Friday, May 25, 2012

Dinner #5 and #6: Cheesy Chicken And Rice Freezer Meal...Times Two

Yes...I said times two.  I made two meals at the same time.  One to eat tonight actually and one to freeze for later use.  I used the rest of the mojo chicken from Monday's dinner.  And the rest of the sliced onions too.'s still creating yummy dinners.  Can you believe it?  I told you it is super awesome to cook once and use it for many different meals.  Just makes sense, no?!

If you don't have leftover chicken, you can absolutely cut up one chicken breast per meal.  That's all you need if you are using the big chicken breasts that Price Chopper has on sale this week.

So first, let me again note that I cook rice a bag or two at a time.  I don't see any point in cooking rice in small batches.  It takes but a few minutes more to just cook an entire bag and it's not like it requires any extra work.  Once you get the water simmering, you just cover and walk away.  So I cook big batches of rice.  Use what I need that night and once cooled, I portion out the rest of the pot into small zip top baggies.  Press flat and freeze.  These are SO HANDY to have ready to use.  Simply defrost in the fridge or even straight into the microwave.  As you can see, they take up very little space when pressed flat in the baggies.  The first time you use a convenient, ready-cooked bag you will realize you can never go back.  This is my #1 quick dinner tip!

The following recipe makes TWO meals.  If you just want to make one meal, cut everything in half.  Each meal serves 4 people.

Cheesy Chicken and Rice Freezer Meal (makes two meals)

* 2-3 cups cooked chicken (or 2 raw breasts cut small)
* 4 cups cooked rice
* 2 onions, sliced
* 1 tbls butter
* 2 bags frozen veggies (I used mixed but plain broccoli is great too)
* 2 cups shredded cheese
* 1/4 cup milk
* 3 tbls cornstarch
* 2 tsp salt

* In a pan, saute onion in butter and EVOO until translucent.
* In another small pan, whisk together milk and cornstarch as temperature comes up to medium.  Add cheese and whisk together until smooth.  Remove from heat.  As it cools it will get very thick.
* On the outside of two zip top freezer bags, label the name of the meal and cooking instructions.  Very important to do this before you fill up the bag.
* Open bags and flip down top to keep clean.  Place bags in bowls to keep upright.
* In each bag, place half of each ingredient.  So each bag gets 1-1.5 cups cooked chicken (or one breast cubed), 2 cups cooked rice, 1 sauteed onion, 1 bag frozen veggies of choice, 1/2 of the cheese mixture and 1 tsp salt.
* Remove as much air as possible when zipping bag closed.  Press flat.  Freeze for later use.
* When ready to use, defrost in fridge over night.  Dump bag into baking dish and mix up a bit more with a spoon.
* Bake at 350 for 30-45 mins (on the shorter end if using pre-cooked chicken- longer if using raw chicken).
* Serve with a salad and enjoy!

So there you have it!  We just completed a series of SIX meals over the course of five days.  Did anyone try these recipes?  Do you also prepare once and use multiple times like we did with the chicken and onions this week?

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