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Freezer Cooking for Back To School

Back to school season can be so hectic, so take a little time the month before to plan and prep these easy family dinners with freezer cooking.

So what can I do to make it easier? I'm doing freezer cooking to get through the back to school transition.

Oh, back to school season. It's a transition for me as well as the kids. We're back to the rush of packing lunches, packing backpacks, finding shoes, a new school (for 2 of the 3), homework…

Afterschool to dinnertime is a busy time, even on nights with no extra-curriculars. We have our routine–the kids do their homework, then their chores, and I spend time with them at the table. Most days, dinner needs to be ready or already cooking (love my crockpot meals!).

So what can I do to make it easier? I'm doing freezer cooking to get through the back to school transition.

Freezer Cooking Casseroles for Back to School | MoneywiseMoms
Double Up
I had time last week to make Spinach Stuffed Shells for dinner, so I just boiled the whole box of shells (the recipe only calls for half) and doubled up the filling. I laid the second set out on a cookie sheet in the freezer until hard, then put them in a zipper bag. Next time we want shells, I can just layer them in a baking dish with sauce and mozzarella and bake. No work needs to be done!

This double-up concept works great for any type of casserole or meal with lots of prep–take the time now so you can save it later. My family's favorites are:

Costco Pork Loin | Freezer Cooking for Back to School | MoneywiseMoms
Freezer to Crockpot
I use a four-pack of pork loin roasts ($1.99/lb at Costco, which is my price point for meat), and put each in a zipper freezer bag with sauce. Each of these can go straight into the crockpot right from the freezer. My favorite four freezer-to-crockpot recipes (you could substitute chicken thighs if you prefer) are:

Teriyaki Pork: Chop an onion and add to the pork in the bag along with 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp minced garlic and 1 tsp ginger. Cook on low 8-10 hours. Serve on rice with a veggie like broccoli or green beans.

BBQ Pork Sandwiches: Chop an onion and add to the pork in the bag along with a bottle of barbeque sauce (or make your own). Cook on low 6-8 hours. Shred and serve on whole wheat hamburger buns with a side salad and corn.

Shredded Pork Tacos: Chop an onion (see a pattern here?) and add to the pork in the bag along with a jar of salsa (red or green) or a can of diced tomatoes with green chiles. Cook on low 8-10 hours. Shred and serve with tortillas and taco fixings, or as a “taco bowl” with rice and beans.

Honey Parmesan Pork: To freezer bag, add 1/2 cup honey, 2/3 cup Parmesan cheese, 3 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce, 2 Tbsp basil, 2 Tbsp minced garlic and 1/2 tsp salt. Mix in bag, then add pork. On this recipe, it matters that you defrost the bag before putting in the slow cooker, since you want to be able to turn the roast to fully coat with the sauce. Cook on low 6-8 hours. I serve this over rice with a veggie on the side.

By doing this once a month, I have one pork meal a week ready to go, and if I forget to defrost, that's okay (except for that last one). They just cook all day in the slow cooker and dinner is ready when we are. Easy peasy.

Freezer Cooking for Back to School | MoneywiseMoms

 What are some meals you like to freeze for later?

Linked up to Whatever Goes Wednesday at Someday Crafts, Fluster's Creative Muster Party at Fluster Buster, Pinterest Foodie at Real: The Kitchen and Beyond, SITS Girls, and Yes Works for Me at We Are That Family.

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Friday 5th of September 2014

[…] Freezer Cooking for Back to School @Money Wise Moms […]

Tammi

Wednesday 3rd of September 2014

I love my crockpot and pork is the best for slow cooking. My family loved BBQ's pork sandwiches. I cannot wait to try your freezer recipes. Wrestling and ballet season are upon us (my family) which means no time to cook a decent dinner at night. Thanks for the help!

Andrea B (@goodgirlgonered)

Wednesday 27th of August 2014

Excellent looking recipes. Seriously. I stink at freezer prep, though, so can you come to my house and make some? :)

That broccoli rice casserole looks delicious.

Gina

Wednesday 27th of August 2014

I know, it sounds like a lot, Andrea. But seriously--open package of pork, squirt in bottle of BBQ sauce. Done. I promise :)

Heather Hernandez

Wednesday 27th of August 2014

Just printed your Broccoli Rice Casserole! I'm lovin' my Crock-Pot right now too, makes dinner prep go so much faster for school nights.

Gina

Wednesday 27th of August 2014

Love the slow cooker, but we get tired of the "texture" sometimes. I'm so glad we can use the oven for some of these casseroles once the weather cools down!

Susie

Tuesday 26th of August 2014

Hi Gina I am gluten free too and am wondering if you have frozen gluten free pasta (baked ziti) - I love the idea of freezer meals but I am afraid gf pasta would turn to mush... Thanks for the advise Susie

Gina

Tuesday 26th of August 2014

I know what you mean. I cooked with GF pasta for a couple of years. I think I would par-cook it, then (just go halfway). I don't remember freezing pasta meals but definitely did the rice ones. Try the Chicken Chile Casserole--it's already GF and super yummy!

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