Freezer Chicken Fajita Marinade Tutorial

grilled chicken fajita

I’ve been taking advantage of the warmer weather and continue to grill our chicken for various dishes. I’m still buying chicken on sale, $2 or less a pound. I throw the marinade together and freeze the chicken in the marinade for  future grilling.

I’m using two family packs of chicken to marinate.

I butterfly the breasts so they receive a good coating as they thaw. I also trim any excess fat.  The chicken is prepped and set aside.

Next I prepare the recipe below in a large glass measuring cup. This easily pours into three bags. Don’t forget to date and label your bags before you fill them.  Even though I’m grilling it all at the same time, three bags thaw quicker than one gallon size bag.

slightlyadapted from  Our Best Bites

 

Freezer Chicken Fajita Marinade

Yield: Marinade for 8 to 10 boneless chicken breast cutlets

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 6 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 6 garlic cloves pressed or substitute 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 3 Tablespoons vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons liquid smoke (found in the bbq sauce section of store)
  • 1 T. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper (3/4 tsp. ground pepper)
  • 1 t. onion powder

Instructions

  1. Label three quart-size freezer bags with date and contents.
  2. Place upright in a plastic shoebox.
  3. Slice 8-10 boneless chicken breasts into cutlets and divide among three bags.
  4. Mix all the marinade ingredients in a 4-cup measuring glass.
  5. Whisk well and divide among three bags filled with chicken breast cutlets.
  6. Squeeze air out of bags and seal.
  7. Freeze flat in the shoebox. Remove box when the chicken is frozen solid.
  8. Thaw 24 hours in the shoebox in the refrigerator to prevent any contents leaking. Grill until juices run clear. Do not over cook.
  9. Cover with foil and stand 5 minutes before serving. Grilled chicken can be refrozen for convenient future meals.
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I divide the chicken among the three bags along with the marinade. I eyeball it. No exact measuring involved. It appears to be a little under 2 cups total, so around 3/4 cup per bag if you want to get mathematical.

 

I give the marinade a good whirl with the whisk to mix in everything right before I pour. The weight of the chicken holds the bags steady as I pour and then I squeeze as much air out as possible being careful not to squeeze out the marinade.

Now that was easy. The three bags lie flat in my freezer and take up less space than the original packages. I’m going to have moist delicious chicken ready to grill without having to deal with frozen chicken or spices. I’m ready to thaw it all out and grill all three bags and have a grilled chicken dinner one night. I cool, dice and bag the remaining chicken for convenience chicken. 4 cups are reserved for enchiladas the next day. The rest of the diced chicken is portioned in 1-cup portions in quart size bags. I used these throughout the month for various recipes, such as quesadillas, pizza, tacos and more.

What recipes would you use your chicken fajita?

Menu Plan 10/31-11/6

I make chicken enchiladas when chicken goes on sale (under $2 a pound). I’ll marinate the chicken first and grill it as a meal and cut up the rest for enchildas and freeze bags of diced, cooked chicken for other meals. Enchildas can be frozen uncooked and baked for a potluck. This is our family favorite casserole so I make three pans about every 4-6 weeks.

Sunday-Crockpot turkey Chili got pushed from Sat. to Sun, cornbread

Monday-breakfast bar-eggs, frozen homemade biscuits, applesauce, turkey sausage

Tuesday-Tacos, carrots, pintos (from the freezer) and cheese

Wednesday-soup, grilled cheese, carrot sticks

Thursday-Grilled Chicken, sweet potatoes, salad, garlic bread

Friday-PNO potluck-taking enchildas and undecided dessert

Saturday-manicotti from the freezer, green beans, garlic bread

Snacks: Cinnamon rolls http://cookandplay.wordpress.com/2010/10/05/freezer-baking-47-cinnamon-rolls/(freeze some)

Weekly Dessert: Sweet Potato poundcake or slab apple pie?

How to freezer cook 8 Dozen Italian Meatballs

When is the best time to make meatballs? When your preferred meat goes on sale, of course. The average price per pound for ground beef in our area is $1.77 at Harris Teeter and $1.88 at Ingles this week so I’m making a double bubble batch. If you go early in the morning you ma get a reduced price from the day before (which is perfectly safe) if you make your meatballs and freeze them within 24 hours. Don’t let it sit in your fridge a while and then do it. If you don’t have time to make meatballs, you can freeze the meat and then thaw, cook and refreeze cooked.

I had two 3.5 pound packages of meat so I divided one into three pounds with a knife. Then I split one of the 1 pound parts in half and added it to my large 3,5 package and I had 4 pounds of meat for a double batch. The other two parts were devoted to tacos for the kids (went into the freezer).

First I measure  dry seasonings and beaten eggs and add this to the mixer. Then I mix until the oatmeal is moistened. You can also use bread.

I add the beef  and you can tell my mixer is full so I carefully mix it slow-just on the stir mode in short intervals (stopping and starting) until the beef starts to mix. Mix it until the fat is distributed. Gross, huh? You could do this by hand, if you’re not afraid of fat and lots of dishwashing liquid and hot water at the end.

Then I use my handy dandy notebook (just kidding); I’ve been hearing too many blues clues episodes. I love this scoop for everything. I never roll my meatballs or measure. I just use the scoop and scrape off the excess on the side of the bowl.

This step could be omitted, but foil catches the grease and you can throw it away when you’re done. It’s harsh on your septic pipes, especially without hot, hot water rinsing it down. It makes clean-up easier (I should work for a Reynolds).

I’ve scooped about eight dozen onto a rimmed cookie sheet and a 9×13 baking dish (you need it to be rimmed to keep the grease contained).

 I label and date my freezer bags while the meatballs are baking. I prefer the non-slider bags because they squeeze out more air, but this is what I had for some reason.

 Remove meatballs when they are done. I baked a double recipe for about 25 minutes (use a timer). Then allow them to cool  completely (cool to the touch-about 20 minutes or longer if you have time) on a plate with paper towels to drain excess fat. I’m using cloth napkins because I don’t use paper towels. I love using a tong because I can easily grab several meatballs at a time and it’s a great tool for loading them into the freezer bag.

 I put approximately 12 meatballs (4 per person) in a bag. I roll the air out by rolling the meatballs toward the zipper and then I seal the zipper. It’s almost like a vacuum seal. Like I said earlier, the slider bags don’t get as much of the air out :(

 I have eight bags for various meals throughout the month! See the meal ideas below and add your own. Double the ingredients below if you plan to make a double bubble recipe (it’s worth the effort and it requires no extra time).

 

How to freezer cook 8 Dozen Italian Meatballs

Ingredients

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ¾ cup soft breadcrumbs (about 1 slice) or ¾ cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 to 2 1/2 pounds ground turkey or beef

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients, except meat in a mixing bowl.
  2. Mix on low speed for about 1 minute.
  3. Add meat and mix on low pulses to mix thoroughly.
  4. Shape meatballs using a 1” scoop. Place all on a single layer pan or 9x13 pans with rims.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
  6. Remove and drain on paper towels and let cool about 30 minutes until cool to the touch.
  7. Label and date quart size bags. Divide approximately 40 meatballs among bags; 4-5 meatballs person.
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Meal ideas:

What is your favorite way to serve meatballs?

Menu Plan 10/24-10/30

Hubby was camping with our oldest son, so the rest of us went to 2 fall festivals. Caleb rode his first horse with sissy. A friend invited us to her church for potluck last night so I had a night off from cooking.

I’ve had very few weeks of sticking to the menu plan, but that’s what’s so glorious about having one. You can switich it up how ever you want because you have a PLAN.  Here’s what we’ll be eating for dinner this week.

Sun-PNO (parent’s night out for us and kids eat in) grilled cheese and soup

Mon-Double recipe pinto beans, sweet potatoes, fresh spinach, cornbread (freeze leftover cornbread for Saturday)

I’ll be sharing how to make dried beans and freeze for items, like chili or burritos. I’m making southwest burritos during freezer cooking class on Thursday so these pinto beans will be converted into refried beans, which I’ll share.

Tues-Chicken Enchiladas http://www.crisco.com/Recipes/Details.aspx?recipeID=1702  and apple crisp (from the freezer) to take to potluck-another night off from cooking :)

Wed-Cowboy Chicken quesadillas from http://www.ourbestbites.com/2010/10/cowboy-quesadillas.html

Thurs-Spaghetti with freezer sauce, garlic bread, salad

Fri-Grilled Homemade Pizza (I may change my mind since I’ve eaten pizza twice at church this past weekend; we shall see)

Saturday-Double recipe Turkey chili and leftover cornbread from Mon. (freeze extra chili for another night)

Snacks: Apple Muffins from http://www.lynnskitchenadventures.com/2009/09/apple-muffins.html  smoothies, popcorn, homemade trail mix with pretzels, goldfish and chocolate chips

How to Freeze Cookie Dough Balls

cookie dough balls

I like to double my chocolate chip cookie dough and freeze a portion for fresh cookies whenever we want. It’s great to have on hand for the kid’s lunches.
Sometimes I will bake extra cookies and freeze the baked cookies to keep them fresh for a while. This is a great way to keep them fresh for lunches for a week or two.

wwcookies

Other times, I will measure out the cookie dough with my stainless steel scoop and put as many as I can cookie sheet. This goes straight into my freezer for about two hours or overnight until they are solid. Then I pop them into a freezer bag with the temperature on the bag and the number of minutes to bake just in case hubby gets a craving or unexpected company comes and we need a sweet treat. One time, we baked a batch when we found out about a birthday. Then we put the cooled cookies into a pretty tin with a ribbon and gave it as a birthday present. Whew, saved by freezer cooking.

 

Either method works well to keep the cookies fresh. Plus it allows you to have preservative free cookies fresh from the oven anytime. It’s worth it to have extra butter and chocolate chips on hand to make a double batch to freeze!

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies (double batch recipe)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sugar (I use demarara)
  • 2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
  • 4 sticks butter, softened (defrost in microwave for 15-30 seconds)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 6 cups white whole wheat flour (I like King Arthur white whole wheat or sub half with unbleached all-purpose)
  • 4 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups high quality semi-sweet chocolate chips (I like Ghirardelli)

Directions:

Cream 4 sticks butter with 2 cups white sugar and 2 cups brown sugar. Add 4 eggs. Add dry ingredients and mix until combined. Add 4 tsp. vanilla and mix in chocolate chips.  Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto baking sheet about 2 inches apart.  Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes. Cool one minute and remove from baking sheet and completely cool on wire racks. Or flash freeze cookie dough balls and freeze in a labeled gallon size bag: Bake 375 for 12-14 minutes.

Which freezing method works for you? Baked or unbaked cookie dough balls?