Sure, you’d love to have a home-cooked dinner every night of the week, but who really has time to spend an hour making dinner once they get home from work? Answer: you do! With these twelve foods to make and freeze you’ll be able to put together a delicious dinner every night of the week, but in half that time.
Foods To Make In Bulk And Freeze
- Ground beef (1/2 lb. per family member)
- Boneless, skinless chicken breasts (3 per family member)
- Spaghetti noodles (8 oz. dry pasta per family member)
- Lettuce (1-2 heads)
- Tomatoes (1 per family member)
- Broccoli (2 heads)
- Cauliflower (2 heads)
- Black beans (1/3 can per family member)
- Cheddar cheese (3 oz. per family member)
- 2 carrots per family member
- 2 stalks celery per family member
- 2 yellow onions
One Hour Of Cooking, All Week Eating
What if you could get most of your week’s dinner prep out of the way in just one hour? With these twelve foods, and some concentration, you can do just that. Here’s how:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
2. For each pound of pasta you’ll be cooking, bring 5 quarts of water to boil in a very large pot. Liberally salt the water.
3. While the water comes to a boil, arrange the chicken breasts in greased baking pans. (Use more than one pan if need to avoid crowding.) Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes, or until they reach 180F.
4. While the chicken bakes, brown the ground beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat until fully cooked. Remove 1/3 to an airtight container and freeze it. Add taco seasoning to what’s left in the pan, simmer until the liquid’s absorbed, and divide it between two containers. Freeze one.
5. As soon as the water reaches a boil, add the pasta and stir well. Cook it until it’s just starting to soften (the stage before al dente). Drain, then toss it with a very small amount of olive oil so the noodles don’t stick. Divide in half and freeze in separate airtight containers.
6. Wash, then dice the tomatoes and remove the seeds. Store them in an airtight container in the fridge.
7. Wash, then separate the broccoli and the cauliflower into florets and store them separately in the fridge.
8. Drain and rinse the black beans, then transfer them into an airtight container and store it in the fridge.
9. When the chicken is done, remove it from the oven and allow to cool. Put half in one container and store it in the refrigerator. Freeze the other half.
10. Shred the cheddar cheese and store it in the fridge.
11. Wash, then chop the carrots, celery and onions and store them separately in the fridge.
Seven meals You Can Make From These Foods
So, now that you’ve worked efficiently for the whole hour, what have you accomplished? You, my friend, have just put together the basic ingredients to make seven different super-fast dinners throughout the week.
1. Tacos: Defrost and reheat one package of the taco meat. Stuff it into taco shells with some of the lettuce, diced tomatoes, a sprinkling of black beans, onions (optional) and some shredded cheddar to create a balanced meal.
2. Chicken breasts with steamed veggies: One baked chicken breast per family member. Steam 1/2 cup broccoli per person. Add the chicken during the last two minutes of steaming to warm it up without drying it out.
3. Spaghetti and salad: Defrost a package of cooked ground beef and a package of noodles. Saute some onion in olive oil and add two cans of diced tomatoes, the defrosted ground beef, and Italian seasonings to taste. Add the package of noodles and cook for 2-3 minutes until the noodles are al dente. Meanwhile, toss some of the lettuce, tomatoes, chopped carrots, chopped celery, and chopped broccoli florets together. Top with your favorite salad dressing.
4. Bean and cheese wet burritos: Combine 1/3 cup black beans per family member with an equal amount of salsa. Add 1 oz. of shredded cheddar cheese per family member. Spoon into tortillas, fold into burritos, spray with olive oil and bake at 350 until lightly browned (about 15 minutes). Top with lettuce, tomatoes, some chopped onions and more salsa.
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5. Pasta puttanesca and steamed veggies: Steam 1/2 cup cauliflower per person. Reheat some of the pasta in boiling water for 2 minutes. While the water comes to a boil, put together my puttanesca sauce. Boil the pasta until it’s al dente, drain and toss with the sauce. Serve with the steamed cauliflower.
6. Chicken chef salad: One chicken breast per person. Divide the remaining lettuce, tomato and black beans on dinner plates. Slice the chicken and put it on top of the salads. Sprinkle with the remaining cheddar cheese and serve with your favorite salad dressings.
7. Chicken noodle soup: Defrost remaining chicken. Bring 6 cups chicken stock to boil. Add remaining chicken, carrots, celery, chopped onion and noodles to the stock. Add garlic powder, dried parsley, salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until veggies are tender.
See? I told you it’s possible to have homemade dinner seven nights a week. All it takes is a little planning and some time over the weekend with these foods to make and freeze for fast cooking throughout the week!
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