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Guest magicalkat

Freezer Cooking

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Guest magicalkat

Hi everyone! I've been on and off WW for several years and am back to try again. This time though, I'm not jumping in all gung ho at one time because my enthusiasm always wanes after a few weeks. So I'm trying to work my way up to making this lifestyle change in a way that will enable me to be successful.

 

The first thing I'm doing is working on building a list of really good recipes that can be frozen then thawed and prepared for quick, easy, and healthy meals at dinner time. I'm an elementary teacher, am working on my Masters full time, and am the mother of 3 children. My husband works 3-11 Mon.-Fri. so I'm on my own during the week. I think by preparing freezer meals, it'll be easier for me to make the healthy choices because they'll be right there.

 

I'm posting here to ask for recipes for things you know make great freezer meals. I love chicken, seafood, and ground beef.

 

If there's another forum where this would fit better or if there's already a list of freezer recipes, please point me in the right direction!

 

Thanks so much!!

Katherine

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Hi there! Welcome to BCB. I don't do a lot of cooking and freezing, but one of my favorite things to do is to grill a bunch of chicken breasts, cut them into pieces and freeze them in 2 point servings. I use them for salads, pannini, spaghetti, and stir fry. I have seen a lot of folks on here that do cook ahead, so I expect you will get some great advice! Hope this was helpful,

 

 

 

Zoma:wave:


http://www.myspace.com/zoma_rose

 

HW 195!

SW 168

CW 168

 

Goal Weight 150:jump_jack

18 Pound Countdown!

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Guest magicalkat

Thanks! I grilled some chicken and put it in the freezer this weekend. That was a great idea and will definitely come in handy for lunches.

 

I hope I do get some more ideas for freezer meals! I plan to have my cooking day in a couple of weeks so am working on recipes and shopping lists now. :)

 

Thanks again!

Katherine

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Guest j621d

There is a book out called "Once-A-Month Cooking," by Mary Beth Lagerborg and Mimi Wilson. It doesn't have WW recipes, but if you can find it you can look through it to get ideas on what you can do ahead of time. Many of the recipes are partically cooked and frozen. When you are ready to finish it you defrost in the refrigerator and finish baking and assembling. I'm sure many of the recipes can be made to fit WW.

 

One of the "tricks" I learned is to prepare a marinade and place that with meat and freeze it. When I'm ready, it defrosts and marinades the meat at the same time.

 

I've made meatloaf up to the point of ready to bake, but stick it in the freezer. Defrost, bake and eat!

 

The freezer meals are never "leftover" meals since you are defrosting and then cooking.

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Guest magicalkat

Thansk! I have the book by Mimi Wilson but haven't really explored it completely. And thanks for the web links too!!

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Hi Katherine. I depend on my freezer and would see why you want to develop a supply, given your job and educational demands. Scout through recipe section. I have posted my favorites and have plenty more if you need them.

My compact freezer is dedicated to Weight Watcher meals. Most of the recipes I have posted here are for my freezer. I measure them for individual meals and label them with the points. But, if I have a roast with the trimmings, I make up individual TV dinners and label points down to the gravy! I still have a few Thanksgiving meals in the freezer that I love.

In my freezer are also every meat sale I find locally. WHen I do a roast (and I did buy two $.29/# turkeys) I make up complete meals for myself. My freezer is in the garage and last night I brought in 5 different meals for the next few days: chicken biryani, Moroccan chickpea stew, Thanksgiving plate, sausage and beans, CORE-N-bread stuffing frittata. I am semi-retired so use these for lunch as well as dinner if I am home.

I saved all my plastic trays from commercial diet frozen meals I used years ago (this is my second WW experience). Those trays were so durable they have lasted for years. At that time, I had two young men at home with me. I had two large freezers and used to spend the weekend making a large casseroles to cut up for the freezer and serve to the family. I knew I could go to the freezer and find Italian, French, Greek, MExican, etc. and treat my palate. My sons knew they could take one of Mom's dinners for a mid-afternoon snack as long as they checked with me so my supply didn't get depleted. They learned to enjoy the healthier fare.


marge

there s a dance in the old dame yet toujours gai toujours gai

 

SW: 206

CW: 162.5

40# 2/5

HW: 146

weight.png

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I do a lot of cooking in bulk and freezing since I have a large freezer in the basement. Chili and other one-pot-meal type things freeze well. Meatloaf, definitely - I saw someone said they prepare it and freeze it, and bake it later. I cook everything so that I only have to reheat it. I also cook a big chicken or turkey, remove the meat, weight it out into ziploc bags, and have individual servings to add quickly to salads, soups or other meals. I also have a giant rice cooker which makes 18 cups of rice, and I'll make brown rice in bulk and freeze it flat in ziploc bags for a quick defrost in the microwave. I've even baked a large number of sweet potatoes and frozen those. Regular potatoes don't freeze too well, but sweet potatoes seem to come out fine. I always make sure I have burger patties in the freezer too. I know that I need to be prepared for quick prep - after working all day I don't want to stand there and cook, and if I get really hungry then I can make not-so-good choices. So preparing ahead of time and having it available helps me immensely!


* Sue *

High weight: 295 (8/06)

WW re-start weight: 285.2 (10/21/08)

Current weight/goal:

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844ecd10.gif.

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Guest magicalkat

These are great ideas!!! Thanks to you both!!

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Whip Up a Fast, Healthy Dinner

 

Try these super-quick suppertime solutions

By Leanna Skarnulis

WebMD Weight Loss Clinic-Feature

Reviewed by Charlotte Grayson Mathis, MD

 

Yikes! You've just looked at the clock and realized that dinnertime is fast approaching. You're already exhausted from the day's labors, and you still have to walk the dog, pick up the kids from dance class, finish that report due first thing tomorrow... You'd love to sit down to a healthy, home-cooked meal, but your stomach is growling and that take-out pizza menu is looking very tempting.

 

But wait just a minute. Before the dinnertime crunch convinces you to blow off your dietary resolve, wrap your mind around an important concept: "Healthy" doesn't have to mean cooking from scratch, and "quick" doesn't have to mean scarfing down artery-clogging fast food.

 

Whether you're a seasoned cook or a kitchen-phobe who doesn't own a cookbook, you can make healthy, quick dinners at home. Two dietitians, who balance career and nutrition demands themselves, are on your side. Elizabeth Ward, MS, RD, lives in Reading, Mass., has three children aged 4 to 7, and is the author of several books on nutrition including Healthy Foods, Healthy Kids. Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, LD, lives in Atlanta and is an American Dietetic Association spokeswoman as well as a WebMD Weight Loss Clinic dietitian.

 

A Healthy Grocery List

 

Ward and Zelman agree that healthy, quick, and homemade dinners start with having the right ingredients on hand. Keep these items in your pantry, refrigerator, or freezer:

 

Pantry

 

  • Pasta (Zelman prefers whole-grain, Ward says regular is fine for a family)
  • Pasta sauce (but watch out for fatty Alfredo versions)
  • Canned beans
  • Canned tuna fish, packed in water, not oil
  • Canned vegetables -- the ones you like and will eat
  • Canned fruits
  • Rice, couscous, and packaged mixes for dishes like tabouli
  • Lower-fat, lower-sodium soup (Healthy Valley is one brand)
  • Cereal
  • Bread, preferably whole grain
  • Peanut butter
  • Pancake mix
  • Nuts

Refrigerator

 

  • Prewashed and cut fruits and vegetables (buy them this way in a bag or from a salad bar, or do it yourself as soon as you get home from the store)
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Baby carrots
  • Prewashed salad greens, stored in their original bags after opening
  • Precooked, grilled chicken slices
  • Cheese (look for lower-fat versions or strongly flavored cheeses that let you use less)
  • Low-fat milk
  • Low-fat salad dressings
  • Eggs
  • Yogurt

Freezer

 

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Pastas such as ravioli and tortellini
  • Chicken and turkey (boneless, skinless pieces are healthiest and quickest)
  • Seafood
  • Frozen diet entrees
  • Frozen soup
  • Cheese pizza
  • Waffles

The Chicken and the Egg

 

Ward and Zelman are big fans of ready-to-eat rotisserie chickens, found in almost any grocery store. "Most of the fat has dripped off it," says Ward, "although I do pull off the skin."

 

"I rely a lot on rotisserie chickens," says Zelman. "One night I'll have it with a baked potato and salad. The next night, I'll pick it off the bone and make a pasta dish. I'll throw a handful of frozen peas and canned, diced tomatoes into the pasta sauce. Or I might use the leftover chicken to make a Caesar salad."

 

Zelman says she always keeps a few packages of pre-cooked grilled chicken strips in her freezer. "They're expensive, but fast. I stock up when they're on sale. It's a quick defrost."

 

Closely related to chicken is the egg, another favorite of dietitians. Omelets are a great catchall for leftovers like vegetables, chicken, and salsa, but even plain versions offer good nutrition. "If you've got eggs and low-fat cheese and milk, you have a meal," says Zelman. "Maybe serve it with some canned fruit."

 

"I love Weight Watchers and Lean Cuisine frozen dinners," says Zelman. "I'll add vegetables to a macaroni and cheese entrée, and I always add a side salad or roll because often it's not enough to eat." She advises reading the nutrition labels: "I aim for 300 or fewer calories."

 

"You can have that take-out...as long as you exercise a little restraint."

 

She has other ways of beefing up the nutrients in prepared foods, such as adding extra vegetables to canned soup and extra beans to canned chili. And she dresses up plain salad greens with fruit and small amounts of shredded cheese and nuts.

 

Ward likes the Near East packaged mixes, such as tabouli and couscous. "People think of them as side dishes, but I turn them into a meal by adding chopped, leftover chicken and a lot of tomatoes and serving them on a bed of greens," she says.

 

Cereal is a dinner staple for many singles, and it's perfectly healthy, as long as you watch the sugar and fat content and use low-fat milk. "Breakfast cereal and fruit and skim milk, there's nothing wrong with that," says Zelman.

 

Ward says her family has breakfast for dinner once a week: Pancakes or waffles with a side of fruit plus milk. It's a hit with her family, and what the kids don't know is that she sometimes adds wheat germ and an extra egg to the pancake mix. "That's stealth nutrition." She keeps waffles in the freezer for nights when she's really short on time. (Of course, dieters should skip the extra butter and be sparing with the syrup. Try fruit, applesauce and/or low-fat yogurt for a healthy and delicious topping.)

 

Dinner for the Desperate

 

But what about those nights when the larder is empty and even a few minutes in the kitchen is too much? Guess what? You can have that take-out after all, as long as you exercise a little restraint. Zelman says she orders a cheese or veggie pizza: "I have one or two pieces and a side salad, and it's not a bad meal."

 

Ward says her family orders pizza once a week. "I make a really big salad to go with it and always have fruit and milk, which works in the nutrition we need and cuts down on the amount of pizza we eat."

 

Speaking of pizza, Ward often buys pre-made crusts and lets her kids make their own. "They just like cheese," she says. "For my husband and myself, I sauté leftover chicken with garlic and add artichokes from a jar or olives." While acknowledging that most of us need to cut back on fat intake, she's not a big fan of low-fat cheese. She points out that if you use a very flavorful cheese like sharp cheddar, a small amount -- four to five ounces -- will satisfy.

 

Ward's favorite last-minute dinner is a spinach pie she buys at Trader Joe's specialty grocery store. "It has a ton of spinach with cheese in phyllo dough. I make rice to go with it. When my husband sees it, he knows I've had absolutely no time."

 

Food for Thought

 

There are many cookbooks and web sites that can provide inspiration for planning and preparing healthy, quick dinners. The Meals in Minutes Cookbook by the American Heart Association is a good place to start.


Jackie ~SW: 160/CW:155/GW: 130

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Tricks and Recipes for Make-Ahead Meals

 

Make-ahead meals let you serve home-cooked dishes even on the most hectic day.

By Elaine Magee, RD, MPH

WebMD Weight Loss Clinic-Feature

Reviewed by Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD

 

Action-packed weeknights, overscheduled weekends, days when you have too much to do before guests come over or before you go to someone else’s house with a dish in hand -- there are plenty of times when "make-ahead" meals can come to the rescue.

 

Make-ahead meals put you in control of your schedule. You do the preparation when you have some extra time, then you're rewarded with a quick, home-cooked meal when things get hectic later in the day, week, or month.

 

Since dinnertime is often a hectic time for families, Janice Bissex, RD, author of The Mom’s Guide to Meal Makeovers, says it can really help for moms or dads to make all or part of the meal in advance.

 

"Prepping ingredients to toss together at the last minute or assembling the full meal for reheating can make the dinner hour more relaxed and manageable," Bissex tells WebMD in an email interview.

 

There are several ways to make your meals ahead of time. You can assemble them early and keep in the refrigerator until you're ready to pop them in the oven. Or you can completely cook your meal, freeze or refrigerate it, then just warm it up at mealtime. Some make-ahead meals don’t even require baking -- like main-dish green salads or pasta salads.

 

Paulette Mitchell, author of 13 cookbooks including A Beautiful Bowl of Soup, says her favorite strategy for make-ahead meals is to plan a soup and salad menu.

 

"All soups often benefit from being made ahead because standing time allows the flavors to blend," she says. Further, she says, most homemade salad dressings taste better when they are made a day in advance.

 

If you've got a slow cooker, you've got a leg up on make-ahead meals. Judith Finlayson, author of The Healthy Slow Cooker, calls the slow cooker the most effective time manager a cook can have.

 

"You can get all the ingredients prepped and even partially cooked, in most cases for up to two days ahead," she says.

 

Many slow-cooker recipes are suited to being prepared ahead of time, she says. Slow-cooker dishes like stews and chili also lend themselves to being frozen or refrigerated and reheated.

 

"You can do "big batch" cooking and have dinner for a second night during the week," she says. "Eat a portion on the day it is cooked, and freeze the rest for future meals."

 

Make-Ahead Meals for Breakfast or Brunch

 

Here are four make-ahead breakfast or brunch options for the next time you have to feed a crowd fast first thing in the morning:

 

1. Crepes. Just cook the crepes the day before and keep them in a sealed bag -- or wrapped well in foil -- in the refrigerator. Fill them with a mixture of fruits or assorted jams the next morning. Or add a ham and cheese filling, then heat them up. You can have the filling ingredients chopped and shredded and ready to go the night before, too.

 

2. Strata. Strata is an overnight breakfast entrée by design. You're supposed to let it sit in the refrigerator, then bake in the morning. Thus it's a perfect make-ahead option.

 

3. Quiche. Quiche can be served warm or cold. Just bake it the day before, and, if you want to serve it warm, heat it up in the microwave.

 

4. Breakfast Breads, Coffee Cakes, and Muffins. You can always make bakery items ahead and serve them cold or warmed up in the microwave. To round out the breakfast or brunch, have fresh fruit ready to serve with it. You might also want to cook up a plate of light breakfast sausage, grilled Canadian bacon, or lean ham -- all of which can be warmed up in the microwave in two minutes.

 

Make-Ahead Meals for Dinner

 

Here are a few dinner dishes that are well suited to making ahead of time:

 

  • Most casserole-type dishes lend themselves to being made ahead, like tuna noodle casserole, au gratin style potatoes, chicken enchiladas, or a creamy chicken and rice dish.
  • Stew-type dishes, cooked and kept in the refrigerator, are ideal for warming up on demand -- a serving or two (or more) at a time.
  • If the ingredients are already cooked, cut, and ready, you can toss main-dish green salad together in less than 5 minutes.
  • Chilled pasta and rice salads (and salads made with other whole grains) are perfect when you need a cool dish to serve with virtually no time to spare.
  • Some mostly meat (or fish) dishes, like meatloaf, chicken Parmesan, and crab cakes, can also be made ahead and then cooked or reheated.


Jackie ~SW: 160/CW:155/GW: 130

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The Family Dinner: Fast and Simple

familybrkfst.jpg by Cheryl Tallman and Joan Ahlers

 

Home made foods are healthier than processed, prepared, or restaurant meals. Take-out foods and prepared foods are generally much higher in fat, salt and calories than home cooked foods. We would encourage you or your spouse to make home-cooked dinners at least three times per week.

 

If just thought of making dinner exhausts you, here are few tips to ease the burden of getting dinner on the table during your busy week:

 

  • Set aside time on the weekends to make foods in advance and freeze them. Connect with a friend, double the recipes and split up the meals for both families.

     

  • Don't schedule your kid's day out so heavily that it intrudes on time to prepare dinner. Instead invite the kids into the kitchen and teach them a few things about cooking - it's life skill that they will certainly thank you for some day!

     

  • Invest in a slow cooker. This is fabulous machine for busy families. You can prepare your main dish in the morning and come home to a delicious ready-to- eat meal.

     

  • Buy pre-washed veggies in the produce section of stores. The clean and prep is often the most time consuming part of cooking.

     

  • Buy "no cook" items like apples, pears, avocadoes, tomatoes. A fruit plate or veggie salad makes a terrific side dish.

     

  • Keep it simple. There is no need to strive for gourmet everyday. It is often the simpler dishes that have the best flavors too.

     

  • Share the burden. Team up with a friend and have a family dinner at their house one night and switch to your house on another. For a different twist on the same concept, divide up the menu between families and share the work.

     

  • Plan your menus and make a grocery list. These two steps require finding spare time, but they will save it in the long run.

     

  • Buy a few cookbooks with titles like 30 minute meals, slow cooker recipes or 5 ingredients or less. These types of books are geared toward getting meals on the table quickly and easily. Look for books that offer shortcuts, pre-written shipping lists and menu ideas.

     

    Make extra for leftovers. It goes without saying; leftovers make great lunches and snacks. If you're making a family favorite, double the recipe and freeze a portion for next week.


    Jackie ~SW: 160/CW:155/GW: 130

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    Wow.. that was a good google session!

     

     

    Hope your family finds some quick favourite dinners!!:salut


    Jackie ~SW: 160/CW:155/GW: 130

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    I freeze soups in the zip-lock bags. I just lay them flat and stack them. I probably have 10 meals ready to take out and defrost.


    Grainne

     

    3/16/02- Made WW Lifetime

    4'11"...SW 176lbs CW 154 lbs WGW 115

    Rejoining weight 11/17 154 lbs

     

     

    weight.png

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    Glad to get that reference material. I just went back to work to help out an overstressed department and was glad to have a stockpile of lunches and quick dinners in the freezer, but figure they will get depleted, so today is the day to do some fun quantity cooking for the freezer.


    marge

    there s a dance in the old dame yet toujours gai toujours gai

     

    SW: 206

    CW: 162.5

    40# 2/5

    HW: 146

    weight.png

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    Guest magicalkat

    Wow! You guys are all great!! Thanks so much!!!

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    http://www.frugalmoms.com has a thread on Once a Month Cooking. I also have Mary Beth and Mimi's Once a Month Cookbook. There is a section in there of low fat recipes. I tried it one and it is a lot of work. Shopping and chopping one day and cooking the next. The two week plan last the two of us a month. You have to also be sure and have enough containers.

     

    Now I prefer to double up recipes in the crock pot. Like Chicken with sour cream, Cr. of Mushroom soup, and onion soup mix. You can easily put in twice the amount of chicken as that makes a lot of sauce. Swiss steak recipes in the crock pot are great to freeze too.

     

    When potatoes are on sale buy a bag and cook them all up, mash and freeze in the size container for one meal, or use instant mashed potatoes. Same for winter squash.

     

    Another quick supper is cut up a chicken breast or two and cook in a skillet and add a bag of the stir fry frozen vegetables.

     

    Ann


    ann p

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