Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Swap it up! Freezer Friendly Healthy Meals

We met last week for our healthy themed swap.  Who cares if we munched on brownies, peach cobbler, peanut butter balls, and cheese dip at our swap!  All things in moderation, right? We've got 6 healthy meals on hand and let me tell you, that's a great feeling!

This month we welcomed back the chef of the group, Michelle!  She's a married lady now and needs to stock her freezer for her hubby!  Here's what was on our swap menu:

- Antipasto stuffed chicken (to serve over a salad)
- Lighter chicken tortilla bake (this would work well as a topping for whole grain nachos)
- Blueberry smoothie and breakfast bars
- Tuscan chicken soup with kale and beans
- Lighter sausage and pepper stuffed calzones
- Quinoa, veggie, and cheese stuffed peppers

Antipasto Stuffed Chicken  (adapted from Giada)
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup chopped jarred artichoke hearts
1/4 cup chopped roasted peppers
2-3 chopped pepperoncini
2 slices provolone cheese
4 slices thick salami, diced

Salad Dressing:
1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 tsp dijon mustard
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Preheat oven to 400.  Lay chicken breast flat on your work surface. Use knife to cut chicken breast in half horizontally, but not slicing all the way through.  Lay sliced provolone cheese on side and mound 2-3 tablespoons antipasto filling on top.  Wrap filling with other side of chicken breast and use 3 pieces of cooking twine to secure filling and chicken. Marinate with 1/2 of the dressing before roasting in the oven for 20-30 minutes.

To freeze:
Place chicken breasts in a freezer safe plastic bag and pour in marinade/dressing.  Pinch bag to release air and lay flat in freezer.
To reheat:
Defrost chicken in the refrigerator overnight.  Roast on a baking sheet, at 400, 20-30 minutes until chicken breast is cooked through.  Slice and serve over a green salad with left over (unused) dressing.

1 can (10 3/4 oz) 98% fat free 45% less sodium condensed cream of chicken soup
1 can (4.5 oz) chopped green chiles
1 container (8 oz) fat-free sour cream
1/2 cup fat-free (skim) milk
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
8 yellow corn tortillas (6 or 7 inch), torn into bite-size pieces
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped (1 cup)
1 large tomato, chopped (1 cup)
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese or Mexican cheese blend (6 oz)

*You can cook your chicken breast in the slow cooker with taco seasoning.  Set on high for 3-4 hours and shred!
Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray. In large bowl, mix soup, chiles, sour cream, milk, chili powder and cumin until blended. Stir in chicken, tortillas and bell pepper. Stir in tomato and 1 cup of the cheese. Spoon and spread mixture in baking dish.Step2 Cover with foil. Bake 40 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake uncovered 5 to 10 minutes longer or until cheese is melted and mixture is bubbly. Let stand 5 minutes.

To freeze:
Follow directions above but do not cook.  Pour mixture into aluminum baking pans and cover with foil.  Label, date, and freeze.  
To reheat:
Defrost in the refrigerator overnight.  Bake at 350 ~40 minutes.  Serve over whole grain tortilla chips with your favorite nacho fixins.

Breakfast Smoothie
1 cup fresh fruit
1/4 cup yogurt plain 
1/2 cup almond milk or low fat
Dash of chia seeds

If using fresh fruit add that along with 3-4 ice cubes along with remaining ingredients to blender. If using frozen fruit, no need to add ice.  Blend well until smooth and serve cold.  

To freeze: 
Yogurt:  add 1 tbsp of yogurt to ice cube trays and sprinkle chia seeds on top.  Fruit: place fruit in freezer bags, label and date.
To drink: 
Thaw portions of fruit and portions of yogurt overnight in fridge. Blend with almond milk fresh.  

Blueberry Bars (from Living Lou)
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup quick oats
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp flaxseed meal
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup almond milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp canola oil
1 ripe banana, mashed
1 cup fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line an 8″ pan with parchment paper.  In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients.  In another bowl combine wet ingredients.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and lightly mix.  Fold in the berries.  Press into the pan and bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the bars comes out clean.  Allow to cool and cut into bars.

To freeze: 
Follow recipe above.  Wrap bars in aluminum foil and freeze separately.
To eat:
Defrost in the refrigerator overnight.  Enjoy!

Tuscan Kale Soup (adapted from Peanut Blossom)

2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
1 medium yellow onion (medium dice)
4  carrots (peeled, washed, and medium dice)
4 stalks celery (washed and medium diced)
2 zucchini (washed and medium diced)
1 bunch kale, (washed, stems removed, and chopped)
3 cloves fresh garlic (chopped finely)
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 cup heavy cream (optional)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
28 0z can crushed tomatoes
1 can canellinni beans, drained and rinsed
6 cups chicken stock
Kosher salt-to taste
Fresh ground black pepper -to taste
1/2 cup Acini de pepe pasta

In a large pot add 2 tbsp olive oil and saute onions, celery, and carrots over medium high heat for 8-10 minutes.  Add zucchini and garlic.  Saute until tender about 4-6 minutes.
Add chicken stock, tomatoes, basil, oregano, beans, and chicken. Simmer soup for 20 minutes, vegetables should be tender. Add the pasta and kale, cook right in the soup for another 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

To freeze:
Cool soup completely and pour soup into plastic containers or freezer safe plastic bags. Label, date, and freeze.
To reheat:
Defrost in the refrigerator overnight.  Bring soup to a boil on the stove top or in the microwave.

Turkey Sausage and Pepper Calzones
2 spicy turkey sausage links
1 onion, sliced
1 red and green pepper, sliced
Jiffy pizza baking mix
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Cook and crumble turkey sausage in a non-stick skillet, set aside.  In the same pan, saute peppers and onions until soft, add to sausage mixture.  Prepare pizza dough according to package directions.  Roll out dough in 2 sections for 2 calzones.  Wrap 1 cup of cheese and half sausage mixture in dough, crimp sides, and make slits in the calzone.  Repeat with next section of dough.  Brush calzones with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and garlic powder.  bake at 400 for 10-12 minutes.

To freeze:
Wrap each calzone in aluminum foil and place in freezer safe plastic bag.
To reheat:
Place in a 350 degree oven and heat until filling is warmed through and cheese is bubbling. 

Quinoa, Spinach, and Feta Stuffed Peppers
1 yellow pepper cut in half and cleaned
1/2 tbsp olive oil
4 spears resh asparagus, cut into 1 inch lengths
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 tbsp scallions, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/3 cup spinach, frozen
1/2 cup sweet corn kernels, frozen
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 cup quinoa, cooked
1 oz Feta cheese (you could also use reduced fat Feta)

Cook spinach and corn according to package directions and set aside.  Saute asparagus in olive oil for 2 minutes.  Add garlic, onions, and scallions and saute until soft.  Add cilantro and saute until wilted.  Add spinach, corn, cumin, and quinoa.  Heat through.  Season to taste.  Stuff into pepper halves and top with crumbled feta cheese.  Bake at 400 for 25 minutes.  Serve hot.

To freeze:
Follow recipe above but do not bake in oven.  Place pepper halves in an aluminum baking pan.  Cover with foil, label, date, and freeze. 
To reheat:
Defrost overnight.  Bake at 400 for 25 minutes.  Enjoy!

If you're looking for more healthy freezer meals - check out our Figure and Freezer Friendly post here.  It's all about modifications and recipe substitutions, so you can enjoy your family's favorites on the lighter side!  Happy cooking!


  1. where do you buy the crock pot liners? in the last 4 groceries stores I went to they didnt have them!

  2. Really? I usually get them at shoprite or target. I can find them in the same aisle as the tin foil and sandwich baggies. They are so worth it....order on amazon if all else fails!!! Have you made any of our crock pot meals?