When most people think of freezing meals, they think casseroles. And what’s in most casseroles? Cream of “something” soup.

But, after quite a few sessions of freezer cooking, my friend and I have learned casseroles and cream of “something”-laden foods are not all you can make and freeze.

And, due to some dietary changes, we used ingredients this time that do not have any artificial coloring, preservatives, or flavorings (one exception is pepperoni – there isn’t a store in our area that carries a pepperoni that meets these criteria. I believe Whole Foods/Trader Joe’s carries one).

Note: I’m calling this Real Food, because to me that’s what it is. We didn’t use anything pre-packaged (other than teryiaki sauce), but we did use dairy and wheat products (all flour was white whole wheat, and noodles where whole wheat as well). So maybe the better term here is minimally processed freezer cooking?

Either way, here’s what we made:

K&W Mac N Cheese – We added ham to make this a more hearty meal. Serve with a side salad and a veggie for a yummy dinner!

Pizza Roll-Ups – This is almost always a hit. We made our own dough this time (pre-made crescent dough that met our criteria was cost-prohibitive) using this recipe. They turned out okay, but we think we’ll try making them with a different, “approved,” pre-made dough next time, as this dough stays pretty thick and makes it hard to get the cheese melted when you reheat them.

Teriyaki Chicken – We both really like this! Cutting the chicken up made each bite saucy and delicious. I served this with rice and stir-fry veggies.

Sour Cream and Noodle Bake – This is one of my favorite Pioneer Woman recipes. It is quick to put together for a weeknight meal, and it was easy to double and separate into two different pans. This would be a great one to double, eat one that night and freeze the other!

Greek Inspired Chicken – A great crock-pot recipe, this is easy to put together and is approved by both husbands. I like to serve mine with summer squash and zuchinni.

Waffles – We were going to make eight batches of waffles, but ended up only being able to make four, even with two waffle irons. This was still a good number of waffles for both of us, and we probably wouldn’t be able to make more than that during a cooking day. (This is one thing we both make that’s strictly for the kids!)

Beef and Bean Burritos – This is another great Pioneer Woman recipe! We freeze ours with just beans, beef and a little cheese, and they are so, so good. I served mine with an extra sprinkling of cheese on top, cilantro-lime rice, and a salad.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins – We ended up with a TON of these, regular and mini sized. We like this recipe, but this is the first time we’ve frozen them unbaked. This extends the freezer life of the muffin, and it means they can go into a chest freezer and not get dried out. However, they don’t freeze into solid balls, which made them a little harder to work with when we didn’t freeze them in muffin liners (Did you know colored muffin liners have artificial colorings in them that can leech into your foods? I did not. Just goes to show how prevalent this stuff is and how crazy-hard it is to avoid. Have you looked for plain muffin liners? They are rare!) Still, they cook awesome from frozen!

BBQ Pork – My mom went through a two-year phase where she was determined to perfect a BBQ rub, and we love it. A five to seven pound bone in, picnic or shoulder roast makes enough for two quart sized bags, which is about two dinners for all three of us, and at least one lunch for one of us, in my family.

Cilantro Lime Chicken – A good, solid recipe. We ate ours in whole-wheat tortillas with some guacamole, and it was yummy. I think the next time I make this I would use it as a filling for burritos, and serve it with rice. It made a TON too!

Perfect Chicken – This was the first time we’ve frozen this, though we both make this at home regularly. It should be great for salads, wraps, or reheating and serving with some yummy sides.

Taco Meat – We just browned our beef with McCormick’s taco seasoning (no additives, preservatives, or other yucky stuff!). Simple, easy, tasty. I served mine recently with pico de gallo and avocado.

 

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