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Welcome to another blog in my Beat the Winter Blues series. You’re probably wondering how freezer meals fit into my plan to beat my own case of SAD (seasonal affective disorder) naturally.  For me one of the first signs that depression is looming is a serious lack in motivation. Although I do get some satisfaction from cooking, I am by no meals a “foodie”.  So a lack of motivation and a down emotional state are not a good combination for me. I’ll stop cooking and then because I’m feeling depressed the first kinds of food I’ll reach for are unhealthy/convenience foods. Then I’ll feel guilty for eating processed unhealthy food and my response… you guessed it, eat more. It’s a terribly vicious cycle. If any of you are emotional eaters you get it!

 

In order to avoid this cycle my goal is to make enough healthy home cooked freezer meals to last my family 3 full months.  Since I’m making them anyway I thought I’d share my recipes with you.

 

Penne & Peas “Alfredo” Casserole

Penne Peas Alfredo Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 1 box whole wheat penne
  • 1 bag of frozen peas
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 8 cloves of garlic (4 whole, 4 diced/crushed)
  • 1 (120z) package of silken tofu
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (you can substitute parmesane)
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1 cup fresh chopped basil
  • 1 tbsp cracked pepper (to taste if you want it less spicy)

Instructions:

  • Cook the pasta according to the instructions. Drain and rinse.
  • Combine tofu, tahini, nutritional yeast, basil and 4 whole garlic cloves into your food processor
    • Blend on high until you have a creamy sauce and everything is well blended
  • In a large bowl or pot combine sauce with peas and cooked penne
  • Saute your onions and garlic until your onions are translucent (3-5 minutes)
  • Add to the pasta along with your cracked pepper
  • Transfer to 3 3lb freezer tins, label and freeze
    • Add 1/2 cup of water, cover with tin foil and bake at 420F for 1 hour
      • I doubled this recipe so I had 6 containers total

Label Penne

No Boil 3 Cheese Manicotti

Manicotti

I based my recipe on this post. I was unhappy with the lack of vegetables in this recipe. I followed the instructions exactly except I made one major change. As with the above recipe I doubled everything but I will provide you the recipe for 1 serving.

Ingredients: Filling

  • 2 cups of cottage cheese
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1-1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Mix well and place everything inside a large ziploc bag with a hole cut out of one of the corners (makes filling the manicotti easier)

Remaining Ingredients:

  • 1 package of manicotti shells
  • 1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese
  • Jar of can of your favourite pasta sauce

Here is where I changed the recipe a bit. I added a TON of shredded veggies to my pasta sauce (remember I doubled the recipe so you will want to do about half the veggies)

  • 3 peppers
  • 1 onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 zucchinis
  • 4 cloves of garlic

In batches I pulsed everything in my food processor until I had nice small pieces. I added it to my pasta sauce with the following spices:

  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp rosemary
  • 1 tbsp basil
  • 1 tbsp parsley
  • 1 tsp marjoram

I cooked everything for about 1 hour to allow the flavours to combine nicely

 

Instructions:

  • Using either cooking spray or a bit of vegetable oil, lightly grease your tins so the cheese doesn’t stick.
    • I used 3lb tins
  • Use about 1 to 1-1/2 cups of your veggies pasta sauce on the bottom of the tray
  • Fill 5 shells and place them in the tins
  • Top with 1 to 1-1/2 cups of veggie pasta sauce
  • Mix together 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese and 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella
    • Sprinkle some on the top of your manicotti
  • Label your containers and place in the freezer
  • Bak eat 375F for 1 hour – let cool for 10 minutes

 

Crispy Quinoa Patties

Crispy Quinoa Patties

This recipe can be found over at Sally’s Baking Addiction. This recipe makes about 20 patties.

Ingredients:

  • 2-2/3 cups of cooked quinoa
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp salt (I used Herbamare)
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 small onion (finely chopped)
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 3/4 cup of whole wheat breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped carrots and zuchinni
    • I used green pepper instead of zuchinni
    • I added a lot more veggies than this to the recipe
      • This made it a bit runny so I added an extra 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs

Instructions:

  • Stir all of the ingredients together
  • Take a small handful of the mixture and form a patty
    • I placed each patty on a small piece of saran wrap
    • Wrap well and then wrap in a small piece of foil
  • Once they are all wrapped up place them on a baking tray and place in the freezer
    • Once they are all frozen toss them in a labeled ziploc bag

 

Cooking Instructions (After Thawing):

  •  Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat
  • Place 5-6 patties on the skillet and cover
  • Cook for 7-10 minutes until the bottoms are a deep brown
  • Flip and cook for an additional 5 minutes or until browned

 

Stay tuned for my next installment of freezer meals! Thanks for reading :)