Saturday, August 17, 2013

Home Made Tv Dinners

Do you like the convience of tv dinners but don't like the idea of their cost and what all is in them? I don't either. I want to know what is in the food I serve my family and keep costs down at the same time. By doubling up on what you are cooking one night you can make enough to have a meal for everyone another night during the next month or two. Or have lunches for those who have access to a microwave at work.

Tonight I made pork enchiladas, refried beans and rice. I made enough to serve 3 meals tonight and have 9 more to make tv dinners for lunches or dinner during the next two months. This will save me time later on and because I made everything home made it cost me less than buying 9 tv dinners at the store.

These trays are trays that my uncle got when he was getting meals on wheels for seniors. He would save the trays for me. Some of them are also trays that you get food in from a fast food place. I also have family members who buy tv dinners save their trays for me. The trays cost me nothing and I can use them over and over again.

As you can see some of the trays have two compartments and some have three. When there is two I will combine a couple of the meal components in to one compartment.

Most of my trays have lids. I put the lids on them, set them in the freezer to freeze. Once they are frozen hard I take them out and quickly take off the lids, cover with plastic wrap, put the lid back on and back in to the freezer they go. I do that just to give the food a little extra protection from freezer burn.  For the ones I have no lids for I cover them with plastic wrap and foil.

They stack nicely in the freezer and are ready to grab and pack in a cooler to take to work or to get one out and heat up when some one is hungry.

What you can not see is that I use a Dymo label maker to make labels of what each dinner is and place them on top of the lids. That way you don't need to open to see what the meal is.

I have made lots of different meals this way and my family loves having them on hand for days when I am busy or sick they have  complete home cooked meal with out me having to cook it.

Some of the meals I have made are as follows:

Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and corn
Roast beef, gravy, mashed potatoes and peas & carrots
Pancakes, scrambled eggs and sausage patties
Beef & Bean Burritos and Spanish rice
Chicken Stew & biscuits
Spaghetti and Meat Sauce ( only cook the spaghetti noodles half way done before freezing )
Mac & Cheese w/ little sausages
Ham Steak, Baked Sweet potato and mixed vegetables
Sliced Turkey breast, stuffing and green beans

I used frozen vegetable straight from the bags with out cooking them. They will cook while you are heating up the dinner. I use only round white potatoes to make the mashed potatoes because baking potatoes some times turn grainy when frozen. I prebake the sweet potatoes and let them cool completely before cutting in half and placing in the trays.

Once you get in the habit of making these home made tv dinners you will love them. They are really easy to make a cheaper than store bought. And you can make them the way you want them. :)

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