As I sit down to write this post, I’m slightly exhausted from the marathon last two hours. We’re planning to visit family out of town, and it’s much easier on everyone else, and safer for me if I plan ahead. I got a great idea a while back from a friend that had figured out how to have nice meals each night on her own without having to cook after a long day at work. She’d picked up those aluminum foil containers, cooked dinners until they were nearly done, packaged them individually, and froze them for later! With this thought in mind, I was determined to make a variety of dinners for our trip.
Meal #1: Chicken Parmesan with Corn & Rice Spaghetti
I was feeling ambitious for the first meal, you can tell by the number of pictures that as I got further into the process, I was taking less photos and typically running all over the kitchen! For this meal, I started by dipping each chicken breast into an egg. I then covered the chicken in Italian bread crumbs.
boneless skinless chicken breasts, egg, Italian bread crumbs
I then pan fried the chicken for about 2-3 minutes per side, just long enough to brown the edges.
Browning the chicken breast
The chicken was transferred to a glass baking dish, where I covered it with marinara sauce (I used Ragu sweet basil).
Sauce covered chicken breasts, ready to go into the oven
With the oven set to 375ºF, I baked the chicken for about 25 minutes.
Fresh out of the oven!
While the chicken was cooking, I boiled my gluten free pasta. After it was cooked and the water had been drained, I separated the pasta into to individual foil containers. I took the leftover sauce from the container, and poured it over the pasta. I think the finished product turned out pretty great!
Two Chicken Parmesan dinners, ready to be frozen for our trip 🙂
When it comes time to reheat these, I’ll put these back in the oven for 3 – 5 minutes. Since this is a first for me, I may have to play around with the reheat temperature/time, but I’ll let you all know how it turns out!!
Meal #2: Balsamic Chicken, Roasted Red Potatoes, and French Cut Green Beans
Here’s where my multitasking started to kick in. Before I started the Chicken Parmesan, I put two of the chicken breasts in a ziploc bag, covered in balsamic vinaigrette. While the first dish was cooking, I cut red potatoes into quarters. Heating a large frying pan with about 3 tablespoons of coconut oil, I added the quartered potatoes. I never cook these the same way any two times, so for this time, I seasoned them with ground pepper, sea salt, garlic powder, and blackening seasonings. There’s no magic amount of time to cook these, I just keep the heat at a steady medium temperature, and continue stirring them occasionally until I can cut through a potato with my spatula.
Red potatoes in the frying pan with seasonings
Once the oven was free from the first round of chicken, I put these balsamic vinaigrette covered chicken breasts into the oven. Again, I cooked them at 375ºF. Because I hadn’t browned the chicken first, I left these in the oven for about 20 minutes per side.
Balsamic vinaigrette chicken breasts
To round out the meal, I split a can of french cut green beans between the two foil containers. The finished product for this looks pretty great too 🙂
Finished meal: Balsamic Chicken, Roasted Red Potatoes, and French Cut Green Beans
Again, since I’m new at traveling with meals like this, it’s going to be a bit of a guessing game when I reheat these. But thankfully, since the chicken is mostly cooked, it shouldn’t take too long to be ready!
Meal #3: Stir-fry Chicken and Rice
Here’s where the craziness of three meals in two hours started to hit me. I’d been trying to keep up with the dishes, and with what seemed like constantly beeping kitchen timers! For my last meal, I went super easy. I cubed the last two chicken breasts, and chopped up a crown of broccoli. I put the chicken and broccoli in a fry pan with Mirin (sweetened sake) sauce, gluten free teriyaki sauce, and ground ginger.
Stir-fry chicken with broccoli
Meanwhile, I cooked a cup of white rice in the rice cooker. Splitting the rice between the last two foil containers, I topped it with my stir-fry concoction!
Stir-fry Chicken, Broccoli and Rice
All six containers are now safely in the freezer, and ready to go 🙂