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Old 09-02-2011, 02:16 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nic529 View Post
Hi everyone! I am looking for healthy recipes that I can make ahead and just throw in the oven when I'm ready. Ideas for meals I can freeze and cook later are welcome too! With school, work, and sports schedules I'm looking at a lot of evenings where we may not get home until after 7 and I'd like to have something ready to just heat up.

We are not really tex-mex kind of people - and I have found that a lot of the recipes on line are in that family. I know I can make pasta dishes ahead, but they take a long time to heat up in the oven - and I'd like to see if there are healthier ideas too.

I appreciate any ideas you may have to share!
Google OAMC (stands for once a month cooking). Also dump chicken. We use a lot of dump chicken recipes. Also crock pots are your friend. We make stews, freeze them (against all recommendations that tell you not to mix meat and other ingredients) thaw and throw in the crock pot.

Many many casserole recipes will also freeze.
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Old 09-02-2011, 02:32 PM
 
14,323 posts, read 11,091,159 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MidwesternBookWorm View Post
OP, it also occurs to me to ask if you have a stove with "time-bake" functionality. Essentially that's a way of presetting oven temperature and cook time (start/stop) ahead of time, so that your dinner is ready when you walk in the door at night.

We've made sure every stove we've owned for about the past 20 years has had that function, and let me tell you, it is a godsend when you are juggling a typical school-year schedule. We can put a frozen-solid pot roast in a covered roaster pan along with some carrots, potatoes and onions, a good shake of Worcestershire sauce and some garlic powder, stick the whole thing in the oven set to turn on at 325 at 3:30 p.m. and to switch to the "keep-warm" function at 6:30, and supper is ready literally the moment we get home.
Pot roast and stew are also very easy in the crock pot. I am particular about my pot roast. It cannot have the carrots in it. (Among other things that I am particular about.) We peel and dice potatoes the night before and put them in water in the fridge. Put bread in the bread machine on a timer the night before. When we get home, we fire the spuds, take out our pre-chopped salad makings, and a fruit. Dinner!
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Old 09-02-2011, 04:25 PM
 
Location: SoCal desert
8,092 posts, read 13,882,971 times
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Originally Posted by somebodynew View Post
Also dump chicken. We use a lot of dump chicken recipes.
Ha - so do I

//www.city-data.com/forum/18452652-post9.html
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Old 09-02-2011, 06:54 PM
 
Location: Burlington County NJ
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Thanks everyone!

For those dump recipes - do you suggest using boneless chicken breast or bone in? I have heard that if you cook boneless it dries out - so I'd like to avoid that. Should I put them in frozen? Would that help prevent the drying up? Also - it doesn't sound like there's a lot of liquid in the marinades - do I need to add water or broth or something when I put it in the crock pot?

Thanks much!
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Old 09-02-2011, 07:00 PM
 
Location: Burlington County NJ
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I've always been worried that if I freeze any kind of noodle, that when I heat it up - in the oven is my first choice - the noodles will get mushy. Is that something I should not be concerned with? I'd really like to make up a few dinners of baked ziti, chicken casserole, and some others - but I never have because of this. I generally like my noodles al dente.

Another question - how does rice freeze? If I make a casserole with rice - will it heat up in the oven well?

I REALLY appreciate everyone's help!
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Old 09-02-2011, 07:15 PM
 
Location: SoCal desert
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nic529 View Post
Thanks everyone!

For those dump recipes - do you suggest using boneless chicken breast or bone in? I have heard that if you cook boneless it dries out - so I'd like to avoid that. Should I put them in frozen? Would that help prevent the drying up? Also - it doesn't sound like there's a lot of liquid in the marinades - do I need to add water or broth or something when I put it in the crock pot?

Thanks much!
I prefer boneless, but I use both boneless and bone-in, whatever is cheaper at the time

Overcooking is what dries it out. Boneless cooks in less time. Skinless chicken will also dry out quicker. I get rid of the skin after it's cooked. And don't lift the lid on the crock pot!

I always throw it in frozen - with no extra liquid.

I have more of a problem with pork drying out - I always cook it too long

I crocked a frozen turkey breast last month - found one that fit the crock pot, sprinkled it top and bottom with Lawry's Season Salt, and let it cook. The crock was more than half full of liquid when it was done.

You might want to check out from your library a book called "Fix, Freeze, Feast" - it's more for bulk food buyers, but you can just halve the recipes and it'll give you ideas.

Last edited by Gandalara; 09-02-2011 at 07:27 PM..
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Old 09-02-2011, 07:16 PM
 
Location: SoCal desert
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Oh, and plain cooked rice freezes wonderfully!
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Old 09-02-2011, 07:30 PM
 
Location: Burlington County NJ
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Thanks Gandalara!

I thought all boneless chicken breast was also skinless - I'll have to look for it at our local grocery stores - I usually buy the giant boneless/skinless chicken breast and then I slice them in half to make them like thick cutlets - I get a lot of meals out of them this way. I only really started cooking in the last 6 months when I made some changes to my diet. I have a lot to learn still, and we are all picky eaters here lol. I really appreciate all your help.
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Old 09-02-2011, 07:55 PM
 
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Something else that works magnificently in the crockpot is turkey thighs. I've never done a turkey breast in the crock, but the thigh meat is absolutely wonderful. And at least at our grocery store, it's less expensive than the white meat.

Gandalara is quite correct about how much liquid you'll wind up with, as long as you don't lift the lid on the crock while it's cooking. In fact, that's how we get the base for turkey gravy for Thanksgiving dinner: a few days ahead of time, we crock up a couple of turkey thighs with some chunks of onion, a bay leaf or two, some garlic cloves and some sage. After eating the turkey for supper, we strain all the solids out of the liquid and leave it in a bowl in the refrigerator overnight. Next morning, we peel off the congealed fat from the top, cover with plastic, and then use that as the base for gravy. At other times of the year, we pack up the stock in pint-sized plastic freezer bags to freeze for later soups and gravies.

As far as bone-in or boneless is concerned, I do notice a slight taste/texture difference, and in general, I prefer bone-in meats. This is especially true when cooking in the crockpot, particularly if I have a specific use for the stock afterward. Some of the gelatin in the bones and connective tissues will cook out into the stock, and it'll be intensely rich and solid as a result. When you chill it, it'll congeal into a semi-solid, and whether you're making a soup, a gravy, a stew or just need broth for a recipe, that solid, richly flavored meat stock/gel will really enhance the finished product.
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Old 07-23-2012, 03:19 PM
 
Location: Islip,NY
18,316 posts, read 22,708,632 times
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Default Make ahead meals

Does anyone on here make meals ahead of time for the week or a few days? I just started doing this. I made pasta with broccoli rabe today and a tuna noodle casserole, I also have some asparagus quiche left over. This will last us a few days. I will be starting a new part time job at Stop and shop supermarket in 2 weeks, then in Septemeber I will work in the school cafeteria so I will have 2 part time jobs then.Don't know what my hours will be at the stop and shop but I may be working at the school till 2:00 pm then the supermarket from 3:00 to7:00 pm a few days a week and I have to do weekends. I figured on the days I have time I can make 3 different meals for the week. What do you guys do?
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