Almost Vacation Time-- Freeze and Take Meals?
Okay hounds-- here's the challenge. Every July my family of four rents a lovely cottage at the beach. In theory and often in practice this is better than a hotel-- but-- although I like to cook, I do not want to spend the entire vaca doing so. I like to make several dinners, freeze them and carry them up in a cooler. Pop in oven at 425 and relax on deck with a glass of wine! So-- need some new recipes/ideas. My chowpups eat nearly everything, as does dh. Prefer lighter veg/chick/fish as it will be warm. I usually do a few entree salads-- nicoise, crab, etc-- so ideas on those are welcome as well.
TIA and to all other chowmoms-- good luck with the pups out of school!!
I second Weezycom's boneless skinless chicken suggestion. The best part is it's really healthy and low fat.
We do it with chicken and other meats as well to mix it up, and like to keep it really simple. We will usually use several different spice blends on our chicken breasts so you have a variety of flavors to choose from later. You basically pat down each chicken breast with seasoning, wrap it individually in plastic wrap, put several into a freezer bag, and mark the bag with the name of the seasoning. You can find many more detailed instructions here: http://www.inapinchspices.com/recipes...
Obviously you don't need to use our blends, as any type you like will work. The most important thing to remember is to buy fresh chicken breast, season it and freeze it right away. This will retain the best flavor.
Look up Muffelatta Sandwiches. If I were going to plan meals for a family, I'd definitely do it. Round loaf of bread, chopped olive spread which could probably be made ahead, layered sandwich meat/cheese. You make one big round sandwich then cut it like a pie.
First time I ate one I was visiting a home in NO - I didn't know the people well so I was the perfect guest. I never liked olives, so when she served it up and said what it was, I was in horror! Being a perfect guest, however, I didn't say anything and closed my eyes. It was great!
I still don't like olives, but chopped like that in a paste they were ok.
I like flour tortillas with hummus or a rondele italian cream cheese clone spread with lunch meat and veggies - makes a great wrap. Hummus and the spread can be made ahead also and last several days.
I was looking the other day on the Nabiscoworld.com website and it looked like they had alot of spread type recipes - anything good on a cracker would probably be good on a tortilla with lunch meat. :D
An easy dish is boneless skinless chicken (either thighs or breasts, but for even cooking don't mix types) on the bottom of a roasting dish in an even layer. Easy to use an aluminum toss-away pan for freezing & carrying along. Mix together equal parts grated parm and Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs such as Progresso (about 2 cups each for six medium-sized breasts). Add olive oil a little at a time to the parm/breadcrumb mixture and stir until it looks like wet sand. Sprinkle evenly over chicken and pat down so it sticks to the chicken. Cover & freeze. Take green beans and tip & tail them. Make a combo of 1 Tb. dijon mustard, 1 Tb. honey, 1 teaspoon sesame oil and coat the beans. You can freeze this, too.
To cook, stick chicken from freezer into 400 degree oven for about 40 minutes. Stick the beans in frozen in a separate pan at the 20-minute mark. Stir the beans about halfway through.
Pulled pork in BBQ sauce. Reheat for sandwiches and serve with coleslaw.
Salmon loaf. Baked and pre-sliced, layered in casserole dish with tomato sauce.
Serve with spinach salad (or put spinach in your tomato sauce).
Chicken strips in garlic butter. Serve with spinach fettuccine.
Also, there are lots of "breakfast casseroles" that are designed to be made the night before, but that's not to say you couldn't assemble one in the morning and let it soak in the fridge all day and have it for dinner. Take your pre-sauteed sausage or bacon, corned beef or whatever protein with you frozen. Even freeze the bread and shredded cheese.
I'm thinking cold soup like gazpacho, but I don't know that that would freeze well or that the pups would be happy. Maybe take it fresh and spike with vodka as an appy for you and DH on an early day in the week. Add freshly chunked avocado and pre-cooked shrimp for a main dish, and serve with garlic bread if the kids will go for it.
And local, vine-ripened tomatoes as often as possible!