They say it takes a village, so why not invite your village over to prep some of these fast and freezer friendly meals together?
First, gather a few friends who don’t mind working closely together in sort of an assembly line. Ask everyone to submit a recipe or two and vote for your favorite five meals. Look for things that can be made in one or two dishes for simple preparation. Set aside a date and at least 3 hours to prepare meals for the freezer. After your freezer prep party, everyone will take home a few stress-free nights’ worth of easily prepared meals and you all feel very accomplished. Feeling accomplished goes a long way in a busy mom’s life!
Here are a few recipes to get you started. Read more recipes like these in City Social magazine and at www.citysocial.com.
Slow Cooked Pineapple Pulled Pork
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1, 5 pound pork shoulder
1 large red onion, sliced
1 pineapple, cored and sliced
20 to 32 split dinner rolls or 20 taco-sized flour tortillas
In small bowl, whisk together brown sugar, salt, mustard, pepper, ginger and garlic. Seal in a freezer bag. Slice the onion and pineapple. Store in separate 1-quart size freezer bags. Seal the pork in a gallon size freezer bag or ask your butcher to seal it for you. Place these smaller bags and the bag with the pork shoulder in one large bag or store the separate bags near each other in the freezer for up to 6 months. Allow the pork to thaw one to two days before you plan to cook it.
When ready to cook, rub seasoning mixture over pork. Place pork, fat side up, in a slow cooker. Sprinkle sliced onion and pineapple over the top of the pork. Cover and cook on low heat for 7 to 8 hours.
Remove pork from cooker and place on cutting board. (Reserve liquid from the slow cooker.) Remove fat off the top of the pork. Shred pork by pulling two forks in opposite directions. Return to slow cooker. Stir in some of the reserved cooking liquid for desired moistness.
Increase heat setting to high. Reheat pork after shredding the slow cooker for 15 to 30 minutes. Spoon pork mixture onto each roll or tortilla and top as desired with guacamole, sliced avocado, cheese, sour cream, etc. Yields 8 to 10 servings.
One Pan Baked Shrimp and Vegetables
2 pounds shrimp (fresh or frozen), peeled
2 pounds asparagus
2-3 yellow squash
2 cups cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable or Italian seasoning blend*
If not frozen already, place peeled shrimp in a freezer-safe bag and seal tightly. Clean and remove the hard tips of the asparagus. Clean and slice the squash into rounds. Place the asparagus, squash and tomatoes in a large freezer bag. In a measuring cup or small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and olive oil. Stir in the salt, pepper and seasoning blend. Pour the dressing in a small freezer-safe jar or small freezer bag. Tuck the dressing bag in with the vegetables. If using a jar, label clearly and store near the vegetable and shrimp bags.
When ready to cook, take the shrimp and vegetables out the night before if convenient. If not, allow to thaw 30 minutes to an hour. Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread the shrimp and vegetables in an even layer on a baking pan. Pour over the dressing. Bake for 10 to 20 minutes or until shrimp are pink and plump and vegetables are crisp tender. Serve warm. Yields 6 to 8 servings.
*I used the Tuscan blend from Red Stick Spice Company.
One Dish Pesto Chicken Pasta
4 chicken breasts
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes
1 cup basil leaves
1 tablespoon chopped pecans
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
12 ounces uncooked pasta
Salt and pepper to taste
Cut the chicken breasts into about 2-inch pieces. Place in its own freezer bag and seal tightly. Slice sun-dried tomatoes julienne style then seal in a small freezer bag.
Combine basil, pecans, garlic and 2 tablespoons olive oil in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Blend to a smooth paste and set aside. Pour into a small freezer-safe jar or bag. Place the bag of chicken, the bag of sundried tomatoes and the bag or jar of pesto in one large bag or container to keep everything together.
Allow to thaw about 30 minutes up to one night before cooking. Boil pasta according to the directions. Sautee the chicken and pesto in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until the chicken is cooked thoroughly, about 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in sun-dried tomatoes. Toss with cooked pasta and serve warm. Yields 4 to 6 servings.