Freezer Chicken Fajita Marinade Tutorial

 

I’ve been taking advantage of the warmer weather and continue to grill our chicken for various dishes. I’m still buying chicken on sale, $2 or less a pound. I throw the marinade together and freeze the chicken in the marinade for  future grilling.

I’m using two family packs of chicken to marinate.

I butterfly the breasts so they receive a good coating as they thaw. I also trim any excess fat.  The chicken is prepped and set aside.

Next I prepare the recipe below in a large glass measuring cup. This easily pours into three bags. Don’t forget to date and label your bags before you fill them.  Even though I’m grilling it all at the same time, three bags thaw quicker than one gallon size bag.

Fajita Chicken or Steak Marinade

a Triple Recipe (modified from ourbestbites.com)

1 cup water

6 T. vegetable oil

6 garlic cloves pressed (don’t have any? use 1 tsp. garlic powder instead)

9 t. vinegar

6 t. soy sauce

6 t. liquid smoke (found in the bbq sauce section of store)

3 t. salt (I use kosher so you may cut in half if you are using regular or leave out since soy sauce has sodium)

1 T. chili powder

1 tsp. freshly ground pepper (3/4 tsp. ground pepper)

1 t. onion powder (you could substitute a few tablespoons of fresh minced onion too)

I divide the chicken among the three bags along with the marinade. I eyeball it. No exact measuring involved. It

appears to be a little under 2 cups total, so around 3/4 cup per bag if you want to get mathematical.

 

I give the marinade a good whirl with the whisk to mix in everything right before I pour. The weight of the chicken holds the bags steady as I pour and then I squeeze as much air out as possible being careful not to squeeze out the marinade.

Now that was easy. The three bags lie flat in my freezer and take up less space than the original packages. I’m going to have moist delicious chicken ready to grill without having to deal with frozen chicken or spices. I’m ready to thaw it all out and grill all three bags and have a grilled chicken dinner one night. I cool, dice and bag the remaining chicken. 4 cups are reserved for enchiladas the next day. The rest of the diced chicken is portioned in 1-cup portions in quart size bags. I used these throughout the month for various recipes, such as quesadillas, pizza, tacos and more.

What recipes would you use your chicken for?

Menu Plan 10/31-11/6

I make chicken enchiladas when chicken goes on sale (under $2 a pound). I’ll marinate the chicken first and grill it as a meal and cut up the rest for enchildas and freeze bags of diced, cooked chicken for other meals. Enchildas can be frozen uncooked and baked for a potluck. This is our family favorite casserole so I make three pans about every 4-6 weeks.

Sunday-Crockpot turkey Chili got pushed from Sat. to Sun, cornbread

Monday-breakfast bar-eggs, frozen homemade biscuits, applesauce, turkey sausage

Tuesday-Tacos, carrots, pintos (from the freezer) and cheese

Wednesday-soup, grilled cheese, carrot sticks

Thursday-Grilled Chicken, sweet potatoes, salad, garlic bread

Friday-PNO potluck-taking enchildas and undecided dessert

Saturday-manicotti from the freezer, green beans, garlic bread

Snacks: Cinnamon rolls https://cookandplay.wordpress.com/2010/10/05/freezer-baking-47-cinnamon-rolls/(freeze some)

Weekly Dessert: Sweet Potato poundcake or slab apple pie?

Baked Italian Meatballs-8 dozen for the freezer

Meatballs

I finally got a tutorial together. I hope this is helpful. This is my son dressed as an old man for Fall Festival!

10/26/10-Ground beef is on sale at Harris Teeter ($1.77) and Ingles $1.88 this week so I’m making a double bubble batch. If you go early in the morning you may get a reduced price from the day before (which is perfectly safe) if you make your meatballs and freeze them within 24 hours. Don’t let it sit in your fridge a while and then do it. If you don’t have time to make meatballs, you can freeze the meat and then thaw, cook and refreeze cooked.

I had two 3.5 pound packages of meat so I divided one into three pounds with a knife. Then I split one of the 1 pound parts in half and added it to my large 3,5 package and I had 4 pounds of meat for a double bubble recipe. The other two parts were devoted to tacos for the kids (went into the freezer).

First I measure  dry seasonings and beaten eggs and add this to the mixer. Then I mix until the oatmeal is moistened. You can also use bread.

I add the beef  and you can tell my mixer is full so I carefully mix it slow-just on the stir mode in short intervals (stopping and starting) until the beef starts to mix. Mix it until the fat is distributed. Gross, huh? You could do this by hand, if you’re not afraid of fat and lots of dishwashing liquid and hot water at the end.

Then I use my handy dandy notebook (just kidding); I’ve been hearing too many blues clues episodes. I love this scoop for everything. I never roll my meatballs or measure. I just use the scoop and scrape off the excess on the side of the bowl.

This step could be omitted, but foil catches the grease and you can throw it away when you’re done. It’s harsh on your septic pipes, especially without hot, hot water rinsing it down. It makes clean-up easier (I should work for a Reynolds).

 

I’ve scooped about eight dozen onto a rimmed cookie sheet and a 9×13 baking dish (you need it to be rimmed to keep the grease contained).

 I label and date my freezer bags while the meatballs are baking. I prefer the non-slider bags because they squeeze out more air, but this is what I had for some reason.

 Remove meatballs when they are done. I baked a double recipe for about 25 minutes (use a timer). Then allow them to cool  completely (cool to the touch-about 20 minutes or longer if you have time) on a plate with paper towels to drain excess fat. I’m using cloth napkins because I don’t use paper towels. I love using a tong because I can easily grab several meatballs at a time and it’s a great tool for loading them into the freezer bag.

 I put approximately 12 meatballs (4 per person) in a bag. I roll the air out by rolling the meatballs toward the zipper and then I seal the zipper. It’s almost like a vacuum seal. Like I said earlier, the slider bags don’t get as much of the air out 😦

 I have eight bags for various meals throughout the month! See the meal ideas below and add your own. Double the ingredients below if you plan to make a double bubble recipe (it’s worth the effort and it requires no extra time).

Ingredients:

 1 egg, beaten

¾ cup soft breadcrumbs (about 1 slice) or ¾ cup rolled oats

1/3 cup milk

1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon garlic powder

1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning

2 pounds ground turkey or beef
Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl.  Mix on low speed for about 1 minute or use your hands to thoroughly mix.  Shape meatballs using a 1” scoop.  Place all on a single layer pan or 9×13 pans with rims.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  Remove and drain on paper towels and let cool about 30 minutes until cool to the touch.  Label and date quart size bags. Divide approximately 40 meatballs among bags; 4-5 meatballs person.

Have you found a good sale on meat? Under $2 is a great buy. Double Bubble this recipe with 5 pounds of meat by doubling all the above  ingredients and make creative meatball meals all month long.

Baking Day:

Thaw completely for 24 hours. Reheat on a microwave safe dish for 10 minutes or until hot or bake in 350 degree oven for  15-20 minutes. Top with warmed marinara sauce if desired.

Meal ideas:

  •  Meatball subs with provolone
  • Meatballs and spaghetti
  • Meatballs and mashed potatoes
  • Meatball pizza
  • Meatball panani sandwich
  • Meatball appetizers
  • Sweet and Sour Meatballs served over rice
  • Meatball calzones

Do you have any other ideas to add to our list?

Printable Recipe for Meatballs

Menu Plan 10/24-10/30

Hubby was camping with our oldest son, so the rest of us went to 2 fall festivals. Caleb rode his first horse with sissy. A friend invited us to her church for potluck last night so I had a night off from cooking.

I’ve had very few weeks of sticking to the menu plan, but that’s what’s so glorious about having one. You can switich it up how ever you want because you have a PLAN.  Here’s what we’ll be eating for dinner this week.

Sun-PNO (parent’s night out for us and kids eat in) grilled cheese and soup

Mon-Double recipe pinto beans, sweet potatoes, fresh spinach, cornbread (freeze leftover cornbread for Saturday)

I’ll be sharing how to make dried beans and freeze for items, like chili or burritos. I’m making southwest burritos during freezer cooking class on Thursday so these pinto beans will be converted into refried beans, which I’ll share.

Tues-Chicken Enchiladas http://www.crisco.com/Recipes/Details.aspx?recipeID=1702  and apple crisp (from the freezer) to take to potluck-another night off from cooking 🙂

Wed-Cowboy Chicken quesadillas from http://www.ourbestbites.com/2010/10/cowboy-quesadillas.html

Thurs-Spaghetti with freezer sauce, garlic bread, salad

Fri-Grilled Homemade Pizza (I may change my mind since I’ve eaten pizza twice at church this past weekend; we shall see)

Saturday-Double recipe Turkey chili and leftover cornbread from Mon. (freeze extra chili for another night)

Snacks: Apple Muffins from http://www.lynnskitchenadventures.com/2009/09/apple-muffins.html  smoothies, popcorn, homemade trail mix with pretzels, goldfish and chocolate chips

Freezing homemade chocolate chip cookies

Once again, I like to double my chocolate chip cookie dough and freeze a portion for fresh cookies whenever we want. I also like to make extra for the kid’s lunches.
Sometimes I will bake extra cookies and freeze the baked cookies to keep them fresh for a while. This is a great way to keep them fresh for lunches for a week or two.

Other times, I will measure out the cookie dough with my stainless steel scoop and put as many as I can on a chopping board. This goes straight into my freezer for an hour or so until they are solid. Then I pop them into a freezer bag with the temperature on the bag and the number of minutes to bake just in case hubby gets a craving or unexpected company comes and we need a sweet treat. One time, we baked a batch when we found out about a birthday. Then we put the cooled cookies into a pretty tin with a ribbon and gave it as a birthday present. Whew, saved by freezer cooking.

Either method works well to keep the cookies fresh. Plus it allows you to have preservative free cookies fresh from the oven anytime. It’s worth it to have extra butter and chocolate chips on hand to make a double batch to freeze!

Double batch recipe

Ingredients:

2 cups sugar

2 cups firmly packed brown sugar

4 sticks butter, softened (defrost in microwave for 15-30 seconds)

4 eggs

2 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. salt

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

3 cups white whole wheat flour (we like King Arthur or use 6 cups Eagle Mills)

4 tsp. vanilla

(2) 12-ounce bags of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Cream 4 sticks butter with 2 cups white sugar and 2 cups brown sugar. Add 4 eggs. Add dry ingredients and mix until combined. Add 4 tsp. vanilla and mix in chocolate chips.  Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto baking sheet about 2 inches apart.  Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes. Cool one minute and remove from baking sheet and cool on wire racks. Freeze extra cookie dough balls to enjoy later.

Buying ahead plus freezer cooking pays off

I normally shop on Fridays and plan for next week’s dinner meals on Thursday. This week I am trying to eat from our freezer. We have an abundance to choose from and we still have some produce from this week so our shopping will be very minimal. My husband picked up a bag of frozen talipia to add to our freezer meals. I’ll post our easy talipia recipe later. I grill the fish in the summer and pan fry in olive oil in the colder months.

All of our meals are from the freezer this upcoming week. Without further due, here it is.

Sun-Veggie Pita pizza

Mon-Frozen homemade waffles, fried eggs, homemade applesauce

Tues-Black Bean Casserole, chips and salsa

Wed-Hotdogs and sweet potatoes

Thurs-Asian Honey Sesame Chicken and brown rice, green beans

Fri-Movie Night at church (pizza provided)

Sat-Chicken Enchiladas and Green beans

Remember the parents and the two year-old have leftovers and/or sandwiches for lunch.

I pack the school kids’ lunches four days out of the week and rotate their sandwiches made from bagels, bread, pitas and/or tortillas. They will get an apple, sweet treat, yogurt and chips or crackers.

We rotate cereal, oatmeal, eggs and toast for breakfast. I hope this helps:) Look for more menus each week.

Apple Crisp

Here is my apple crisp I love to make in the Fall. I’ve adapted this recipe from a Family Fun magazine years ago.

Ingredients:

8-9 cups peeled, cored and sliced apples (about 7-8 apples) we like the Rome apples and the Farmer’s Mkt size equal 5-6 because they are huge

1 Tablespoon lemon juice (I leave out if I’m cooking right away or I use if I’m freezing it)

Topping:

1 cup white whole wheat flour (I like King Arthur or Eagle Mills)

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (quick oats work too)

1/3 cup sugar (which I would leave out if you are using Rome, tart apples might require this)

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1 Tablespoon cinnamon

1/2 cup cold, butter, cut up into 1/4 inch chunks (1 stick)

1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional but rich in Omega 3

Directions:

Heat oven to 375. Spread apples in a 9×13 casserole. Sprinkle lemon juice over if desired. Combine topping ingredients and toss. Add butter and use your fingers to rub in the butter until you have pea size crumbs (like homemade biscuits) Mix in walnuts if desired or throw on top.

Spread the topping evenly over apples and press down gently with palm of hand. Bake 45-50 minutes until juice is bubbling around edges. Serve with real vanilla ice cream, whipped topping or a splash of half and half if you want a real treat or eat this plain for a nutritious breakfast with scrambled eggs. Enjoy!

Don’t forget to double bubble and make 2. You can freeze this crisp. Thaw the night before and increase your baking time to one hour. I made 4 loaf pans from one recipe. Several to give away and several to keep:)

Your pan might look like this and smell like cinnamon when you’re done!

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