PYP’s Freezer Meal Plan: The Chicken Edition

Here is how PYP Member “Dori” makes 9 meals in 3 hours for about 50 bucks
Each meal serves 4-6 people

The meals:

  • Chicken Spaghetti (Two times)
  • Fruity Curried Chicken
  • Chicken Chili
  • Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas
  • Cheesy Chicken and Rice Bake
  • Cheesy Chicken Shells
  • Chicken and Veggie Soup (Two times)

The Grocery List:

  • 3 whole roasting chickens (Approx 4-5 pounds each)
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese
  • 4 cups (1 pound) shredded cheddar cheese
  • ¾ cup shredded mozzarella
  • 4 cups (1 pound) shredded Monterey jack cheese
  • 15 oz ricotta cheese
  • 10 oz package frozen spinach leaves, thawed
  • 5 cups assorted veggies of your choice, finely diced. Example: green beans, corn, peas, broccoli, zucchini, cabbage, mushrooms. Check your fridge and freezer. You might already have them!
  • Small bag (9 oz) of fresh baby spinach leaves.
  • ½ lb broccoli florets
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 4 small onions or 2 large
  • 2 or 3 stalks of celery
  • 1 large carrot
  • 2 limes
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 3 – 15oz cans of white beans. Navy or cannellini.
  • 7 oz can diced green chilies
  • 5 quarts plus 1 can chicken broth I used this homemade veggie broth powder. BIG money saver!
  • 1 – 8.75 oz can apricots
  • 1 large or 2 small cans green enchilada sauce
  • 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 can condensed cheddar cheese soup
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup
  • ½ pound dried pasta in small shapes (stars, mini shells, etc)
  • 12 oz package thin spaghetti noodles
  • 12 uncooked jumbo pasta shells
  • 10 flour tortillas
  • 1 ½ cups uncooked long grain rice

Check the pantry to make sure you have:

  • 1 egg
  • garlic
  • honey
  • oil
  • Creole seasoning
  • Ground white pepper (black is fine if you don’t have white)
  • Cumin
  • Dried oregano
  • Cinnamon
  • Garlic powder
  • Seasoned salt
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Chili powder
  • Curry powder
  • Dried basil
  • Bay leaves

You’ll need a few gallon sized Ziploc bags and at least one 8X8 pan and one 9X13 pan that can go into the freezer.
For less stress and best results, start with a clean kitchen and an empty dishwasher.
You should be able to pull these all together within 3 hours or as soon as you can handle the chicken to remove it from the bones.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees while you rinse and pat dry the chickens.
Place them in a large roasting pan. Rub them down with some olive oil or vegetable oil and sprinkle them with some Creole seasoning or seasoned salt, your choice. Just trying to give them a hint of flavor and retain the juices by crisping up the skin.
Place the chickens in the oven and roast for 30 minutes. Then reduce the oven temperature to 350 and continue roasting for 45 minutes to an hour, until juices run clear or thermometer placed in thickest part of thigh reaches 165 degrees.
When they’re done, remove from oven and place the pan on a cooling rack to help them cool off faster.

While the chickens are roasting and cooling put together each meal.

Meal 1 and 2:
Start the Chicken and Veggie Soup.
In a very large stock pot, heat 2 tablespoons of oil, over medium heat.
Chop one onion, the celery, the carrot, half of the green bell pepper and half of the red pepper. Toss them in the pot with the heated oil. Add 2 Tablespoons of minced garlic, 1 Tablespoon dried basil, 2 teaspoons Creole seasoning, and 2 bay leaves.
Sauté veggies for about 4 minutes.
Add the 5 cups of finely diced assorted veggies and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Sauté for 1 minute.
Add 3 quarts of chicken broth.
Turn off the heat and let stand.

Meal 3:
Start the Chicken Chili.
Heat 1 Tablespoon oil in large pot over medium heat. Add 1 chopped onion and 3 cloves minced garlic and sauté until onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the canned green chilies, 1 Tablespoon ground cumin, 1 Tablespoon dried oregano, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, dash of cayenne pepper and dash of white pepper. Saute 5 more minutes. Drain 2 cans of white beans and add them to the onion and spice mixture. Add five cups chicken broth.
Take the third can of white beans and puree the beans with their liquid in a blender or food processor. Add this to the pot. Bring to a boil.
Remove from heat, stir in 2 cups shredded Monterey jack cheese. Stir until cheese is melted.
Let stand.

Put a large pot of water on to boil for the pasta shells.
If you need a pot, you can put the chicken chili in a large bowl to cool and rinse and reuse that pot.

While you wait for the water to boil and the shells to cook…

Meal 4:
Mix the ingredients for the Cheesy Chicken and Rice Bake
In a large bowl combine the cheddar cheese soup, 2 cups water, 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, ¾ cup uncooked long grain rice, ½ pound broccoli florets.
Set aside.

When the pasta shells are done, rinse with cold water and lay out on waxed paper so they won’t stick together.
Fill that pot with water again and bring to a boil for the spaghetti. Break the spaghetti into fourths and cook according to package directions. Do not overcook! When it’s done, drain and rinse with cold water.

While you wait for the water to boil and the spaghetti to cook…

Meal 5:
Make the filling for the Cheesy Chicken Shells
Squeeze the water from the thawed spinach and then chop it finely.
In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, 1 egg (slightly beaten), the thawed spinach, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1 Tablespoon dried oregano. Mix until well combined. Stir in ¼ cup parmesan and ¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese.
Set aside.

Meal 6 and 7:
Make the Chicken Spaghetti
In a large bowl combine the 2 cans cream of chicken soup, 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, the other half of the red bell pepper (chopped), the other half of the green bell pepper (chopped), one chopped onion, 2 cups chicken broth, 1 teaspoon seasoned salt, black pepper, pinch of cayenne pepper and the cooked spaghetti. Mix well. Set aside.

Meal 8:
Fruity Curried Chicken
In a medium saucepan, heat ¾ cup long grain white rice, 1 chopped onion and 2 ½ cups chicken broth to a boil. Stir, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer on low for 18 minutes without lifting lid. Then turn off the heat.

While the rice cooks, it’s time to pick all that chicken off the bones. Get as much chicken off as you can and put it in a big bowl. No need to worry about the size for now. Just get it off the bones.
Save all the skin and bones for later. Just leave them in the roasting pan for now.

Now let’s finish a few things up.
Turn the Chicken and veggie soup back on. Bring it to a boil and add the ½ pound of small pasta. Continue to boil until the pasta is slightly underdone. Turn off heat.

Meanwhile, Grab a couple of handfuls of chicken and chop it in large chunks (1/2 to 1 inch sized pieces). Add 2 cups of the chunks to the Chicken Chili. Mix well.
Divide the Chicken Chili between two gallon size freezer bags. Seal tightly, expelling as much air as possible.
Label bags as follows – Chicken Chili: Thaw in fridge. Bring to boil, reduce heat, simmer 10 minutes.
Lay bags flat and place in freezer. Both bags = 1 meal. I like to tape the bags together since they are for one meal.

Back to the Fruity Curried Chicken –
Grab another couple of handfuls of chicken and chop it into large chunks. Put 2 cups of the chunks into the pan of cooked rice. Drain the can of apricots and cut them into chunks. Put the apricots, ¾ teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon curry powder, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, juice from half the lemon, and 1/3 cup raisins in the saucepan with the rice and chicken. Gently stir till combined.
Place in gallon sized Ziploc bag. Seal tightly, expelling as much air as possible without smashing the rice too much. Flatten the bag to conserve freezer space.
Label bag as follows – Fruity Curried Chicken: Thaw, place in baking dish treated with non stick spray. Cover with foil. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees. Check the dish at 30 minutes. Add small amount of water if the rice is becoming too dry.
Place in freezer.

Finish up the Chicken and Veggie Soup –
Grab a couple of handfuls of chicken and chop into large chunks. Add 3 cups to the soup. Stir in the fresh spinach leaves until wilted. Let the soup cool while you finish other dishes.

Finish up the Cheesy Chicken Shells –
Grab one hand full of the chicken. Chop it very finely. Add 1 cup to the ricotta mixture and mix well.
In 8X8 baking dish (foil pan if you prefer) pour half the can of tomato sauce. Fill the cooked shells with the ricotta mixture. Place the stuffed shells in the pan, on top of the tomato sauce. Pour remaining tomato sauce evenly over the stuffed shells. Sprinkle ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese and the remaining parmesan over the shells. Cover tightly with foil and label as follows – Cheesy Chicken Shells: Thaw, remove foil, bake 30 – 45 minutes at 350 degrees, until center shells are heated through.
Place pan in freezer.

Finish up the Chicken Spaghetti-
Grab a couple of handfuls of chicken and chop into smallish pieces, ½ inch or less. Add two cups of chicken pieces to the bowl of chicken spaghetti. Mix well. Divide in half between two 8X8 baking dishes (foil pans if you prefer). Top each pan with ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese. Cover tightly with foil. Label as follows:
Chicken Spaghetti: Thaw, Remove foil, bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until hot and bubbly throughout.
Place pans in freezer.

Note: You can also put each half of the recipe into a gallon bag. Place the additional cheese for topping in smaller bags and tape one to each of the gallon sized bags.

Finish up the Cheesy Chicken and Rice Bake –
Grab two handfuls of chicken and chop it into large chunks.
Add 2 cups of chicken to the bowl of broccoli, rice and soup mixture. Mix well.
Place in gallon sized Ziploc bag. Seal tightly, expelling as much air as possible and flattening the bag to save freezer space. Label as follows:
Cheesy Chicken and Rice Bake: Thaw, place in 9X13 pan treated with nonstick spray, cover tightly with foil, bake 45 minutes at 375 degrees.
Place bag in freezer.

Note: This could also be frozen in a pan rather than a bag.

Meal 9: Make the Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas.
Combine 6 Tablespoons honey, 4 ½ Tablespoons lime juice, 1 Tablespoon chili powder, ½ teaspoon garlic powder. Mix completely.
Chop the remaining chicken very finely. Add it to the above mixture and stir well.
Let that marinate while you package the Chicken and Veggie Soup.

Divide the Chicken and Veggie Soup evenly between two gallon sized freezer bags. Seal tightly, expelling as much air as possible. Label as follows:
Chicken and Veggie Soup: Thaw, Bring to a boil and simmer 10 minutes.
Each bag is one meal. Two bags = two meals.
Place bags in freezer.

Finish up the Enchiladas.
Pour half the large can (or 1 small can) enchilada sauce on the bottom of a 9X13 baking dish which has been treated with non stick spray.
Place 10 flour tortillas on counter top.
Evenly divide the marinated chicken among the tortillas.
Top each one with a bit of shredded Monterey Jack cheese, reserving about a 1 cup of cheese.
Roll each tortilla tightly and place in pan on top of enchilada sauce.
Pour remaining enchilada sauce on top of rolled tortillas.
Top with remaining Monterey Jack Cheese.
Cover tightly with foil and label as follows:
Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas: Thaw, Remove foil, bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until heated completely through.

You’re done!
Now, about those bones…you can turn them into delicious broth for the next time you do this. See this link for instructions.
If you don’t want to do that right now, you can put all the bones and the drippings from the pan into freezer bags and put them in the freezer to make broth another day.

Chicken and Veggie Soup – my original recipe
Chicken Chili – my original recipe
Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas – posted by Wengmama and a popular favorite here on PYP
Cheesy Chicken and Rice Bake – adapted from a recipe here on PYP
Chicken Spaghetti – adapted from Pioneer Woman Cooks website
Cheesy Chicken Shells – adapted from a Weight Watcher’s recipe
Fruity Curried Chicken – from Once a Month Cooking by Mimi Wilson and Mary Beth Lagerborg

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