Freezer Meal Fridays - Handmade in the Heartland

Freezer Meal Fridays

I don't know if you've heard about this cook for a day, eat for a month, freezer meal philosophy, but about 8 months ago when i first heard about it i got really into it. I tried it, and then i quit. Cooking 10 different meals in one day is a marathon, and really not so fun. Then i talked with my sister-in-law Cynthia who tipped me off to the fabulously organized cookbook Frozen Assets, Lite and Easy, she breaks recipes down into groups and tells you how much to chop, slice & dice for each set of 4-5 recipes. It's a much easier way to make several meals on your own.
But really the very very best way to do freezer meals is a freezer meal group. Some friends and I do one once a month and basically you make one meal - this month i did a hamburger stew- and then you make enough of it for however many families are in the group- for us 7. Then on swap day you all swap, so you go home with 6 different meals. I'm telling you it is the very best way to do it. Instead of standing for 8 hours making 7-8 meals, it takes me about 2 hours to make 7 of the same meal. Totally genius. Because i like to make things cute, i whipped up a cute little label to stick on the containers of the meals i make. I thought since this is my first "Freezer Meal Friday" post i would include it here for you to download and use yourself. I buy the Office Max brand of 8.5 x 11 White Full Sheet Labels and print them off right on my home printer. Click HERE to go to the google doc and download.

I forgot to take a photo this week, but here is my recipe for Hamburger Stew. It was surprisingly delicious comfort food. It makes 15 cups, i freeze it in 5 cup portions.

2 pounds ground beef

2 medium onions, chopped

4 cans stewed tomatoes

8 medium carrots, sliced thinly

2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped

2 cups water

1 bag frozen corn

½ cup uncooked rice

1 tablespoon salt

1 tsp pepper

1 tsp chili powder

In a large pot cook beef and onions over medium heat until no longer pink, drain. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30 minutes, Uncover; simmer 20-30 minutes longer or until thickened.

To Freeze:

Freeze in 5 cup portions for up to 3 months.

To cook after frozen:

Thaw in fridge for 24 hours. Transfer to a saucepan; add 1 cup water and cook until hot and bubbly.

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