, at the end of each recipe there will be a link to direct you to the site where I found these meals. You can print from the blog page or from the link that I provided.

All these meals prepared in 3 hours!!!

The List
  1. Meatballs
  2. Braciola
  3. Chicken Enchiladas with Pumpkin Cream Sauce
  4. Beef Broccoli
  5. Honey Sesame Chicken
  6. Beer and Beef Stew
  7. Meatloaf
  8. Chicken Fajitas
  9. Mango Pork
  10. Garlic and Brown Sugar Chicken
*Tip: The meatballs require baking so I would prepare these first and while they are baking continue assembling the other meals. 


  • 1 1/2 pounds ground top sirloin 
  • 3/4 pound ground pork      
  • 3/4 pound ground veal      
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed      
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil      
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt      
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper      
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese      
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley      
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten      
  • 1 slice Italian bread, soaked in water      
  • 3/4 cup unseasoned dry bread crumbs      
  • 1/2 cup light olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine top sirloin, pork, veal, extra-virgin olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Add cheese, parsley, and eggs. Squeeze water from bread. Tear into small pieces, and add to meat mixture. Add 3/4 cup bread crumbs; stir to combine.
  3. With damp hands, form 1/4 cup mixture into a ball. Repeat with remaining mixture.
  4. Place meatballs onto a greased rimmed baking sheet.  Bake for 20 minutes, turn meatballs and bake for 20 minutes more.
  5. Let meatballs cool and place in a freezer bag that is labeled.  Freeze until ready to use.
*I usually get around 15 meatballs, this will make 3 meals for my family.  When ready to use I take 5 out and place in my homemade gravy (marinara) and simmer while I cook my pasta of choice.

Crock Pot Braciole w/Spaghetti

  • 1/2 cup dried Italian-style bread crumbs
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano
  • 1/3 cup grated provolone
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (1 1/2-pound) flank steak
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 4-5 cups store-bought marinara sauce, or your own sauce recipe.
  • Salad and/or crusty Italian bread (optional)
  1. Stir the first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl to blend. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the oil. Season mixture with salt and pepper and set aside.
  2. Lay the flank steak flat on the work surface. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture evenly over the steak to cover the top evenly. Starting at 1 short end, roll up the steak as for a jelly roll to enclose the filling completely. Using butcher's twine, tie the steak roll to secure. Sprinkle the braciole with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a heavy large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the braciole and cook until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer meat to a plate to cool.
  4. Add the wine to the pan and bring to a boil to deglaze the pan, then cool.
  5. FREEZING POINT: once braciole is cooled place in a labeled freezer bag with bits from the pan, seal and freeze.  Follow steps 6-9 when ready to eat.
  6. Thaw braciole overnight in fridge, then place in a crockpot in the morning.
  7. Pour the marinara sauce over the braciole and juices from the pan. Cover with lid and cook for 7-8 hours on low.
  8. Thirty minutes before eating cook your pasta, drain.
  9. Remove the braciole from the sauce then add pasta to the sauce, toss to coat. Using a large sharp knife, cut the braciole crosswise and diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Transfer the slices to plates. Spoon the sauce over and serve with pasta.
  10. A small salad and/or crusty bread would be fabulous with this dish.
Serves 4, Ready in 7-8 hours on low
Giada De Laurentiis crockpotbraciole
Chicken Enchiladas w/Pumpkin Cream Sauce

  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 Rotisserie Chicken
  • 0.5 cup pumpkin puree
  • 0.5 cup heavy cream
  • 0.5 cup chicken broth
  • 0.25 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 0.25 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 0.25 teaspoon cumin
  • 0.5 teaspoon salt
  • 0.25 teaspoon pepper
  • 8 medium corn tortillas
  • 1 cup Queso Fresco  (or feta)
  1. Remove chicken from the bones and set aside.
  2. In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion slices. Saute until brown and caramelized, about 5 minutes. Add chicken to pan, mix with onions and remove from heat.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, cream, broth, cinnamon, nutmeg, cumin, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  4. Spoon chicken mixture evenly into tortillas. Roll tortillas tightly, place seam side down in baking dish.
  5. FREEZING POINT: Place pumpkin cream sauce in quart freezer bag. Place Queso Fresco/Feta in another quart freezer bag. Label baking dish, sauce bag and cheese bag. Freeze.
  6. To serve: Thaw. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Pour sauce over chicken enchiladas, sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until top of cheese browns.
  7. Serve with black beans.
Serves 4, Ready in 25 minutes
Once a Month Meals chickenenchiladaswithpumpkincreamsauce

Beef Broccoli
  • 1.5-2 lb. boneless, beef chuck roast, sliced into thin strips
  • 2 cup beef consumme or beef broth
  • 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 4 tbsp. sauce (from the crockpot after dish is cooked)
  • Frozen broccoli florets (as many as desired, I believe I used almost 2 cups)
  • White rice, cooked
  1. Whisk together beef consume, soy sauce, dark brown sugar, sesame oil, and garlic.
  2. In a freezer bag gently place your slices of beef and the liquid, toss to coat. Freeze.
  3. When ready to eat, thaw slightly and place in crockpot.
  4. Turn crockpot on low and cook for 4-6 hours, depending on your crockpot.
  5. When done, in a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and cooking liquid to create a slurry, pour into crockpot, stir to mix well. Cook on low for an additional 30 minutes to thicken up the sauce.
  6. Toss in your broccoli florets then serve hot over white rice.
Serves 4, Ready in 5-6 hours
Table for Two takeoutfakeoutbeefbroccoli

Honey Sesame Chicken
  • 1.5 lb boneless chicken breast
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 1 cup honey
  • 2 T sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 t. pepper

Place all ingredients in freezer bag, toss to coat and freeze.  When ready, place in crockpot and cook on low for 4-5 hours.  Remove chicken & shred, then return to sauce. Serve over hot cooked rice.

Serves 4, Ready in 4-5 hours on low
Baked in the South honeysesamechicken

Beer and Beef Stew

  • 2 lbs. stew beef
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 T butter
  • 2 celery stalks chopped
  • 2 large carrots chopped
  • 1 lb. potatoes chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 T parsley
  • 1 cup dark beer
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1 can tomatoes with green chilis (Like Rotel)
  • 2 t salt
  • 1 t pepper
  1. Season beef with salt & pepper. 
  2. Place all ingredients in large freezer bag except beer and beef stock. 
  3. When ready, place stew mixture in crockpot, add beer and beef stock and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  4. You can serve this over egg noodles.
Serves 4, Ready in 6-8 hours
Baked in the South beerandbeefstew

Slow Cooker Meatloaf

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs or crushed butter crackers
  • 1 package onion soup mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 3 T. worcestershire sauce
  • 2 T. steak sauce (A-1 sauce)
  • 1/4 cup chopped onions
  1. Combine all ingredients for meatloaf and form into a round loaf. 
  2. Pack it really well to ensure the meatloaf is firm and not mushy. 
  3. Place into a freezer bag and freeze. 
  4. When ready, place meatloaf in bottom of crockpot.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  5. 30 minutes before meatloaf is ready, prepare mashed potatoes and a veggie.
Serves 4, Ready in 6-8 Hours
Baked in the South slowcookermeatloaf

Chicken Fajitas
  • 8 Chicken Tenders or 1.5 lb. Chicken Breast
  • 1 medium onion sliced
  • 1 medium green pepper sliced
  • 2 cups of salsa
  • 1 can of green chiles
  • 1 package of fajita seasoning (old elpaso)
  • 2 T. olive oil
  1. Place all items in freezer bag. Toss and freeze flat. 
  2. When ready to cook place all ingredients in crockpot and cook for 6 hours on low or 4 hours on high.
  3. Remove chicken from mix, shred and then add back into the mix.
  4. Serve with warm tortillas and top with salsa, guacamole, shredded lettuce, sour cream and shredded cheese.  You can also serve with Spanish rice and/or beans.
Serves 4, Ready in 6 hours on low
Baked in the South chickenfajitas

Mango Pork
  • 1.5 lbs Pork Loin or Tenderloin
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • .5 teaspoon kosher salt
  • .5 teaspoons black pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons corn starch
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • .5 cups apple juice
  • 16 ounce package DOLE frozen mango
  1. In a large freezer bag place all ingredients except DOLE frozen mango.
  2. Mix well and freeze. 
  3. To serve: Thaw. Place in slow cooker. Add DOLE frozen mango. Cook on HIGH for 4-6 hours or LOW 7-9 hours.
  4. Serve with rice or starch of choice.
Serves 4-6, Ready in 7-9 hours on low
Once a Month Meals slowcookermangopork
Garlic and Brown Sugar Chicken

  • 4-6 chicken breasts (or thighs would work great too!)
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup vinegar
  • 1/4 cup lemon-lime soda
  • 2-3 Tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons corn starch
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • Rice or noodles, cooked
  • Red pepper flakes (optional)
  1. Place chicken (I used frozen chicken, thawed chicken works great too) inside a freezer bag.
  2. Mix together brown sugar, vinegar, soda, garlic, soy sauce, and pepper together. Pour into bag with chicken. Label bag and freeze.
  3. To serve, thaw slightly and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4 hours.
  4. Take chicken pieces out of slow cooker (mine basically fell apart) and pour remaining sauce into saucepan. Place saucepan over high heat.
  5. Mix together corn starch and water, pour into saucepan, and mix well. Let sauce come to a boil and boil for 2-3 minutes, or until it starts to thicken and turns into a glaze. Remove from heat and let sit for a minute or two (it will continue to thicken as it cools down).
  6. Serve chicken over rice or noodles and top with glaze. Sprinkle red pepper flakes on top if desired.
Serves 4, Ready in 6-8 hours on low
Six Sisters Stuff slowcookergarlicandbrownsugar

After this your crock pot will be your best friend.


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