Freezer Cooking Recipes

Healthy-Recipes

Freezer Dinner Recipes

We’ve all been there before, it’s getting late in the afternoon and you’ve realized there isn’t anything for dinner. You grab a convenience meal out of the freezer that unfortunately is full of sodium and nasty preservatives. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. That’s where this section will come in handy for you.

We aren’t expecting you to spend your only day off in the kitchen preparing meal after meal. These recipes are set up so that you can prepare your meal tonight and an extra one (or 2 or 3!) to put in the freezer for those busy nights. From tasty casseroles to savory marinated meats, these dinners use fresh ingredients so that you can enjoy a delicious, nutritious meal any night of the week.

We also put together 4 full weeks of low calorie freezer recipe menu plans so you can have planned menus while cooking only half the time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Low Calorie Freezer Cooking Recipes and Menus

freezer-menus

This meal plan consists of four weeks worth of freezer cooking recipes, complete with the recipes for each day's main dish and side dishes.

We've lightened-up freezer cooking; each meal is under 500 calories.

The link for each link has the recipes and the full meal plan to go with each day. These are lighter freezer cooking dinner recipe ideas so your family can eat healthier and you can enjoy the ease of know you won't have to cook every night. 

Each recipe prepares at least one extra entree to enjoy another night.

 

Week One Freezer Cooking Recipes and Menus

The assortment in this week of freezer cooking dinner recipes (with pictures) includes a lot of variety, including vegetables even the kids will love.

*Pork Tender Wellington with Roasted Vegetables

*Ham and Sweet Potato Pot Pies with Roasted Broccoli and Chickpeas

*Chicken and Vegetable Enchiladas with Zucchini, Corn, and Cilantro Salad

*Jumbo Stuffed Shells with Bread

*Asian Beef Strips with Sesame Fried Greens and Rice

*Seafood and Wild Rice Casserole with Squash and Tomato Gratin

*Black Bean Chili with Rice

 

Week Two Freezer Cooking Recipes and Menus

The second week of freezer cooking dinner recipes (including pictures), has recipes from other cultures. Expand your dinner horizons the easy way!

*Butternut Squash Bisque with Ravioli and Herb Cheese Bread

*Oven Baked Pork Chops with Twice Baked Potatoes

*Veggie-Filled Turkey Burritos with Tomato Stuffed Red Peppers

*Hot and Spicy Goulash

*Sirloin Strips with Asparagus Over Pasta with Green Beans

*Chicken Caesar Casserole with Carrots and Parsnips

*Mu Shu Pork and Rice

 

Week Three Freezer Cooking Recipes and Menus

Comfort food like macaroni and cheese and kid-favorite chicken strips highlight the third week of freezer cooking dinner recipes (with pictures).

*Mac and Cheese Bake

*Coconut Crusted Chicken Strips with Mashed Sweet Potatoes

*Beefy Green Chili Enchilada Casserole with Southwestern Black Bean Salad

*Herb Chicken with Creamy Cabbage and Cauliflower

*Asian Pork and Apples with Balsamic Pan Roasted Broccoli

*Shrimp and Rice Florentine with Biscuits

*Gorgonzola Burgers on Wheat Buns with Zucchini Chips

 

Week Four Freezer Cooking Recipes and Menus

The fourth week of freezer cooking dinner recipes (with pictures) includes tasty, filling casseroles and traditional family favorites.

*Butternut Squash, Swiss Chard, and Spinach Lasagna

*Creamy Turkey Casserole with Cauliflower and Broccoli

*Pork and Poblano Pepper Pozole

*Italian Stuffed Meatloaf with Mashed Potatoes and Carrots

*Lightened Up Paella

*Lasagna Roll Ups with Pesto Cream Sauce and Salad

*Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Sauteed Green Beans and Biscuits

 

 

 

Jumbo Stuffed Shells

Bread of your choice

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Jumbo Stuffed Shells Ingredients:

1 (12 ounce) package jumbo stuffed shells
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups tomato juice
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
½ teaspoon sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
1½ pounds ground sirloin
2 large egg whites
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup Italian bread crumbs
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
½ teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1 (8 ounce) package part-skim Mozzarella cheese, shredded


Supplies needed:
Two 8x8 foil baking pans

Directions:

1. Cook pasta shells according to directions on package, omitting oil and salt; drain and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, prepare sauce; in a nonstick skillet coated with nonstick cooking spray, sauté onion until tender. Add garlic, tomato juice, tomato paste, sugar, and season with salt and pepper; simmer 10 minutes.

3. In a large nonstick skillet, cook the sirloin until done; drain any excess fat.

4. Off the heat, add egg whites, Parmesan, bread crumbs, parsley, basil, oregano, and season with salt and pepper.

5. Pour a quarter of the tomato sauce in each baking pan. Stuff shells with filling. Arrange stuffed shells in baking dishes and cover with remaining sauce.

6. To prepare and eat now, preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with Mozzarella cheese and continue to bake for 10 minutes longer.

Makes 2 entrees, each entrée serves 4

To freeze:
Do not bake before freezing. Cool completely, then wrap, label, and freeze for up to 3 months.

Label:
Remove from freezer to defrost. Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until heated. Sprinkle with Mozzarella and continue baking for 10 minutes longer.

Nutritional facts:
Calories 402
Fat 10g
Cholesterol 65mg
Sodium 667mg
Carbohydrate 45g
Fiber 3g
Protein 33g
Diabetic Exchanges: 3½ lean meat, 2½ starch, 1½ vegetable

Veggie-Filled Turkey Burritos

Tomato-Stuffed Red Peppers

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Begin tonight’s side dish first which will allow plenty of time to finish the entrée during roasting. This freezer meal also has the bonus of 2 extra burritos on top of the 2 entrees; they make a great quick lunch in the microwave.

Veggie-Filled Turkey Burritos Ingredients:

2 tablespoons canola oil
1 onion, halved, thinly sliced
1 pound lean ground turkey breast
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 cups shredded carrots
1 cup golden raisins
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 teaspoon rubbed dried sage
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
1 (15 ounce) can lima beans, rinsed and drained
1½ cups crumbled queso blanco cheese
10 whole wheat flour tortillas

Supplies needed:
Plastic wrap
1 gallon freezer bag, labeled

Directions:

1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Cook onion and ground turkey, stirring often, for 5 to 6 minutes or until turkey is browned and onion is softened. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Stir in shredded carrots and cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes.

3. Add raisins, tomato sauce, sage, cinnamon, parsley, and lima beans, stirring to combine. Cook for 2 minutes and then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Divide turkey mixture among tortillas and sprinkle with cheese. Fold tortilla ends over and roll burrito-style. Serve immediately.

Serves 10

To freeze extra burritos:
Let cool completely. Wrap each burrito with plastic wrap and place in labeled freezer bag. Freeze up to 3 months.

Label:
Remove from freezer to defrost overnight in refrigerator. Reheat individual burritos on high for 1½ minutes or until heated through. Or preheat oven to 350°F and place frozen wrap on baking sheet from 15 to 20 minutes or until heated through.

Nutritional facts:
Calories 305
Fat 12g
Cholesterol 45mg
Sodium 672mg
Carbohydrate 36g
Fiber 12g
Protein 16g

Tomato-Stuffed Red Peppers Ingredients:

Cooking spray
4 large red bell peppers
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons chopped calamata olives
4 medium ripe tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
Black pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat a large, shallow baking dish with cooking spray.

2. Cut the peppers in half lengthwise, removing the seeds but leaving the stem (the stem is not edible but it helps the pepper retain its shape). Place the peppers cut side up in the baking dish.

3. Divide the sliced garlic and olives evenly among the peppers.

4. Cut each tomato into 8 wedges and put 4 wedges into each pepper half.

5. Drizzle each pepper with a little oil and season with pepper.

6. Roast the peppers until they are tender and beginning to brown around the edges, about 50 minutes. Serve immediately.

Nutritional facts:
Calories 150
Fat 9g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 100mg
Carbohydrate 15g
Fiber 3g
Protein 3g

Chicken Stuffed with Feta, Spinach, & Ham

Sautéed Green Beans with Feta and Oregano
Dinner Rolls (100 calories each)

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Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Feta, Spinach, and Ham Ingredients:

8 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper to taste
3 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese
½ cup reduced-fat feta cheese
½ cup baby spinach leaves
8 thin slices ham

Supplies needed:
1 gallon freezer bag, labeled

Directions:

1. With a knife, make a split along one side of the chicken breast to form a pocket; repeat with each breast. Season breasts with salt and pepper.

2. In a small bowl, mix together the cream cheese and feta with a fork. Stuff each chicken breast with the cheese mixture, spinach, and ham.

3. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place 4 of the chicken breasts on a baking dish coated with non-stick cooking spray, cover with foil, and bake for 40 to 45 minutes until done.

Makes 2 entrees, each entree serves 4

To freeze extra breasts:
Do not bake before freezing. After chicken breasts are filled, wrap individually, label, and freeze for up to 4 to 6 months.

Label:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place frozen chicken breasts in a baking dish coated with non-stick cooking spray, and bake, covered with foil, for one hour or until tender. You can also defrost the chicken breasts and bake them, covered for 45 to 50 minutes or until tender.

Nutritional facts:
Calories 197
Fat 5g
Cholesterol 90mg
Sodium 463mg
Carbohydrate 1g
Fiber 0g
Protein 34g
Diabetic Exchange: 4.5 lean meat


Sautéed Green Beans with Feta and Oregano Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound green beans, trimmed and cut on the bias into 2-inch lengths
Salt and pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup water
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons fresh oregano, minced
¼ cup crumbled feta cheese

Directions:

1. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium heat until just smoking. Add the beans and ¼ teaspoon salt and cook until spotty brown, 4 to 6 minutes.

2. Clear the center of the skillet and add the remaining teaspoon oil and garlic.  Cook, mashing the mixture into the pan, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir it into the beans.

3. Add the water, cover, and cook until the beans are bright green and still crisp, about 2 minutes. Uncover, increase the heat to high, and cook until the water evaporates and the beans are crisp-tender and lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes.  Off the heat, stir in the lemon juice and oregano, season with salt and pepper to taste, sprinkle with feta, and serve. Serving size: ¾ cup, serves 4

Nutritional facts:
Calories 90
Fat 5g
Cholesterol 5mg
Sodium 230mg
Carbohydrate 9g
Fiber 4g
Protein 3g

Sirloin Strips and Asparagus over Pasta

Sautéed Green Beans

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Sirloin Strips and Asparagus Ingredients:

1 pound asparagus, ends trimmed, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 onion, sliced
1 (10¾ ounce) can beef broth, divided
1 pound boneless sirloin steak, trimmed of excess fat and cut into thin strips
1 (10¾ ounce) can tomato puree
1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
¼ teaspoon pepper
Whole wheat pasta of your choice, 4 servings

Supplies needed:
1 gallon freezer bag, labeled

Directions:

1. Prepare pasta according to package directions.

2. Meanwhile, coat a large non-stick skillet with non-stick cooking spray and cook asparagus, onion, and ⅔ cup beef broth, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the liquid is almost evaporated; remove the asparagus mixture from the skillet, set aside and keep warm.

3. Add the steak to skillet and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring, until the steak is no longer pink.

4. Return the asparagus mixture to the skillet. Stir in the remaining broth and the tomato puree, basil, and pepper. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes longer, stirring frequently, until the meat is done. Serve over pasta.

Makes 2 entrees, each entree serves 4

To freeze:
Cool to room temperature, transfer to gallon freezer bag, and freeze up to 2 months.

Label:
Remove from freezer to defrost. Reheat in a non-stick skillet over low heat until thoroughly heated.  

Nutritional facts (doesn’t include pasta):
Calories 225
Fat 5g
Cholesterol 46mg
Sodium 396mg
Carbohydrate 15g
Fiber 4g
Protein 30g
Diabetic Exchanges: 3 lean meat, 3 vegetable

Sautéed Green Beans Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound green beans, trimmed and cut on the bias into 2-inch lengths
Salt and pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup water
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil

Directions:

1. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium heat until just smoking. Add the beans and ¼ teaspoon salt and cook until spotty brown, 4 to 6 minutes.

2. Clear the center of the skillet and add the remaining teaspoon oil and garlic.  Cook, mashing the mixture into the pan, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir it into the beans.

3. Add the water, cover, and cook until the beans are bright green and still crisp, about 2 minutes. Uncover, increase the heat to high, and cook until the water evaporates and the beans are crisp-tender and lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes.  Off the heat, stir in the lemon juice and basil, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve. Serving size: ¾ cup, serves 4

Nutritional facts:
Calories 70
Fat 4g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 150mg
Carbohydrate 9g
Fiber 4g
Protein 2g









 

Shrimp and Rice Florentine

Side Salad
Bread of your choice

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Shrimp and Rice Florentine Ingredients:

1 (5 ounce) package yellow saffron rice
1 cup onion, chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1½ pounds medium shrimp, peeled
1 (10¾ ounce) can reduced-fat cream of mushroom soup
1 cup shredded, reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese
⅓ cup dry sherry
2 cups cooked long grain rice
1 (8 ounce) can sliced water chestnuts, drained
1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, cooked and drained
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, divided
Salt and pepper to taste

Supplies needed:
Two 8x8 foil pans

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F and spray 2 foil pans with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Cook the yellow rice according to package directions; omitting any oil and salt.

3. In a large nonstick skillet coated with nonstick cooking spray, sauté the onions, garlic, and shrimp until the shrimp is done and the onion is tender, about 6 to 8 minutes.

4. Stir in the mushroom soup, Monterey Jack, and sherry, heating until the soup is warm.  

5. Add the yellow rice, long grain rice, water chestnuts, spinach, Parmesan, and salt and pepper, mixing well.

6. Pour into prepared pans.

7. To prepare now: bake, covered, for 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Makes 2 entrees, each entree serves 4

To freeze:
Let cool completely. Wrap, label, and freeze for up to 2 months.

Label:
Remove from freezer to defrost overnight in refrigerator. Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake, covered, for 30 to 40 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Nutritional facts:
Calories 286
Fat 5g
Cholesterol 136mg
Sodium 718mg
Carbohydrate 35g
Fiber 3g
Protein 23g

Seafood and Wild Rice Casserole

Squash and Tomato Gratin

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Seafood and Wild Rice Casserole Ingredients:

2 (6 ounce) boxes wild rice
1 tablespoon butter
1 onion, chopped
½ pound sliced mushrooms
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups chicken broth
½ cup skim milk
⅓ cup white wine
Salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 pound cooked shrimp
1 pound white crabmeat, picked for shells
1 bunch green onions (scallions), chopped

Supplies needed:
Foil

Directions:

1. Cook the rice according to package directions; set aside.

2. In a large non-stick skillet, melt the butter and sauté the onions and mushrooms until tender, about 5 minutes.  

3. Add lemon juice. Gradually add the flour, stirring for one minute. Gradually add the chicken broth and milk. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until thickened. Add the wine and continue cooking for 2 minutes. Reserve ¾ cup sauce.

4. Combine the remaining sauce with the rice, Parmesan cheese, shrimp, crabmeat, and green onions, mixing well.

5. Transfer to a 1-quart casserole dish coated with non-stick cooking spray. Pour half of the reserved sauce on top of the casserole.

Serves 4

To freeze casserole:
Wrap a 1-quart casserole dish with foil. Cool to room temperature, then wrap, and flash freeze for 1 hour. Wrap with foil and plastic wrap and freeze for up to 2 months.

Label:
Remove from freezer to defrost. Preheat the oven to 350°F and bake, covered, for 40 to 45 minutes or until well heated.

Nutritional facts:
Calories 283
Fat 5g
Cholesterol 136mg
Sodium 348mg
Carbohydrate 31g
Fiber 4g
Protein 26g
Diabetic Exchanges: 2 lean meat, 2 starch

Squash and Tomato Gratin Ingredients:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive
4 onions, halved and sliced thin
1 teaspoon light or dark brown sugar
Salt and pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium zucchini (about 8 ounces) trimmed and sliced ⅛ inch thick
1 medium yellow squash (about 8 ounces) trimmed and sliced ⅛ inch thick
1 pound plum tomatoes (4 to 6), cored and sliced ⅛ inch thick
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
½ cup shredded Gruyère cheese (about 2 ounces)

Directions:

1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onions, sugar, and ¼ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are golden and caramelized, about 30 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds, then remove from the heat.

2. Lightly spray a 13x9-inch baking dish with vegetable oil spray. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 375°F. Spread the onion mixture into the prepared baking dish. Following the photo, alternately shingle the sliced zucchini, yellow squash, and tomatoes on top of the onions.  

3. Brush the tops of the vegetables with the remaining tablespoon oil. Sprinkle with the thyme and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover the dish tightly with foil and bake until the vegetables are almost tender, about 30 minutes.

4. Remove the foil, sprinkle with the Gruyère, and continue to bake until bubbling around the edges and lightly browned on top, 20 to 30 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 4

Nutritional facts:
Calories 225
Fat 14g
Cholesterol 15mg
Sodium 203mg
Carbohydrate 21g
Fiber 6g
Protein 7g
 

Pork Tender Wellington

Roasted Vegetables

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Pork Tender Wellington Ingredients:

2 (10 ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach
½ pound sliced mushrooms
1 onion, chopped
½ teaspoon minced garlic
2 (1 pound) pork tenderloins, trimmed of fat
Salt and pepper to taste
1 package phyllo dough

Supplies needed:
Plastic wrap
1 gallon freezer bag, labeled

Directions:

1. Cook spinach according to package directions, drain and squeeze dry; set aside.

2. In a large nonstick skillet coated with nonstick cooking spray, sauté the mushrooms, onion, and garlic until tender. Add the spinach.

3. Transfer spinach mixture to a food processor and pulse until puréed. Season to taste.

4. Season each tenderloin with salt and pepper. Mold the spinach mixture around the sides and top of each tenderloin.

5. On waxed paper, layer ten sheets of phyllo dough, spraying each layer with nonstick cooking spray. Lay the spinach-covered tenderloin on one end of the phyllo dough and roll up, tucking the ends on each side under. Repeat procedure with the remaining phyllo dough and tenderloin. Spray each wrapped tenderloin with nonstick cooking spray.

6. To prepare and eat now, preheat the oven to 375°. Place the wrapped tenderloin on a baking sheet coated with nonstick cooking spray. Bake for 45 minutes or until the phyllo dough is lightly browned and a meat thermometer reads 160°F.

Makes 2 entrees, each entree serves 4

To freeze:
Do not bake before freezing. Let cool completely. Wrap the individual tenderloins in waxed paper, then plastic wrap. Place in a labeled gallon freezer bag and freeze up to 2 months.

Label:
Remove from freezer to defrost. Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until a meat thermometer reads 160°F.

Nutritional facts:
Calories 346
Fat 6g
Cholesterol 63mg
Sodium 328mg
Carbohydrate 43g
Fiber 4g
Protein 30g

Roasted Vegetables Ingredients:

4 medium beets
3 tablespoons olive oil
1½ pounds carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch thick rounds
1½ pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half lengthwise
8 large garlic cloves, left unpeeled
½ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
¼ teaspoon pepper, plus more to taste
1 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

2. Put the whole beets into a small baking dish and run them with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and roast for 30 minutes.

3. Put the carrots, sprouts, and garlic cloves in a large baking dish and toss with remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

4. After the beets have cooked for 30 minutes, add the large pan of vegetables to the oven separately, and cook everything for 1 hour more, stirring the vegetable mixture once or twice.

5. Remove the beets from the oven and transfer them to a cutting board to cool. Stir thyme into the carrot and Brussels sprout mixture and let it continue to cook for another 10 minutes while the beets are cooled and cut.

6. When the beets are cool enough to handle, after about 5 minutes, peel, then cut them into 1-inch chunks. Remove the other vegetables from the oven, toss with beets, season with salt and pepper, and serve.

Serves 8

Nutritional facts:
Calories 143
Fat 6g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 259mg
Carbohydrate 21g
Fiber 7g
Protein 5g

Pork and Poblano Pozole


Pork and Poblano Pozole Ingredients:

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ pounds boneless pork loin, cut into bite-size cubes
1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 poblano chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded, diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 (28 ounce) can hominy, drained

Supplies needed:
One gallon freezer bag, labeled

Directions:

1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, for 4 to 5 minutes.

2. Add garlic and cook, stirring for 30 seconds.

3. Add pork, cumin, coriander, oregano, paprika, and salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally until pork is browned on all sides.

4. Stir in poblanos and jalapenos.

5. Add enough vegetable broth to cover ingredients with 2 inches of liquid. Stir and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes.

6. Stir in hominy and simmer for 20 minutes more.

7. To serve now, serve immediately. Garnish with diced avocado, shredded cheese, and a sprinkle of finely chopped cilantro, if desired.

Makes 2 entrees, each entrée serves 4

To freeze:
Let cool completely. Pour into gallon freezer bag, squeeze out excess air, seal, and freeze up to 3 months.

Label:
Remove from freezer to defrost overnight in refrigerator. Reheat in a large nonstick saucepan over medium-high heat until heated through.

Nutritional facts:
Calories 504
Fat 8g
Cholesterol 57mg
Sodium 173mg
Carbohydrate 82g
Fiber 6g
Protein 28g

Lightened Up Paella

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Lightened Up Paella Ingredients:

4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
Pinch of saffron threads
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
8 ounces hot Italian turkey sausage, halved lengthwise, sliced crosswise
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cubed
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 onion, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, seeded, quartered, sliced
1 large yellow bell pepper, seeded, quartered, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon smoked sweet paprika
2 cups paella or Arborio rice
1 (14.25 ounce) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
2 cups frozen peas
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
8 ounces frozen medium-size shrimp, cooked

Supplies needed:
1 gallon freezer bag, labeled
1 quart freezer bag, labeled

Directions:

1. Place chicken broth in a saucepan over medium-heat. Rub saffron with your fingers, crushing it, as you sprinkle it into the broth. Stir and bring to a low simmer, reducing heat to low to keep it warm.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large wide skillet over medium heat. Add turkey sausage and cook, stirring often for 2 to 3 minutes.

3. Add chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 4 minutes or until chicken is lightly browned. Season with salt and pepper, stir to combine, and then remove both meats with a slotted spoon and set aside.

4. Add remaining olive oil to pan and cook onions and bell peppers, stirring occasionally, until softened.

5. Add garlic and sprinkle with paprika. Cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute.

6. Add rice, stirring to coat with oil and lightly toast.

7. Add chicken broth, stirring to combine and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

8. Raise heat to medium and return chicken and sausage to pan, stirring to combine. Add tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Add more broth or water if necessary and simmer for 5 minutes.

9. Stir in peas and parsley and simmer for 5 minutes or until rice is tender and most of the liquid has evaporated and there is a light (not burned) crust on the bottom of the mixture. Remove from heat.

10. To serve immediately, add shrimp and serve half of paella immediately.

Makes 2 entrees, each entree serves 4

To freeze:
Let other half cool completely. Put shrimp in quart freezer bag to avoid overcooking when reheating. Transfer paella to gallon freezer bag, removing as much air as possible before sealing and freezing.

Label:
Remove shrimp and paella from freezer to defrost overnight in refrigerator. Place paella in a large pan over medium heat. Add 3 to 4 tablespoons of water and reheat, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Add shrimp and continue to reheat for 5 minutes.

Nutritional facts:
Calories 459
Fat 15g
Cholesterol 123mg
Sodium 692mg
Carbohydrate 49g
Fiber 5g
Protein 31g
 

Oven Baked Pork Chops

Twice Baked Potatoes with Blue Cheese and Mushrooms

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Oven Baked Pork Chops Ingredients:

8 boneless pork loin chops (about 3½ pounds)
Salt and pepper to taste
⅔ cup Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1⅓ cup Italian breadcrumbs

Supplies needed:
1 gallon freezer bag, labeled

Directions:

1. Season the pork chops with salt and pepper.

2. In a small bowl, mix together the Dijon and Worcestershire sauce.  

3. Dip each pork chop in the mustard mixture to cover and coat heavily with breadcrumbs.

4. Preheat the oven to broil. Cover a baking sheet with foil and lay a baking rack on top. Lay 4 of the coated pork chops on the baking rack and broil for 5 to 7 minutes on each side or until done.  

Makes 2 entrees, each entree serves 4

To freeze extra chops:
Do not bake before freezing. After breading pork chops, wrap individually, label, and freeze for up to 2 months.

Label:
Remove from freezer to defrost or place on rack directly from the freezer. Preheat the oven to broil. Cover a baking sheet with foil and lay a baking rack on top. Lay the coated pork chops on the baking rack and broil for 8 to 12 minutes on each side or until done.

Nutritional facts:
Calories 302
Fat 10g
Cholesterol 81mg
Sodium 797mg
Carbohydrate 18g
Fiber 2g
Protein 34g
Diabetic Exchanges: 1 lean meat, 1 starch

Twice-Baked Potatoes with Blue Cheese and Mushrooms Ingredients:

4 russet potatoes (about 8 ounces each), scrubbed and patted dry
1 teaspoon canola oil
8 ounces white button mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 onion, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup crumbled blue cheese
½ cup low far sour cream, at room temperature
¼ cup skim milk
½ teaspoon dry mustard
Salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Adjust the oven racks to the upper-middle and middle positions and heat the oven to 400°F. Rub the potatoes with the oil, place directly on the upper oven rack, and bake until the skins are crisp and deep brown and a skewer easily pierces the flesh, about 1 hour, flipping them over halfway through baking.

2. White the potatoes bake, in a 10-inch nonstick skillet sauté the mushrooms with ⅛ teaspoon salt and olive oil until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and cover to keep warm.

3. Melt the butter in the same skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened and lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant about 30 seconds. Transfer to a bowl and cover to keep warm.

4. Transfer the potatoes to a wire rack set over a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet and let cool slightly, about 10 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to 500°F.

5. Cut each potato in half lengthwise through the narrow, curved side. Using an oven mitt or a folded kitchen towel to hold the hot potatoes, scoop the flesh from each potato half into a medium bowl, leaving ⅛-inch thickness of flesh in each shell. Transfer the potato shells back to the wire rack.

6. Mash the potato flesh with a potato masher or fork until smooth. Stir in ½ cup of the crumbled blue cheese, sour cream, milk, dry mustard, onion-garlic, mixture, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ⅛ teaspoon pepper. Spoon the mixture into the potato shells, mounding it slightly in the center. Sprinkle with the mushrooms followed by the remaining ½ cup cheese.

7. Bake the potatoes on the middle rack until the shells are crisp and the cheese is melted and spotty brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Serves 8.

Nutritional facts:
Calories 200
Fat 8g
Cholesterol 15mg
Sodium 460mg
Carbohydrate 25g
Fiber 2g
Protein 7g

Mu Shu Pork

Brown Rice

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Tonight’s entrée can be paired with your family’s favorite brown rice or Chinese noodle. Prepare the marinade the night before or the morning of so the tender pork can soak in all that delicious flavor. Start your rice or noodles right before beginning the cooking process so you can have everything finished together.

Mu Shu Pork Ingredients:

2 pounds pork tenderloin, cut into strips
½ cup tamari or soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed
Juice and grated zest of 2 limes
2 tablespoons Asian seasoning
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 onion, halved, thinly sliced
1 small head napa cabbage, very thinly sliced crosswise
3 carrots, shredded
½ cup hoisin sauce
8 cups brown rice

Supplies needed:
3 gallon freezer bags, 1 labeled

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, whisk together tamari, sesame oil, garlic, lime juice and zest, and Asian seasoning. Add pork to marinade, tossing to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

2. Heat canola oil in a wok or large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork and cook, stirring often, until browned and cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate with juices. Add more oil to the wok or skillet, if needed.

3. Add onion, cabbage, and carrots to wok or skillet and cook, stirring often, until vegetables are tender. Add pork to vegetable mixture and stir in hoisin, tossing to coat pork and vegetables. Remove from heat.

To serve now: Divide rice in half, divide first half among 4 bowls. Divide pork mixture in half, divide first half on top of rice.

Makes 2 entrees, each entree serves 4

To freeze:
Let cool completely. Place rice in a 1 gallon freezer bag, removing as much air as possible before sealing. Place pork mixture in second gallon freezer bag, removing as much as possible. Place both bags in labeled freezer bag.

Label:
Remove from freezer to defrost in refrigerator overnight. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place rice in the bottom of a baking dish. Pour pork mixture over top. Cover baking dish with foil and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until heated through.

Nutritional facts:
Calories 361
Fat 17g
Cholesterol 108mg
Sodium 1380mg
Carbohydrate 16g
Fiber 3g
Protein 38g

Mac and Cheese Bake

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This kid-favorite dinner is given a healthy makeover with whole-wheat pasta and frozen spinach. The delicious blend of flavorful cheeses makes this a new mom and dad favorite too.

Mac and Cheese Bake Ingredients:

⅓ cup dry whole-wheat bread crumbs
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 package (16 ounce) frozen spinach
3½ cups milk, divided
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
2 cups shredded Gouda cheese
2 cups low-fat cottage cheese
½ teaspoon nutmeg
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 pound whole-wheat penne
½ teaspoon nutmeg

Supplies needed:
Two - 8x8 foil baking dish

Directions:

1. Generously spray both baking dishes with cooking spray. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

2. In a small bowl, toss together bread crumbs and olive oil.

3. Cook spinach according to package directions. Drain and refresh under cold water. Press out excess moisture. Set aside.

4. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, bring 3 cups milk to a low simmer.

5. In a small bowl, whisk together remaining milk and flour until smooth. Whisk flour mixture into hot milk mixture, whisking constantly, until sauce thickens.

6. Remove saucepan from heat and stir in Cheddar and Gouda, stirring until cheese melts. Stir in cottage cheese and season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper.

7. Cook pasta in the pot of boiling water for 3 minutes less than package directions, about 6 minutes. Drain in colander and add to cheese sauce, stirring to combine.

8. Spread one-quarter of the pasta mixture in the prepared baking dishes. Spoon spinach over top. Top with remaining pasta and sprinkle with bread crumbs.

9. To serve now, preheat the oven to 400°F. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly.

Makes 2 entrees, each entree serves 4

To freeze:
Let cool completely. Generously spray a sheet of plastic wrap with cooking spray and lay on top of mac and cheese. Tightly wrap with heavy-duty aluminum foil.

Label:
Remove from freezer to defrost. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Remove foil and plastic from dish. Bake for 30 minutes or until heated through and bubbly.

Nutritional facts:
Calories 417
Fat 21g
Cholesterol 72mg
Sodium 181mg
Carbohydrate 31g
Fiber 7g
Protein 25g

Lasagna Roll Ups with Pesto Cream Sauce

Cherry Tomato and Greens Salad

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Lasagna Roll Ups with Pesto Cream Sauce Ingredients:

1 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
½ pound sliced mushrooms
½ cup finely chopped carrots
1 pound ground sirloin
1 cup reduced-fat ricotta cheese
1 (16 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
1 egg white
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 pound lasagna noodles
½ cup prepared pesto
1½ cups fat-free half and half
Grated Parmesan cheese, optional

Supplies needed:
Two 8x8 foil pans

Directions:

1. In a large nonstick skillet coated with nonstick cooking spray, sauté the onion, garlic, mushrooms, and carrots for 5 minutes over medium heat, until almost tender.

2. Add the sirloin and cook until beef is done. Remove from heat and drain any excess fat.

3. Off the heat, add the ricotta, tomatoes, egg white, basil, oregano, and salt and pepper. Set aside.

4. In a small bowl mix pesto and half and half. Set aside.

5. Meanwhile, prepare pasta according to directions on the package; drain.

6. Spread each lasagna noodle with about 2 tablespoons ground meat mixture. Roll up lengthwise and set in 8x8 foil pans coated with nonstick cooking spray. Pour pesto cream sauce over lasagna.

7. To serve now, preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake, covered with foil, for 30 to 40 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, and continue baking for 5 minutes.

Makes 2 entrees, each entrée serves 4

To freeze:
Do not bake before freezing. Cool to room temperature, wrap, label, and freeze up to 3 months.

Label:
Remove from freezer to defrost. Bake at 350°F for 30 to 40 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, uncover, and continue baking for 5 minutes.

Nutritional facts:
Calories 418
Fat 11g
Cholesterol 40mg
Sodium 233mg
Carbohydrate 56g
Fiber 4g
Protein 28g

Diabetic Exchanges: 2½ lean meat, 3 starch, 2 vegetable

Cherry Tomato and Greens Salad Ingredients:

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon tomato juice
2 teaspoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon black pepper
1 small garlic clove, pressed
1 (5 ounce) package gourmet salad greens (about 6 cups)
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons (½ ounce) shredded Asiago or fresh Parmesan cheese

Directions:

1. Combine first 6 ingredients in small bowl, stirring with a whisk.

2. Combine greens and tomatoes in a large bowl; add dressing and toss well. Sprinkle with cheese.

Serves 4, 1½ cup serving

Nutritional facts:
Calories 50
Fat 4g
Cholesterol 3mg
Sodium 233mg
Carbohydrate 4g
Fiber 1g
Protein 2g

Italian Stuffed Meatloaf

Creamy Mashed Potatoes
Honey Glazed Carrots

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Italian Stuffed Meatloaf Ingredients:

2 pounds ground sirloin
1 large egg white
1 cup tomato juice
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1 onion, chopped
4 ounces sliced, part-skim Mozzarella or provolone cheese
½ cup frozen spinach, cooked according to package directions and squeezed dry
½ cup jarred, roasted red peppers, draining and chopped

Supplies needed:
Foil
Plastic wrap

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. In large bowl, combine the sirloin, egg white, tomato juice, salt and pepper, garlic, and oregano.

3. In a small non-stick skillet coated with non-stick cooking spray, sauté onion until tender. Add the cooked onion to the meat mixture, mixing well.

4. Put half the meat mixture into a non-stick 9x5x3-inch loaf pan coated with non-stick cooking spray, layer with Mozzarella cheese, spinach, and red peppers and cover with remaining meat mixture. Bake meatloaf for one hour or until meat is done. Serve half of meatloaf.   

Makes 2 entrees, each entree serves 4

To freeze:
Cool to room temperature, then wrap, label, and freeze up to 3 months.

Label:
Remove from freezer to defrost. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated.  

Nutritional facts:
Calories 188
Fat 7g
Cholesterol 69mg
Sodium 284mg
Carbohydrate 4g
Fiber 1g
Protein 27g

Diabetic Exchanges: 3½ lean meat, 1 vegetable

Creamy Mashed Potatoes Ingredients:

2 pounds russet potatoes (about 4 medium), peeled and sliced ½ inch thick
Salt and pepper
½ cup 2% low-fat milk, warmed
⅓ cup low-fat sour cream, room temperature
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Directions:

1. Place the potatoes and 1 tablespoon salt in a large saucepan, add enough water to voer the potatoes by 1 inch, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently until the potatoes are tender but not falling apart, about 15 minutes.

2. Drain the potatoes and return to the saucepan set on the still-hot burner. Using a potato masher, mash the potatoes until just a few small lumps remain. Fold in the milk, sour cream, and butter until just incorporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Yield: 6 servings, ⅔ cup serving

Nutritional facts:
Calories 180
Fat 5g
Cholesterol 10mg
Sodium 115mg
Carbohydrate 31g
Fiber 2g
Protein 5g

Honey Glazed Carrots Ingredients:

1½ pounds carrots (about 9), peeled and sliced ¼ inch thick on the bias
½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Directions:

1. Bring the carrots, broth, and ¼ teaspoon salt to a simmer in a 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce the heat to medium, and cook until the carrots are almost tender, about 5 minutes.

2. Uncover, increase the heat to high, and simmer rapidly until the liquid measures about 2 tablespoons, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the honey and butter and continue to cook, stirring often, until the carrots are completely tender and the sauce has reduced to a light golden glaze, about 4 minutes.

3. Off the heat, stir in the lemon juice, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

Yield: 4 servings, ¾ cup serving

Nutritional facts:
Calories 120
Fat 3g
Cholesterol 10mg
Sodium 350mg
Carbohydrate 24g
Fiber 4g
Protein 2g








 

Hot and Spicy Goulash

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Hot and Spicy Goulash Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds extra-lean ground beef
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 onion, diced
2 jalapenos, seeded and minced
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
3 cans (15 ounce) stewed tomatoes, do not drain
1 pound whole wheat pasta
1 (15 ounce) can lima beans, rinsed and drained
¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

Supplies needed:
1 gallon freezer bag, labeled

Directions:

1. Heat oil in a stockpot over medium heat. Add beef, green peppers, onion, and jalapeno and cook, stirring often, until beef is browned and vegetables are tender.

2. Season with salt and pepper, chili powder, cinnamon, cumin, and coriander, stirring to combine.

3. Add stewed tomatoes and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Cook pasta in salted boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes less than package directions. Drain and add to beef mixture. Stir in lima beans.

5. If mixture seems too thick, stir in ½ cup water and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in cilantro and remove from heat.

6. To serve now, serve immediately.

Makes 2 entrees, each entree serves 4

To freeze:
Let cool completely. Transfer to labeled freezer bag, seal, and freeze for up to 2 months.

Label:
Remove from freezer to defrost. Reheat in a stockpot over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes or until heated through.

Nutritional facts:
Calories 472
Fat 11g
Cholesterol 71mg
Sodium 561mg
Carbohydrate 61g
Fiber 7g
Protein 35g

Herb Chicken

Creamy Green Cabbage with Thyme
Browned and Braised Cauliflower with Garlic and White Wine

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Herb Chicken Ingredients:

8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons butter
4 green onions, chopped
4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
1½ cup white wine
1 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme

Supplies needed:
1 8x8 foil pan

Directions:

1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and dust with flour.

2. In a large non-stick skillet, melt the butter and brown the chicken on both sides, about 5 to 7 minutes each side. If serving immediately, make sure chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165°F. Remove the cooked-through chicken to a serving platter and the remaining 4 breasts to foil pan.

3. In a small bowl, mix the green onions, parsley, wine, rosemary, and thyme leaves. Pour into the skillet and stir with bits remaining in pan. Cook over medium heat until bubbly. Pour over the chicken.

Makes 2 entrees, each entree serves 4

To freeze:
Cool to room temperature, wrap, label, and freeze. Freeze up to 2 months.

Label:
Remove from freezer to defrost. Bake at 325°F for 30 to 40 minutes or until chicken is done.

Nutritional facts:
Calories 224
Fat 7g
Cholesterol 83mg
Sodium 123mg
Carbohydrate 3g
Fiber 1g
Protein 28g

Diabetic Exchanges: 3½ lean meat

Brown and Braised Cauliflower with Garlic and White Wine Ingredients:

4 teaspoons olive oil
1 head cauliflower (about 2 pounds), cored and cut into bite-sized florets (about 6 cups)
3 garlic cloves, minced
⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes
⅓ cup dry white wine
⅓ cup low-sodium chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

Directions:

1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the cauliflower and cook, stirring occasionally, until the florets are golden brown, 7 to 9 minutes.

2. Clear the center of the skillet, add the remaining teaspoon oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Cook, mashing the mixture into the skillet, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir it into the cauliflower.

3. Stir in the wine, broth, and ½ teaspoon salt, cover, and cook, until the cauliflower is crisp-tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook until the liquid is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the Parmesan and parsley, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

Yield: 4 servings, ¾ cup serving

Nutritional facts:
Calories 140
Fat 6g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 460mg
Carbohydrate 14g
Fiber 6g
Protein 6g

Creamy Green Cabbage with Thyme Ingredients:

1 tablespoon canola oil
3 shallots, halved and sliced thin
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme or ¼ teaspoon dried
¼ teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted
1 head green cabbage (about 2 pounds), cored and sliced thin
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
¼ cup dry white wine
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup half and half

Directions:

1. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the shallots and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the thyme and cumin seeds and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

2. Stir in the cabbage, broth, wine, and ½ teaspoon salt and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is wilted and tender, 10 to 15 minutes.

3. Stir in the half and half and cook, uncovered, until it is slightly thickened, 2 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Yield: 6 servings, ¾ cup serving

Nutritional facts:
Calories 90
Fat 3.5g
Cholesterol 5mg
Sodium 320mg
Carbohydrate 11g
Fiber 4g
Protein 3g
 

Ham and Sweet Potato Pot Pies

Pan Roasted Broccoli and Chickpeas

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Ham and Sweet Potato Pot Pies Ingredients:

1 cup chopped onion
2 cups peeled, cubed sweet potatoes
1 cup chicken broth, divided
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup skim milk
2 cups cubed, cooked lean ham
⅓ cup frozen peas
1 9-inch refrigerated pie crust
⅓ cup chopped pecans

Supplies needed:
6 foil pot pie pans

Directions:

1. In a large nonstick pot coated with nonstick cooking spray, sauté the onion over medium heat for 5 minutes.

2. Add sweet potatoes and ⅔ cup broth. Bring mixture to a boil and simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender.  

3. Add flour, stirring. Gradually add milk and remaining broth, stirring until well combined.

4. Add ham and peas, and bring mixture to a boil. Remove from heat and transfer mixture to pot pie dishes coated with nonstick cooking spray.  

5. Unfold crust and sprinkle pecans on top. Fold the crust in half, and roll with a rolling pin, pressing pecans into the crust until it is big enough to cut into 6 circles to cover pies.

6. Cut into 6 circles and lay over top of pies.

7. To prepare and eat now, preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the crust is brown.

Makes 6 pot pies

To freeze:
Do not bake before freezing. Cool to room temperature, wrap, label, and freeze. Freeze up to 1 month.

Label:
Remove from freezer to defrost. Bake at 350°F for 30 to 40 minutes or until the crust is brown and mixture is heated through. If crust browns too quickly, cover with foil.

Nutritional facts:
Calories 302
Fat 10g
Cholesterol 81mg
Sodium 787mg
Carbohydrate 18g
Fiber 2g
Protein 34g

Diabetic Exchanges: 4 lean meat, 1 starch

Pan-Roasted Broccoli and Chickpeas Ingredients:

5 teaspoons olive oil
1 bunch broccoli (about 1½ pounds), florets cut into bite-sized pieces, stems peeled and sliced ¼ inch thick on the bias
3 tablespoons water
1 cup rinsed canned chickpeas
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking.

2. Add the broccoli stems and cook, without stirring, until they are browned on the bottoms, about 2 minutes.

3. Stir in the florets and cook, without stirring, until the florets begin to brown on the bottom, 1 to 2 minutes.

4. Add the water, cover, and cook until the broccoli is bright green but still crisp, about 2 minutes. Uncover and chickpeas and garlic to the skillet. Continue to cook until the water has evaporated and the broccoli is just tender about 2 minutes.

5. Off the heat, stir in the parsley, lemon juice, and remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Yield: 6 servings, ¾ cup serving

Nutritional facts:
Calories 110
Fat 4.5g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 170mg
Carbohydrate 14g
Fiber 5g
Protein 5g








 

Gorgonzola Burgers

Whole-Grain Bun
Zucchini Chips

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These delicious grilled gorgonzola burgers are a fantastic dinner choice on busy nights. When you have extra time, serve them topped with caramelized onions.

Gorgonzola Burgers Ingredients:

2 pounds extra-lean ground beef
½ teaspoon salt
Black pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
8 ounces gorgonzola cheese

Supplies needed:
Plastic wrap
1 gallon freezer bag, labeled

Directions:

1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

2. In a large bowl, mix together beef, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Shape into 16 same-size thin patties. Note: Make as thin as possible.

3. Place 1 ounce crumbled gorgonzola on 8 of the patties, spreading it out almost to the edges. Place remaining patties on top, pressing down and sealing edges.

4. Oil the grate and grill burgers for 4 to 5 minutes per side or until desired doneness. Serve 4 immediately. Transfer remaining 4 to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

Makes 2 entrees, each entree serves 4

To freeze:
Place burgers on a baking sheet and freeze until firm. Wrap each burger in plastic wrap and place in freezer bag. Freeze up to 3 months. Note: You may also freeze 4 whole-grain buns in a gallon freezer bag to be used later.

Label:
Let burgers thaw in refrigerator overnight. Preheat oven to 375°F. Place burgers on a baking sheet and cook for 10 minutes or until heated through.

Nutritional facts:
Calories 258
Fat 15g
Cholesterol 96mg
Sodium 616mg
Carbohydrate 1g
Fiber 0g
Protein 31g

Zucchini Chips Ingredients:

Cooking spray
1 pound zucchini (about 2 medium)
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup plain dry breadcrumbs
⅛ teaspoon salt
Black pepper, to taste

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Coat a baking dish with cooking spray.

2. Slice the zucchini into ¼ inch thick rounds.

3. In a medium bowl, toss the zucchini with the oil.

4. In a small bowl, combine the Parmesan, breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper. Dip each round into the Parmesan mixture, coating it evenly on both sides, and place in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.

5. Bake the zucchini rounds until browned and crisp, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

Serves 4

Nutritional facts:
Calories 105
Fat 6g
Cholesterol 1mg
Sodium 222mg
Carbohydrate 9g
Fiber 2g
Protein 5g




 

Creamy Turkey Casserole with Broccoli and Cauliflower

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Creamy Turkey Casserole with Broccoli and Cauliflower Ingredients:

3 cups broccoli florets
3 cups cauliflower florets
6 cups chopped cooked skinless turkey breast
1½ cups chopped dried prunes
2 cans (10¾ ounce) low-fat reduced-sodium cream of chicken soup
1 cup light mayonnaise made with olive oil
1 cup finely chopped red onion
¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
2 cups shredded Havarti cheese, divided
Salt and black pepper, to taste

Supplies needed:
Two 8x8 foil pans

Directions:

1. Steam broccoli and cauliflower until fork-tender. Chop coarsely and set aside to cool.

2. In a large bowl, combine turkey, prunes, soup, mayonnaise, onion, parsley, thyme, and 1 cup Havarti. Stir in broccoli and cauliflower. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Divide mixture between two 8x8 foil pans. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

4. To serve now, preheat oven to 375°F. Cover casserole with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 10 minutes more or until cheese is melted and lightly browned.

Makes 2 entrées, each entrée serves 4

To freeze:
Wrap with plastic wrap and foil. Freeze up to 3 months.

Label:
Let thaw overnight in refrigerator. Preheat oven to 375°F. Cover casserole with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 10 minutes more or until cheese is melted and lightly browned.

Nutritional facts:
Calories 521
Fat 26g
Cholesterol 90mg
Sodium 226mg
Carbohydrate 39g
Fiber 8g
Protein 32g
 

Coconut-Crusted Chicken Strips

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

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Coconut-Crusted Chicken Strips Ingredients:

Olive oil cooking spray
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cups wheat flour
1 ½ cups shredded coconut
1 teaspoon salt
Pepper, to taste
¼ teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3 eggs

Supplies needed:
1 gallon freezer bag, labeled

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F and spray 2 rimmed baking sheets with olive oil cooking spray.

2. With the smooth side of a mallet, lightly pound chicken breasts to an even ½ inch thickness. Cut them into 1 inch wide strips. Set aside.

3. In a wide shall dish, whisk together flour, coconut, salt, pepper, cayenne, and oregano. In a second shallow dish, beat eggs.

4. Dip chicken strips in egg mixture, allowing excess to drip off, and then coat on all sides in coconut mixture. Set on baking sheet.

5. Spray chicken strips with olive oil cooking spray. Bake for 25 minutes, rotating pans half way through, or until coating is toasted and chicken is cooked through.

6. To serve now, serve half of chicken strips immediately.

Makes 2 entrees, each entree serves 4

To freeze:
Let one pan of chicken strips cool completely. Leave chicken strips on baking sheet and freeze until solid. Transfer chicken strips to labeled gallon freezer bag, removing as much air as possible before sealing.

Label:
Remove from freezer to defrost overnight in refrigerator. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place chicken on a baking sheet and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until heated through.

Nutritional facts:
Calories 283
Fat 13g
Cholesterol 95mg
Sodium 417mg
Carbohydrate 11g
Fiber 3g
Protein 32g

Mashed Sweet Potatoes Ingredients:

2 large sweet potatoes (about 1 ½ pounds), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
¼ cup low-fat buttermilk
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
Pinch of ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon light brown sugar (optional)
Salt to taste
2 teaspoons unsalted butter (optional), cut into 4 pieces

Directions:

1. Place the sweet potatoes in a steamer basket fitted over a large pot of boiling water. Cover and steam until the potatoes are knife tender, 12-15 minutes.

2. While potatoes are cooking, place the buttermilk into a small saucepan and cook over the lowest possible heat until just warm. Be careful not to let it boil or it will curdle.

3. Drain the potatoes and return them to their pot. Add the warm buttermilk and orange juice and mash until smooth. Stir in the orange zest, nutmeg, and brown sugar. Season with salt. Serve the potatoes topped with the butter, if desired.

Serves 4

Nutritional facts:
Calories 157
Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0.5mg
Sodium 110mg
Carbohydrate 36g
Fiber 5g
Protein 3g

Chicken Caesar Casserole

Skillet Roasted Carrots and Parsnips

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Chicken Caesar Casserole Ingredients:

2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts,  cut into chunks
Salt and pepper, to taste
½ cup chopped red bell pepper
½ cup chopped green onion
⅓ cup light Creamy Caesar dressing
½ cup chicken broth
1 ½ cups shredded, part-skim Mozzarella cheese
1 (12 ounce) package tubular pasta, cooked according to package directions, drained
¼ cup Caesar or Italian croutons, crushed, optional

Supplies needed:
2 8x8 foil pans

Directions:

1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.

2. In a large non-stick skillet, cook chicken. If serving immediately, make sure chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165°F. Remove the chicken to a large bowl.

3. Add remaining ingredients except crushed croutons to bowl and combine.

4. Spray both 8x8 baking dishes with nonstick cooking spray and divide mixture evenly amongst both dishes. Top with crushed croutons.

5. To prepare and eat now, preheat oven to 350°F and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly.

Makes 2 entrees, each entree serves 4

To freeze:
Do not bake before freezing. Cool to room temperature, wrap, label, and freeze. Freeze up to 2 months.

Label:
Remove from freezer to defrost. Bake at 350°F for 30 to 35 minutes or until bubbly.

Nutritional facts:
Calories 349
Fat 6g
Cholesterol 52mg
Sodium 723mg
Carbohydrate 39g
Fiber 1g
Protein 32g

Diabetic Exchanges: 4 very lean meat, 1.5 starch

Skillet Roasted Carrots and Parsnips Ingredients:

¼ cup warm water
¾ teaspoon sugar
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon canola oil
4 carrots (about 12 ounces), peeled and sliced ½ inch thick on the bias
3 parsnips (about 9 ounces), peeled and sliced ½ inch thick on the bias
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

Directions:

1. Whisk the water, sugar, and ½ teaspoon salt together in a bowl until dissolved.

2. Heat the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the carrots and water mixture, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the carrots begin to soften but a substantial amount of water remains in the skillet, 7 to 9 minutes.

3. Uncover, increase the heat to high, and add the parsnips. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally until the water has completely evaporated and the vegetables are well browned, 13 to 18 minutes.

4. Off the heat, stir in the parsley, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.


Yield: 4 servings, ¾ cup serving

Nutritional facts:
Calories 120
Fat 4g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 360mg
Carbohydrate 21g
Fiber 6g
Protein 2g
















 

Chicken and Veggie Enchiladas

Zucchini with Corn and Cilantro

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Tonight’s entrée and side dish both used freshly chopped cilantro; store fresh cilantro with cut ends in a jar of water and leaves loosely covered with a plastic bag for several days and change water every 2 days for best flavor.

Chicken and Veggie Enchiladas Ingredients:

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced small
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 clove garlic, minced
Zest, minced and juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
3 cups (5 ounces) baby spinach, washed
4 scallions, diced (green and white parts)
1 (7 ounce) can diced green chiles
½ cup light sour cream
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
1 (28 ounce) can red enchilada sauce
8 (10 inch) whole wheat flour tortillas
Whole black olives, optional
Chopped fresh cilantro

Supplies needed:
Plastic wrap
8x8 foil baking dish

Directions:

1. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add chicken and cook for 3 minutes, stirring often, to brown.

2. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes. Cover and let cook until mushrooms start to soften.

3. Add garlic, lemon zest and juice, spices, and spinach. Stir thoroughly. Cover with lid and cook until spinach starts to wilt. Stir well and check chicken for doneness; it should be cooked through.

4. Transfer chicken mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add scallions, sour cream, and 1 cup cheese, stirring to combine. Set aside.

5. Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray an 11x17-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

6. Pour enchilada sauce into a large skillet over medium-low heat.

7. When sauce is warm, dip both sides of a tortilla into sauce, allowing excess to drip off. Place tortilla against the short side of the baking dish and fill with chicken mixture. Roll tortilla around filling, tucking in edges and arranging it seam-side down. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling.

8. Pour remaining warm sauce over enchiladas. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Spray a large piece of foil with nonstick cooking spray and use it to cover baking dish with the sprayed side down to keep cheese from sticking to it.

9. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling. Remove foil and cook 10 minutes more to lightly brown cheese. Remove from oven and serve immediately with olives and cilantro.

Makes 2 entrees, each entree serves 4

To freeze:
Let cool completely. Move remaining 4 enchiladas to 8x8 foil baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze up to 3 months.

Label:
Remove from freezer to defrost in refrigerator overnight. Preheat oven to 350°F. Remove freezer wrap and cover dish with aluminum foil. Bake for 20 minutes or until heated through. Serve with olives and cilantro.

Nutritional facts:
Calories 446
Fat 19g
Cholesterol 66mg
Sodium 1247mg
Carbohydrate 41g
Fiber 17g
Protein 32g

Zucchini with Corn and Cilantro Ingredients:

1 teaspoon olive oil
3½ cups cubed zucchini (about 1 pound)
1 cup frozen whole-kernel corn
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
¼ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon black pepper

Directions:

1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add zucchini and corn; cook, stirring occasionally, 7 to 8 minutes or until zucchini is crisp-tender.

2. Remove from heat, and stir in cilantro and remaining ingredients.

Serves 4

Nutritional facts:
Calories 62
Fat 2g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 152mg
Carbohydrate 12g
Fiber 3g
Protein 3g

Butternut Squash, Chard, and Spinach Lasagna

Side Salad

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Butternut Squash, Chard, and Spinach Lasagna Ingredients:

1 (2 pound) butternut squash
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot
8 ounces baby spinach leaves, washed, drained, but left damp
1 container (16 ounces) part-skim ricotta
½ cup shredded Parmesan
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 bunch red chard, washed, drained, but left damp
1 jar (28 ounces) spicy marinara sauce
8 uncooked whole-wheat lasagna noodles
1½ cups shredded mozzarella

Supplies needed:
5 freezer- and microwave-safe containers

Directions:

1. Chop the shallot. Remove stems from chard and coarsely chop.

2. With a knife or fork, poke holes or small slits all over squash. Place on a microwave-safe plate and microwave on high for 5 to 6 minutes or until a knife inserts easily into the skin.   

3. Let squash stand for 5 minutes or until cool enough to handle. Use a vegetable peeler to remove skin. Cut squash in half lengthwise and using a spoon remove seeds. Slice thinly and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.  

4. Preheat oven to 350°F and spray a 13x9x2-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

5. In a large nonstick saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Cook garlic and shallot, stirring frequently, until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add spinach and cook, stirring until wilted, 3 to 4 minutes.

6. Transfer spinach and any liquid to a medium bowl to cool slightly. Stir in ricotta, Parmesan, oregano, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Set aside.

7. In the same saucepan, add chard and season with salt and pepper. Press down and stir with a spatula for 1 to 2 minutes. Cover and cook until wilted, stirring occasionally, and adding a bit more water if pan gets dry, about 5 to 6 minutes.

8. Pour ½ cup marinara into the prepared baking dish, using the back of a spoon to evenly spread. Lay 3 or 4 noodles in sauce. Spread half of the ricotta mixture on noodles. Layer with butternut squash. Lay 3 or 4 noodles on squash and cover with half of the marinara sauce. Cover with chard and spread remaining ricotta mixture on top. Cover with remaining noodles and sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella.

9. Spray a large piece of foil with nonstick cooking spray and use it to tightly cover dish. Bake lasagna until sauce is bubbly, about 50 to 55 minutes. Remove foil and cook for 5 to 10 minutes more to brown cheese. Remove from oven and let stand at least 15 minutes before cutting.

Serves 10

To freeze:
Divide lasagna into freezer- and microwave-safe containers.

Label:
Remove from freezer to defrost. Microwave individual portions on high for 2 to 3 minutes or until heated through.

Nutritional facts:
Calories 434
Fat 13g
Cholesterol 31mg
Sodium 651mg
Carbohydrate 67g
Fiber 10g
Protein 22g

Butternut Bisque with Ravioli

Herb Cheese Bread

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Tonight’s dinner is a creamy, delicious bisque with ravioli and crispy, flavorful bread that will leave you full without that weighed-down feeling.

Butternut Bisque with Ravioli Ingredients:

1 tablespoon butter
1 cup chopped onion
4 pounds butternut squash, peeled, pulp and seeds removed and cut into cubes
4 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
Pinch cinnamon
Pinch nutmeg
4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese
1 cup fat-free half and half or buttermilk
Salt and pepper to taste
8 ounces cheese-filled ravioli

Supplies needed:
1 gallon freezer bag, labeled
1 quart freezer bag, filled with half of ravioli, labeled

Directions:

1. In a large non-stick pot, melt the butter and sauté the onion until tender.

2. Add the squash, broth, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer for about 15 minutes or until squash is tender.

3. In batches, pour soup with cream cheese and half and half into food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Cook ravioli according to package directions, then add to soup. Eat when ready.  

Makes 2 entrees each entree serves 4, serving size 1 cup

To freeze:
Do not cook ravioli before freezing. Cool soup to room temperature, transfer to freezer bag and freeze up to 3 months.

Label:
Remove from freezer to defrost. Reheat in a non-stick pot over low heat. Prepare ravioli according to package directions and add to heated bisque.

Nutritional facts:
Calories 209
Fat 7g
Cholesterol 26mg
Sodium 323mg
Carbohydrate 32g
Fiber 4g
Protein 8g

Diabetic Exchanges: ½ lean meat, 2 starch, ½ fat

Herb Cheese Bread Ingredients:

¼ cup finely chopped green onions
2 garlic cloves, minced
⅓ cup reduced-fat margarine
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
⅛ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 loaf (1 pound) unsliced French bread, halved lengthwise
¾ cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese

Directions:

1. In a small nonstick skillet, sauté onions and garlic in margarine for 1-2 minutes. Stir in the seasonings. Brush over cut sides of French bread; sprinkle with cheese.

2. Wrap each piece of bread loosely in a large piece of heavy-duty foil; seal edges of foil. Bake at 400°F for 20 to 25 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted. Cut each piece into six slices. Serve warm.

Yield: 12 servings

Nutritional facts:
Calories 147
Fat 5g
Cholesterol 5 mg
Sodium 339mg
Carbohydrate 20g
Fiber 1g
Protein 5g

Diabetic Exchange: 1½ starch, 1 fat



 

Black Bean Chili

Rice

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Prepare your favorite rice to serve this chili over for an even more-filling dinner or freshly baked cornbread.

Black Bean Chili Ingredients:

2 cups dried black beans, rinsed
1 cup chopped red onion
1 cup diced carrot
½ cup chopped red bell pepper
½ cup chopped green bell pepper
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 bay leaf
6 cups water
1 (10.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chilies
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup diced zucchini
1 cup diced yellow squash
1 cup frozen corn
1 tablespoon seeded and finely chopped jalapeno peppers

Supplies needed:
One gallon freezer bag, labeled

Directions:

1. Place the beans in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Let stand at least 4 hours or overnight. Drain.

2. In a large nonstick pot coated with nonstick cooking spray, sauté the onion, about 5 minutes.

3. Add the carrot, peppers, garlic, chili powder, cumin, cayenne, and bay leaf. Continue cooking, stirring often, until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.

4. Add the black beans and the 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour.

5. Add the tomatoes and chilies, salt and pepper, and continue cooking, uncovered, until beans are tender and the mixture is thick, 45 to 60 minutes.

6. Add the zucchini, yellow squash, corn, and jalapenos, cooking about 10 to 12 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

7. To eat now, serve half immediately over rice or cornbread.

Makes 2 entrees, each entree serves 4

To freeze:
Let cool completely. Pour into gallon freezer bag, squeeze out excess air, seal, and freeze up to 3 months.

Label:
Remove from freezer to defrost overnight in refrigerator. Reheat in a nonstick pot over low heat until heated through.

Nutritional facts:
Calories 221
Fat 1g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 188mg
Carbohydrate 43g
Fiber 7g
Protein 12g