Dinner's in the Freezer

My freezer is my BFF when it comes to efficiency.  I have learned to freeze about a bazillion things.  When I find a good sale on milk or butter or meat or bread, I buy up and freeze the extras.  But my favorite service provided by my freezer is to stash a horde of ready-to-cook meals for my crew.  With my initiation into motherhood, I found out about "The Arsenic Hour"....the time period before dinner when you are trying to get the meal ready and your kids don't cooperate -- thus, you are ready to take OR GIVE some arsenic!  Or "The Unholy Hour" when you come in the door from church and everyone is starved, expecting to eat and all lookin at you.  Every lesson on love and grace learned earlier that morning takes flight and leaves!!!

For survival, I learned to have meals in the freezer, ready to go.  My two favorites are Chicken and Dumplings and Ravioli Soup.  I think Katie shared the ravioli soup one on facebook one time so I'll share my version of chicken and dumplings here.  It's probably more like chicken pot pie but we refer to it as chicken and dumplings so I'll stick with that.

Chicken and Dumplings

Place one whole chicken (with the innards removed - yes, I learned by experience...)in stock pot.  Cover with water.  Add 3-4 peeled and chopped carrots , 3-4 chopped celery stalks, 4-5 chicken bullion cubes, 1/2-1 cup long cooking rice, a bay leaf, some celery tops.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 3-4 hours.  Add black pepper to taste.

 Remove bay leaf and celery tops and discard.  Remove chicken and cut up into bite sized pieces.  Discard bones.

This basic stock can be diluted and served as chicken soup.  Or use as is for my chicken and dumplings dish.  Divide the stew among several casserole dishes.  Cover and freeze.  When ready to use for dinner, thaw mixture.  Then prepare dumplings according to the recipe on the back of the Bisquick box, drop the dough by spoonfuls onto top of stew and bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until the "dumplings" are golden brown.

So good.  So good.  So good.