Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana and Ham and Cheese Sliders

I'm glad I tried the empanadas in advance.  The stuffing was awesome but it was too dry and I have to figure how to balance the bread/ stuffing.. So... I making Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscaana and Ham and Cheese Sliders on Hawaiian bread. The soup tastes just like the way Olive Garden makes it:))

Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana and Ham and Cheese Sliders:

Are you looking for something DIFFERENT to cook that is easy?  This is the perfect meal to try.  My mom has been making the soup for a long time and my sister-in-law made the sliders for me and they were delicious!  I decided to do this for my freezer club this month so if you decide to make it, double the ingredients and freeze the extra! You will feel like you are at Olive Garden! 

Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana recipe (from food.com)

Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana recipe (from food.com)

      1. Chop or slice uncooked sausage into small pieces.
      2. Brown sausage in your soup pot
      3. Add chicken broth and water to pot and stir.
      4. Place onions, potatoes, and garlic in the pot.
      5. Cook on medium heat until potatoes are done.
      6. Add bacon.
      7. Salt and pepper to taste.
      8. Simmer for another 10 minutes.
      9. Turn to low heat.
      10. Add kale and cream.
      11. Heat through and serve.
      Ham and Cheese Sliders: courtesy of Bethany Wilson

            2 pkg Hawaiian Bread Rolls
            Deli Ham slices
            Cheese slices (I use swiss in the wrappers because they are cheaper) 
            1 stick butter
            Italian Dressing Seasoning
            > Cut the bread rolls in half and fill with meat and cheese.  Place in baking pan - I use a jelly roll pan. Drizzle melted butter on top (one stick of butter for 12 rolls).  Then sprinkle the Italian dressing powdered mix on top.  Bake at 350 for about 10-15 minutes, just enough time for the cheese to melt.

            NOTE:  If you freeze them after cooking them, defrost in the microwave (one minute on half power and twenty seconds on regular power).  You can also cook in oven at 350 degrees for ten minutes but the microwave tastes better.  



                  Monday, September 1, 2014

                  Chicken Ceasar Salad Sandwhiches

                  Submitted by Amy Brandt

                  These are soooo good!!!! Perfect for play dates!

                  Red Beans and Rice

                  Red Beans and Rice

                   From: Kimberly Spinosa

                  Quick soak Camilla Red Kidney Beans (Soak Beans in water for at least an hour)

                  Put beans in a pot, add 8 cups of water.

                  Bring to a boil with a ham hock (45 minutes)


                  Prepare Holy Trinity:

                  1 Stalk celery chopped

                  1 onion chopped

                  1 bell pepper chopped

                  3 cloves garlic minced

                  2 stalks green onions chopped


                  slice andouille sausage



                  Holy Trinity and sausage to beans 

                  Add 2 dashes of Tony Chacheres’s creole seasoning

                  2 dashes of cayenne pepper to taste

                  salt and pepper to taste


                  Cook on low for 2-3 hours or until tender



                  Asian Honey Beef Kaboobs

                  Holy moly!  The Asian inspired beef skewers taste just like P F changes!!!!!!! We BBQ on the grill!!!! Jessica Ligon soooo good!Asian honey steak kabob

                  By: Jessica Ligon

                  Everyone agrees these were so good.  We also like that these types of recipes are easy and make us "not a casserole club"!

                  Asian Honey Beef Kabobs {freezer marinade}

                  Asian Honey Beef Kabobs
                  • 2 ½ pounds steak (we like sirloin or ribeye)
                  • ½ c. soy sauce
                  • 2 Tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
                  • 2 Tablespoons sesame oil
                  • 3 T ablespoons honey
                  • 1 Tablespoon sesame seeds
                  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
                  • ¼ tsp. ginger
                  1. Cut into 2-3 inch steak cubes and divide between two freezer bags. Combine all the marinade ingredients and mix well to distribute honey. Divide marinade between two bags of steak. Squeeze air out and seal. Marinater 24 hours or freeze. Thaw 24 hours and thread beef cubes and vegetables on a soaked (30 minute soaking time) wooden or metal skewer Grill on medium high until desired doneness.

                  September Exchange

                  September exchange was awesome! 9 of us participated. We had a wide variety of good recipes! I will be posting some of our All Start Recipes shortly.

                  One of our members went all out and made the packages cute!  We said we all needed to step our game up with packaging and labeling.
                  Remember, if you use ziplock bags, freeze them flat.


                  Not so much (I can tease because this was my twin sister's!)
                  Remember bagging your components keeps everything together in your freezer.  We are all guilty of having random freezer meal components floating around.

                  Friday, May 30, 2014

                  Chipotle Tamale Pie

                  This was SOOOO good!!!! Even if you don't love or like tamales, you will LOVE this RECIPE!!!

                  By Vicki Schmidt

                  CHIPOTLE TAMALE PIE
                  1 tbsp olive oil
                  1lb ground turkey
                  1 med yellow onion, diced
                  1 green bell pepper, diced
                  2 garlic cloves, minced
                  2 tsp ground cumin
                  15 oz can pinto beans, drained & rinsed
                  8oz can diced tomatoes
                  2 chipotle peppers + 1 tsp adobo sauce (in Mexican food section, small can of "chipotles in adobo")
                  1 cup grated cheddar
                  1/2 cup chopped cilantro (I think I forgot to add this last time!)
                  1 8.5 oz pkg cornbread mix
                  1 egg
                  1/3 cup milk
                  - Heat olive oil in skillet
                  - Add turkey, onions, bell pepper and garlic.  Cook until turkey is done. Drain excess fat.
                  - Add beans, tomatoes, cumin, chilis & adobo sauce and bring to a boil.
                  -Reduce heat and simmer until heated through & thickened, about 5 mins.
                  - Remove pan from heat and stir in cheese and cilantro.
                  -Spread turkey mixture in greased 8x8 pan.
                  -Combine cornbread mix, egg & milk. Spread over turkey mixture.
                  -Bake at 400 for 20-25 mins until too is golden brown.

                  Sunday, May 11, 2014

                  Latest exchange

                  This latest exchange was wonderful.  10 people...lots of great variety!

                  Love Lindsay's tip:  Basically you bring plastic grocery bags to wrap each "meal up"...the reason is because lots of them meals come with several pieces and instructions....this way everything is kept together. Brilliant!

                  Wednesday, April 16, 2014

                  Recent Exchange

                  Our recent exchange was successful.  It seems like every time we learn something new and get a little better. I know I couldn't get it together with my labels, but this month they were better than the last.  We even surveyed each other to decide which meals we really liked.  We used survey monkey so nobody (except the person who created the survey) knew who said what.  Truthfully every meal is good.  Some are better than others.  On a scale of 1-5, we have never had a 1 or 2....We have had some 3s, some 4, and some 5s....The 4s and 5s are the ones that are worth repeating.

                  We found some months we had too many chicken meals, so we adjusted for the next month.  We found that one month we had a lot of "heavy, caloric (yummy) dishes" and adjusted for the next month.  We don't want all diet meals, but we don't want all Pioneer Lady meals.  We all care about our figures:)

                  We found the smaller packaging for most items, regardless of size of family works best.

                  Overall everyone is happy with the club.  It has taken a load off of our minds when at the end of the day we are trying to sort out dinner...

                  On a side note...I have noticed lots of us like wine:)  Especially when we are making our 10, 11, 12 meals.  We have a private facebook group and it is hilarious to see pictures posted of people cooking with the wine as center stage or in the background. 

                  That is the type of group we are...We are fun, young ladies, who enjoy a glass of wine or two....(a few of our members are pregnant so they haven't been able to drink a glass of wine while making their meals....but soon they will:)

                  Mini Exchange

                  We have added an additional component to our freezer meal club.  If anyone wants to "opt" in to participate in the mini exchange along with the regular exchange, they may do so.  We exchange sides ( pies, breakfast tacos, limonchello, cookies, muffins, etc).

                  Southern Living Chocolate Ice Box Pie

                  • 2/3 cup milk                               
                  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
                  • 1/4 cup cold water
                  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
                  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
                  • 3 large eggs, beaten                               
                    Click to see savings
                  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
                  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine                               
                    Click to see savings
                  • 1 (6-ounce) ready-made chocolate crumb piecrust
                  • 1 cup whipping cream
                  • 1/4 cup sugar                               
                    Click to see savings
                  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted                               
                    Click to see savings
                  • 1 (1.55-ounce) milk chocolate candy bar, chopped


                  1. Heat milk until it just begins to bubble around the edges in a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat (do not boil). Remove from heat, and whisk in chocolate morsels until melted. Cool slightly.
                  2. Stir together cold water and cornstarch until dissolved.
                  3. Whisk cornstarch mixture, sweetened condensed milk, eggs, and vanilla into chocolate mixture. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Boil 1 minute or until mixture thickens and is smooth. (Do not overcook.)
                  4. Remove from heat, and whisk in butter. Spoon mixture into piecrust. Cover and chill at least 8 hours.
                  5. Beat whipping cream at high speed with an electric mixer until foamy; gradually add sugar, beating until soft peaks form. Spread whipped cream evenly over pie filling, and sprinkle with pecans and candy bar pieces.

                  Poppy Seed Chicken Recipe

                  This is SOOOOOOO good!!!!!

                  By:  Anna Noachk

                  6 cups cooked chicken breasts
                  1-1/2 cans cream of chicken soup
                  8 ounces of sour cream
                  1 teaspoon lemon juice
                  salt and pepper to taste
                  1 sleeve ritz crackers
                  1 stick melted butter
                  1-3 tablespoons poppy seeds

                  Mix first 5 ingredients together
                  put in 9" glass pie pan
                  crush ritz crackers, sprinkle on top of chicken
                  drizzle butter on top
                  sprinkle poppy seeds on top
                  bakee at 350 until brown and bubbly

                  Tuesday, March 4, 2014

                  Our Title

                  More people have visited our blog out of curiosity about what a Freezer Meal Club involves.  I just wanted to make sure everyone realizes that our blog name- Gourmet Freezer Cooking started out as a joke.  I wanted us to blog our best recipes and share our experiences.  I needed to name the group and this is what I came up with:)

                  Some people have asked what type of ages, etc. we are to figure out if this would work for their family.

                  The original 4 members are made up of women in our thirties who have children who range from 6 months to 15 years old.  Christa, (my twin sister) has the largest family with an 8 month old, 2- 11 year olds, a 13 and 15 year old. .  My kids (Corrin)  are 6 months, 4 years, and 5 years old.  Jessica's kids are 3 and 1, and Tracey has a 1 year old.  Since Christa's family is large, we prepare her meals normal size.  For some of us with smaller kids, members prepare the portions in smaller sizes (you still take home the same amount) for ease of cooking. 

                  Those of us who are stay at home moms all had professional jobs in the past.  We enjoy being stay at home moms, but get bored by the same old meals over and over.  A few of us tried professional companies that had a similar idea.  We really liked the concept but found they were much more expensive and too far to drive for it to be worth it.  Our group has now grown to 10 women and we have decided to set that as a maximum.  We will each contribute one recipe for next month's exchange. 

                  Monday, March 3, 2014

                  Freezer meals people liked from past to make again.

                  We took a survey to see which meals so far people have liked enough to make again. Here they are:

                  Creamy Italian Chicken
                  Tex- Mex Lasagna
                  Tracey's Lasagna
                  Jessica's Lasagna
                  Swiss roast sandwiches
                  Pulled pork sandwiches
                  Spaghetti Meatballs
                  Chicken Enchiladas
                  Breakfast Tacos

                  Questions people have about a Freezer Meal Club

                  Question:  What is a freezer meal club?

                  When a group of people get together, come up with rules and norms, set a date each month, discuss types of meals and then meet to swap meals.

                  What type of people would most be suited for this type of group?

                  People whose families tend to be pretty laid back and are not picky eaters.  People who like variety and enjoy trying different types of meals.  People who make one dinner one night that is "to die for" and maybe the next meal is "pretty good" and are not disappointed.  They are not mad. They realize that all members try to find recipes that are yummy, healthy, and easy to prepare.

                  Who would not be a good fit?

                  People who are picky eaters.  People who would get mad if every meal was not perfect.

                  Are the meals healthy?

                  We set the rules that the meals vary.  We left with 12 meals today.  Some are more healthy than others.  Just like our families.  They vary.  We don't want 12 of the most fattening meals, but then again this is not a diet meal club.  Common sense prevails.

                  Are these meals ones that a lot of time has to be spent making them at night?

                  No, ideally everything is made so that you can pop it into the oven in the evening or you can put it in the slow cooker on low for several hours.

                  Can you give me an example of a typical meal?

                  Sure.  I made taco soup as one of my 2 meals this month.  I needed to prepare 6 servings.  I found the recipe on a website called Six Sisters Stuff.  I followed the recipe mostly (I added a packet of dry ranch dressing)


                  1 lb ground beef (or ground turkey tastes so good in this recipe too!)
                  1 medium onion, chopped
                  1 package mild taco seasoning mix
                  1 16 oz can corn (undrained)
                  1 16 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed (you could use kidney beans or pinto beans)
                  1 14 oz can stewed tomatoes
                  1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
                  1 8 oz can tomato sauce
                  1 4 oz can diced green chilis
                  corn chips
                   Other taco toppings you like (cheese, sour cream, avocado, etc)
                  Brown meat and onion, drain.
                  Stir in taco seasoning, corn, black beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, and green chilis. Simmer on low heat for 20 to 30 minutes.
                  Serve with tortilla chips and your favorite toppings.

                  At the store I bought 6 lbs ground beef, 6 medium onions, etc....I doubled each batch, so that I made 3 batches and divided it into 6 gallon size plastic bags.  The meat was cooked and I just added the rest of the ingredients...I did not simmer the ingredients because I knew my freezer club members would reheat the frozen concoction in a crock pot on low for a few hours.

                  For the exchange, everyone took home 1 ziplock bag of taco soup, 1 bag of corn chips, a small baggie of cheese (for a topping)...they also took home a bean dip because HEB had a coupon that if you bought a bag of corn chips, you got bean dip for free...in Louisiana we call that Lagniappe!

                  Do people have to spend all day cooking?

                  Ideally we want to save time, not cause more work.  Try and pick recipes that are not high intense preparation. 

                  What about likes/dislikes/ how do you make sure you don't end up with 12 chicken meals?

                  We have a facebook thread where we throw out our ideas of what we want to make....are they set in stone, no...just an idea.  I mentioned my husband doesn't like pork, but I do...so to have one meal with pork would be fine, 12 meals, not soo much...We are respectful about price and ingredients.  We try and make it fair.  We don't want one person bringing a really nice dish and another bringing something that cost 2.00 to make total.  We add sides when appropriate. 

                  Any other advice?

                  Yes, be picky on who you let in your group.  Make sure you know them or someone in the group knows them.  You want to make sure they are clean.  You don't want someone high maintenance who can't roll with the punches...Have fun....don't stress....everyone gets that things come up and if  you planned on separating your meals into these perfect little containers, but time runs out and you can't, it is ok.  If someone flakes out and just doesn't show up, then politely convey the message, that this is not the group for them...you can still be friends, no hard feelings:)

                  Third Successful SWAP!!!

                  Today we completed our 3rd successful swap.  We (6 girls) met, exchanged meals, and went home with:

                  - Tex Mex Lasagna
                  - Beef Stroganoff
                  - Creamy Italian Chicken
                  - Crawfish fettuccini
                  - Chicken Tenders
                  - Calzones
                  - Chicken Enchiladas
                  - Taco Soup
                  - Poppy Seed Chicken
                  - French Dip Sandwiches
                  - King Ranch Chicken Mac and Cheese
                  - Spaghetti and Meatballs
                  - Sausage breakfast English muffins

                  Monday, January 13, 2014

                  Crock pot freezer beef stroganoff

                  This is really good! You put raw ingredients in a freezer bag and then when you want to eat it, cook it in the crock pot.  Add rice or noodles. I recommend doubling recipe. 

                  1/2 cup minced onion
                  1/4 cup butter
                  1 lb. stew beef
                  1/8 teaspoon paprika
                  2 cups chopped mushrooms
                  3/4 cup sour creme
                  1 can creme of mushroom soup
                  1/2 cup cream cheese
                   1 teaspoon salt
                  1 teaspoon pepper

                  Mix sour creme, cream cheese, and mushroom soup in a small bowl. Add all ingredients to a large freezer bag, toss well to coat and freeze. When ready place ingredients in crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Serve over hot noodles or rice. 

                  Creamy Italian Chicken

                  I made this today!  It was really good...and it was probably one of the easiest things I have ever made....

                  Here is a picture (it tastes better than the picture looked). I served it over rice.

                  Last night I placed 4 chicken breast in a bag along with 1- 8oz creme cheese (softened), 1 can creme of chicken, 1 dry packet of Italian season.  I put it in the crock pot and cooked on low for 4-6 hours.  My four and five year old gave it a thumbs up!

                  Tex-Mex Lasagna

                  This is sooo good!!!!!! One of the best things I have made.

                  1 1/2 lb ground beef
                  1 tsp minced garlic
                  1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
                  1 (8 oz) package shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
                  2 Tbsp chili powder
                  1/2 tsp ground cumin
                  1 (10 oz) can diced tomatoes and green chilies, drained
                  1 (8 oz) container sour creme
                  1 (16 oz) bottle chunky salsa
                  6 (10 in) four tortillas

                  1. Brown beef and garlic
                  2. Combine mixture to black beans, 1 cup cheese, and next 5 ingredients
                  3. Layer 2 tortillas (I really like HEB homemade ones), put 1/3 mixture
                  4. Then add 2 more flour tortillas, mixture, flour tortillas, mixture...top with remaining cheese

                  To cook...thaw overnight in fridge (I sometimes do this...but other times haven't) Bake at 375 for 1 hour or until casserole reaches 165 degrees.


                  Chicken Enchiladas 

                  2 cans green chiles
                  2 cans green enchilada sauce (I like hatch brand)
                  Rotisserie chicken
                  1 bag Mexican blend cheese
                  6-8 wheat tortillas

                  - Pull meat off chicken and cut into bit size pieces (make sure there are no bones)
                  - Set aside roughly 1/3 chicken and put in freezer bag to be use in another time
                  - Put remaining chicken in big blow with one can enchilada sauce and 2 cans green chiles
                  -Spoon mixture into tortillas and roll up (for smaller enchiladas use 8 tortillas, for fat enchiladas use 6 tortillas)
                  Cover enchiladas with a can of green enchilada sauce and sprinkle with Mexican cheese

                  Variations- boil boneless chicken breast and cut into bite size pieces
                  - put 2 handfuls of cheese in chicken mixture

                  Jessica Ligon 


                  Box no bake lasagna noodles
                  bag of part skim shredded mozzarella cheese
                  fat free ricotta cheese
                  jar pasta sauce
                  2 cloves garlic
                  small onion
                  red, orange, and yellow bell pepper
                  1/2 lb mild Italian sausage
                  1/2 lb lean ground turkey

                  Saute 1/2 onion, 2 cloves garlic, 1/3 red, yellow, and orange bell peppers together with a little EVOO, add Italian sausage and ground turkey.  Add sauce after meat is browned and let simmer for 15 minutes.  Layer lasagna noodles, meat sauce mixture, 1/2 container of ricotta, sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.  Repeat step and top second layer with noodles, sauce and top with mozzarella cheese.  Bake at 375 for 50 min with lid on, take off lid and bake another 10-15 min.

                  Variations- use 1 lb spicy turkey sauce
                  add to sauce a mixture one box of frozen (thawed and drained) spinach
                  use whole wheat noodles

                  Jessica Ligon 

                  First Trade

                  Today was our first freezer meal swap.  It was awesome! The dishes made include:  Lasagna, Chicken Enchilada Casserole, Duck Gumbo, Chicken Spaghetti, Roast sandwiches, Crock pot beef stroganoff, crock pot creamy Italian chicken, and Tex-Mex Lasagna.  We went home with so much food!  All the meals just need to be heated in oven or placed in a crock pot.

                  Sunday, January 12, 2014

                  Freezer Meal Club

                  Welcome to our FREEZER MEAL CLUB BLOG! We are busy moms who want to eat healthy, and need simple solutions.  We have founded our monthly club on a few, basic rules:

                  1. Choose recipes that can feed around a family of four. 
                  2. Choose a recipe that children would want to eat (nothing too exotic). 
                  3. Spend about 15.00 per meal. If you don't spend 15.00 on the main meal, add a few sides to make up for it (dinner rolls, bag of veggies, etc) 
                  4. Try to use fresh vegetables or fresh ingredients when possible.
                   5. Try to make healthy and good meals. We love fattening stuff but a 2000 calorie per serving will only make us fat. That being said, don't make meals that are so healthy they don't taste good. Lol 
                  6. People will propose the meals they want to make. Members have the right to ask for a member to change a recipe. Let's try to be low maintenance but open to concerns about recipes that may not work. 
                  7. Let's review the recipes we make so we can adjust. 
                  8. Be respectful of meal prep. Prepare the meals in a safe and sanitary environment. 
                  9. All meals have to have the recipe and directions easily attached.
                  10. When preparing meals in a plastic bag, make it flat, so it will be easier to freeze.

                  11.  Have FUN!!!!!