Freezer ready Friday night

Tonight while I was diving home from the butcher shop, I heard an ad on the radio about not “losing money” to fast food restaraunts during the hectic holiday season.  Excited, I turned it up.  I was thinking it would be a nice ad for a local business or a healthy tip.  Nope.  It was instead an ad for brand specific products at Walmart.  I was a bit disasppointed. 
However, in my freezer at home, I have my own versions of the meals suggested by the announcer.  My favorite is Sweet and Sour Chicken.  The recipe below is for a double recipe.  I generally freeze both meals, but you could make one and freeze one.  Whatever suits your schedule!
Sweet and Sour Chicken Freezer Packs
  • 1 1/2 c. chicken broth
  • 1/4 c. cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 4 tsp. soy sauce
  • 6 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 2 lbs. chicken
  • 5-6 cups vegetables
  • 2 cup brown rice
Thinly slice the chicken.  Place it uncooked in a quart-sized freezer bag.  In another freezer bag, place the vegetables.  Using a large mixing cup, heat the chicken broth in the microwave until it’s almost boiling.  Carefully whisk in the rest of the sauce ingredients.  Divide the sauce in half.  (I used a tall measuring cup to hold the freezer bag upright while I added in the sauce.)  Put all 3 bags in a large, gallon sized freezer bag.  I also add in 1 cup of uncooked rice per bag, but it’s not necessary.

 When you are ready to cook, put the rice in a saucepan with 2 cups of water, a dash of salt and 1 tsp. butter.  Bring the rice to a boil and allow to boil for 1 minute.  Turn the heat down to a simmer and cook, covered until the water is absorbed; about half an hour.  In the meantime, add some oil to a large skillet and cook the chicken.  Add in the vegetables (Note: I used an assortment of frozen “Asian vegetables”) and stir.  While it is easy to cook this with the meat and vegetables frozen, the sauce needs to be thawed out before it is added.  I thawed mine in the microwaved while the chicken was cooking.  Then, pour it into the pan and let it simmer for 10 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked and the vegetables are warmed through.  (I know that there will be some gripe about the cornstarch, but I’ve tried this recipe with various flours in an attempt to thicken the sauce and while they did thicken it, they altered the flavor.  So, cornstarch won.)  

Who want to eat rice cereal when Mama lets you eat off her plate?!

When the sauce has thickened and the chicken and vegetables are cooked, serve over the cooked rice.  And with a side of homemade eggrolls!

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