Anyone who has known me for some length of time has discovered that I am a HUGE supporter of freeze ahead meals. When I am in a good groove with my schedule, I usually have anywhere from 20-40 meals and desserts/sides in my freezer for rotation. Sometimes I only prepare meals for the coming week and other times I do enormous sessions to stock my freezers- it all depends on time and resources but regardless of how much I can accomplish, each freeze ahead dish is a blessing for my time and energy that would otherwise be spent in my kitchen!
This week I picked up several value packages of chicken tenderloins at my local Sam’s Club to do some dump chicken recipes for the freezer. These are some of the easiest freeze ahead meals you will ever make. You literally ‘dump’ your chicken and seasonings in a freezer bag, label,and freeze. When you are ready to use them, pull them out the night before, thaw and ‘dump’ them into your crockpot, baking dish or skillet for a very easy and quick meal. I usually pair these meats with a salad, potato or pasta and veggies for a complete meal.
These are the meals I prepared this week:
Lemon-Garlic Basil Chicken
Lemon-Garlic Basil Chicken– This one is SO Yummy when prepared in the skillet. Combine olive oil, the juice of 1 lemon, chopped garlic, chopped basil, sea salt and pepper at the bottom of your labeled freezer gallon bag– I used about 1/2 cup of oil, 2 tblsp of garlic, 3 sprigs of fresh basil, and a teaspoon each of salt and pepper. I used 12 tenderloins of chicken. Add your chicken, seal the bag, and ‘mush’ the bag until the marinade is all over the chicken.
At this point, you will make sure there is no additional air in the bag. re seal and freeze flat in your freezer. When you’re ready to use: Remove from the freezer and thaw, heat up your skillet on the stove on medium heat, dump the contents of the bag into the hot skillet and cooked till the tenderloins are browned on each side. The marinade caramelizes and it gives a great flavor to the chicken. Serve with salad and rolls or steamed veggies and garlic bread. So good!
The BBQ chicken is really easy: Put your chicken in- dump a bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce into the bag, seal, mush, freeze. -To use: thaw, grill, cook on a skillet or in a crockpot. Is great served with salad, homemade mac-n-cheese for a yummy comfort food combo, or on buns with coleslaw for an awesome sandwich.
The same goes for Italian Chicken: Add chicken to the bag, dump a small bottle of Italian dressing in, seal, mush, freeze. (When you go to use this one, a nice variation is to add a block of cream cheese to the skillet or crockpot for a creamy version) Roasted garlic potatoes and steamed broccoli is yummy with this.
For the Chicken Tacos I add: 1 can each of diced tomatoes, rinsed corn, & rinsed black beans. Add taco seasonings of choice. Add chicken. Seal, mush, freeze. To use: I prefer this one in the crockpot, cooked for about 6-8 hours on low. The chicken gets really tender and shreds beautifully for amazing soft tacos. Serve taco fixings like salsa, sour cream and shredded cheese on the side.
3 value packs from Sam’s provided 6 generous dinners for our family of 8. For smaller families they’ll provide double that if you portion out the chicken a little more sparsely than I did. (I have major carnivores in my home!) It only took me about 40 minutes from start to finish to throw them all together, and that was with multiple interruptions from my kiddos.
If you’re looking to save time in the kitchen and simplify dinner time, consider freeze ahead meals– they are well worth it!