It is sooo easy to pull out a sauce and defrost it in the sink for 20 minutes and then transfer to a pot to warm while the noodles are cooking so I figured stocking up on these "comfort meals" would be perfect for once baby is here and for the cool fall/winter weather!
As I pointed out in my Freezer Cooking # 2 post, I prepare my “bags” to be for “2 servings.” Since there are only 2 of us eating…this helps with waste & portion control. If you will be serving more than 2 people with your freezer meals then you can cut the # of bags I tell you to prep for each sauce in half so that each bag has more sauce. ( i.e. – I will tell you to label 6 bags for “spaghetti sauce”, these bags will have enough for 2-3 servings each in them when the prepared sauce is divided equally between them, so if you would like your bags to have 4-6 servings, then divide the sauce evenly between 3 bags instead of 6.)
Also, I will be using my FoodSaver system to seal/store all of the sauces. For the sake of the instructions and so no one gets confused I will still refer to everything as “bags.” For this round of recipes you will need quart sized freezer bags if you follow my instructions how they are OR gallon sized bags if you are increasing serving sizes to (4).
Here is the menu for Freezer Cooking Round 3 “Sauce-A-Palooza”:
· Mom’s Spaghetti Sauce (6)
· Tomato Marinara Sauce (7)
· Sweet Onions (7 small) I bought a “bag” of sweet onions- it was less $
· Head of Garlic (1)
· Fresh Sliced Mushrooms (24 oz)Meat:
· 2.5 pounds Ground Beef
· 4-5 Ibs Beef Sirloin Tips ( I buy steaks and cut them down into tips/strips - less expensive!)
· ¾ cup Butter (1.5 sticks)
· 4.5 cups Beef Broth
· Worcestershire Sauce
· Sour Cream (This is added to the Beef Stroganoff LATER when you defrost it and are ready to eat so you may not want to buy this yet!)
· Yellow Mustard
· Tomato Paste ( 7)- 12 oz cans
· Crushed Tomatoes (4) – 28 oz cans
· 20 oz Chicken Broth
· 32 oz can Tomato Sauce
· Diced Tomatoes (2)-32 oz cans
· 1.5 cups milk
· ½ cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
· 6 Eggs
· 6 Slices White Bread
· White Sugar
· Oregano Leaves
· Bay Leaf (2)
· Salt & Pepper
· Garlic Salt
· Parsley Flakes
· Dried Basil
· Vegetable Oil & Olive Oil
· Freezer Bags
|Don't worry! I recycle!!|
· *You may also want to go ahead and buy a couple of packages of spaghetti noodles & egg noodles to have on hand for when you thaw the sauces- I usually stock up when they are on sale & when I have coupons*
I label everything with name, date and instructions BEFORE I start:
· Mom’s Spaghetti (6 bags): Thaw in Fridge or Sink, Heat & Serve over Noodles
· Beef Stroganoff (6 bags): Thaw in Fridge or Sink, Heat, Add 8 oz Sour Cream before serving over Egg Noodles
· Tomato Marinara (7 bags): Thaw in Fridge or Sink, Heat & Serve over Chicken Parmesan, Noodles OR make Baked Ziti.
Now it’s time to get started on the sauces!
1. First, you want to assess your “pot” situation. You will need (3) LARGE pots to make these sauces. I only have (2) large pots so I actually ended up prepping the marinara in (1) large pot and then transferred it into my 3qt and 5qt crock pots to simmer while the spaghetti sauce & beef stroganoff occupied the pots on the stove. Get your pots/crockpots ready on the counter/stove.
2. Prep the meat for the Beef Stroganoff: Make sure the beef sirloin is cut into strips or tips and place in a large bowl. Coat evenly with ¾ cup flour, 1 tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper. Set aside.
3. In Marinara Pot warm 2 tbsp olive iil. In Beef Stroganoff Pot melt ¾ cup butter and in Spaghetti Pot warm 2 tbsp vegetable oil. **MAKE SURE YOU DO NOT LET ANY OF THESE BURN!* Keep on LOW HEAT until you are ready to add onion. (If you will be using crock pots like I did for the Marinara Sauce then hold off on Spaghetti instructions until Marinara is transferred to crock pots.)
4. Next, chop all 7 onions- I have an onion chopper I used for this which made things a little easier. You will want to distribute (3) of the chopped onions into the melted butter/Beef Stroganoff pot, (2) of the chopped onions into the Marinara pot and (2) of the chopped onions into the Spaghetti Pot. Also, at this time add the beef tips coated in flour to the Beef Stroganoff pot. Add (6)cloves garlic minced to the Marinara Pot. Sauté all onions until translucent. Sauté beef & onions in Beef Stroganoff pot until beef is cooked through.
5. Once Onions are done it is time to assemble the sauces:
a. Marinara Sauce Pot:
i. Add 4- 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
ii. Add 20 oz chicken broth
iii. Add 32 oz tomato sauce
iv. Add 36 ounces tomato paste
v. Add 3 tbsp oregano
vi. Add 3 tbsp basil
vii. Add 2 tsp salt
viii. Add ½ tsp pepper
ix. Add ½ cup sugar (or more to taste)
x. Mix all together well and simmer for 1.5 hours OR transfer to crock pots at this time to simmer.
b. Beef Stroganoff Pot:
i. Add 4.5 cups beef broth
ii. Add 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
iii. Add 2 tbsp yellow mustard
iv. Add 6 oz tomato paste
v. Add 24 oz sliced mushrooms
vi. Mix all together well and simmer 1.5 hours
c. Spaghetti Pot:
i. Add 36 oz tomato paste
ii. Add 64 oz diced tomatoes
iii. Add 1 tbsp oregano leaves
iv. Add (2) bay leafs
v. Add ½ cup sugar (or more to taste)
vi. Add 2 cups water
vii. Mix all together well and simmer 1.5 hours *if it seems to thick, add more water*
6. While Sauces are simmering, you will need to prep the “meat” part of the spaghetti sauce. In a bowl mix the following ingredients together:
a. 2-2.5 pounds of ground beef
b. 1.5 cups milk
c. 1 tsp pepper
d. ½ cup parmesan cheese
e. 6 eggs (beaten with fork)
f. 6 slices white bread torn into tiny pieces
g. 1 tsp garlic salt
h. 2 tsp parsley flakesBrown the above ingredients in a skillet well. Add to Spaghetti Sauce pot after sauce has simmered at least an hour- mix well and let simmer an additional 30 minutes.
Once all sauce has simmered for 1.5 hours- let cool before placing in bags.
Distribute sauces evenly amongst # of prepped bags.
I usually put them in the freezer stacked as flat as possible on top of each other for easy storing.
Here is how I typically serve my sauces:
Spaghetti Sauce: Typically I just serve this over plain ole’ spaghetti noodles with salad & garlic bread.
Beef Stroganoff: I serve this over egg noodles with some sort of bread.
Marinara Sauce: I use this for all sorts of things! You can make baked ziti with it, serve it plain over noodles, over frozen ravioli or manicotti and my favorite way to serve this is over chicken parmesan.