Healthy After Vacation Freezer Meals

I will be leaving for a two-week vacation in a few days and one of the things I have learned to do before I leave is to stock my freezer with a couple of healthy, easy to reheat meals for lunch and dinner for my husband and I. The last thing I feel like doing when I get home from vacation is going grocery shopping, prepping, and cooking. My refrigerator is bare, and I already have enough things to do instead of that. Once I settle back into my normal routine and my laundry is done, mail is gone through, and my plants are watered, then I can stock up my refrigerator. On the other hand, the last thing I want to do after I get home from vacation is eat take-out and unhealthy meals from the grocery store freezer! We don’t need to spend any more money going out to eat and to tell the truth, I am usually tired when I get home and don’t even feel like leaving my house. So with that said, here are two easy, healthy, and delicious recipes for you to try not only to stock your freezer with, but to eat any time! It’s a great way to get right back on track after indulging while on vacation.

Turkey Pesto Meatloaf

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 TBS minced garlic
  • 1 pkg 93% lean ground turkey (about 1.3 lbs.)
  • 1/4 Cup basil pesto
  • 2 TBS grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 Cup 100% whole wheat seasoned dry bread crumbs

    1. Heat oven to 350. Heat the olive oil in a pan and sauté the onion until browned.
    2. Add the garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds. Set aside and cool.
    3. In a large bowl, add the turkey and all the ingredients including the onion mixture. Mix thoroughly and form into a loaf on a foiled backing sheet.
    4. Bake for about 1 hour, checking the temp after 50 minutes.
    5. Cook until the thermometer registers 160 degrees. Let rest for about 10 minutes before slicing.
    6. Serve plain or with a light marinara sauce.

    Vegetarian Chili

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot chopped
  • 1 Cup celery chopped
  • 2-3 cups quartered baby bella mushrooms (or any meaty mushroom you like)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Cups chopped bell peppers (make it colorful!)
  • 1 poblano pepper, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped (optional)
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1-2 tsp salt (to taste)
  • 2 tsp garlic powder (to taste)
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika (to taste)
  • 2-3 tsp chili powder (to taste)
  • 2-3 tsp cumin (to taste)
  • 1 tsp pepper (to taste)
  • 1 chopped chipotle chili with a little adobo sauce (optional as it is very spicy)
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 small can diced green chilies
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes (I added 1 can Rotel and 1 can fire roasted)
  • You can add corn, peas, lima beans, anything you like!)
  • 1 Cup beef broth (can use vegetable broth or water)
  • 1 8 oz. can chipotle sauce (can use tomato sauce if it is too spicy)
  • a little sweetener to taste such as honey, agave, sugar or stevia
  • fresh lime juice to taste at the end (a half of a lime or more)

    1. Heat the oil in a large pot and add the onions, carrots, and celery. Cook for a few minutes on medium high heat and add the mushrooms and a little salt and pepper. Stir, cover and cook for a few more minutes.
    2. Add the peppers and cook covered for a few more minutes.
    3. Add the spices, salt, pepper, the chipotle peppers in adobo and stir, cover, and cook for a few more minutes.
    4. Add the beans, tomatoes, chipotle sauce, and broth. Stir, bring to a boil and cook uncovered for about 10-15 minutes until the liquid has reduced and the vegetables are soft but not mushy.
    5. Add the sweetener and lime juice. Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed.
    6. It’s best to serve after a day or two after the flavors meld.

    Leave both meals to cool before putting them in a freezer safe container and placing them in the freezer. When you get back from your vacation, your pre-cooked healthy meals will be ready to defrost and eat!

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