I do both - components and meals. Lots of bags of browned ground beef, plain and taco seasoned; cooked chicken/turkey. Great for throwing something together when we get home late from dance or swim classes. Pre-cook hamburgers and freeze them.
Enchiladas/Burritos - just add the sauce when you cook it
Spagetti, Lasagna, Chili, Sloppy Joes, Roast beef - with gravy for beef & noodles or hot roast beef sandwiches.
Pizza - make sauce with your canned tomatoes.
Create your own casserole - pork chops, rice, cream of whatever soup, a bag of frozen veggies and some extra water. Or use chicken, season however you like.
do you want me to just post all the tomato based recipes? if it looks weird, forgive me. it's from the list of recipes i made for the kids.
Enchilada sauce (makes several batches. Freeze it in quart bags. When you make enchiladas, use a little over ½-3/4 of the sauce to cook the meat in, save the rest to top off your enchiladas)
3 lg (28 oz) cans of diced tomatoes
1 lg (28 oz) box of chicken broth (or 28 oz. of bullion)
1 lg onion, roughly chopped
2 lg (or 3 or 4 small) lg cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
½-3/4 cup pickled jalapenos, roughly chopped
1and ½ TABLESPOONS each: , cumin, and cocoa
1tsp each black pepper, salt, and sugar
(optional, a couple big tablespoons of hot sauce)
Throw it all in a big pot and let it come to a boil, while you stir gently. When it comes to a boil, turn it off, let it cool, and puree it in a blender. Freeze in quart bags, ¾ full. Always leave room And squish out the air!
Spaghetti/lasagna sauce—fresh tomatoes are nice, but you don’t need them. Start with 1 small onion, 2-3 cloves of garlic, 1 rib of celery, ½ a bell pepper (if you want) and some mushrooms all chopped finely in a food processor, and sautee it all in a big pot with a couple tablespoons of olive oil, until the mushrooms and celery are soft, and the onions are translucent. Add a ½ cup of red wine (if you have it), and cook until the wine is half gone. Add a handful of fresh oregano and 5-6 big leaves of basil you have chopped up. Add 3 (28 oz) cans of diced tomatoes (you can puree a couple in a blender, first, if you want, but leave at least one can chunky), add more olive oil (couple more tablespoons), some salt and black pepper, and cook for 1-3 hours on medium low. (it doesn’t have to cook for a long time, but gets better the longer you cook it). If you want meat in the sauce, cook that separately, and add it after it’s been completely cooked, and after the sauce has had at least 30 minutes to cook by itself. This will make several batches for you. Freeze it in freezer quart bags. Don’t fill them all the way. It expands as it freezes. (you can also double up on the veggies, if you use the food processor. Makes the sauce nice and thick and chunky.) Reilley THINKS he doesn’t like mushrooms, but he does. Just chop them super fine in a food processor. (if you are using dried herbs, use about 1/2 of what i posted, and add more if you need to)
Tomato basil soup-( Reilley’s favorite)—three 28 oz. cans of diced tomatoes, all pureed in the blender and dumped in a big pot. (if you have any fresh tomatoes, throw a couple in there.) Add one 28 oz. box of chicken broth or 28 oz. of bullion, a tablespoon of sugar, 1 tsp. each salt, white pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder. Let it cook an hour or so on medium heat, uncovered, until it’s reduced a couple inches. Turn off the heat, add 6-7 large fresh basil leaves, chopped. When slightly cooled, add whole milk or heavy cream until it turns pink (about ½ cup of cream, or ¾-1 cup of milk). Serve immediately, or keep hot on low heat. Don’t skip the sugar. It keeps the tomatoes from being too acidic and upsetting sensitive stomachs. Super yummy with grilled cheese sandwiches. Especially mozzarella, fresh basil, and freshed thinly sliced tomato grilled cheese sandwiches. For little kids, probably just mozzarella on garlic bread.