Meal Planning Monday ~ Freezer Cooking: Santa’s Little Helper


            This week’s post is by Leah Kelley.

            This year I have fully embraced the Christmas spirit!  We put up our Christmas tree last night in our Christmas pajamas and watched Christmas cartoons.  I have a ton of do-it-yourself projects planned for the holiday season.  I love and found a lot of DIY Christmas crafts, decorations, and gift ideas.  I could spend hours on that site…actually I have spent hours on that site!  A few of the projects I’m considering are hand made cookie jars, a wreath, homemade hot fudge, and a blanket.

            I was feeling so ambitious I made three dinners yesterday so if I got caught in the zone of wreath-making I wouldn’t have to stress about dinner.  I baked a Zesty Chicken Meatloaf, made Black Bean Chicken Chili, and Chicken Cacciatore.  I found a great deal on ground chicken and chicken breasts at the grocery store.  I encourage you to do some freezer cooking or make-ahead meals on days when you have the time so you have them on hand for the busy days of Christmas shopping, craft-making, present-wrapping, and cookie baking.  You’ll understand why I call freezer cooking “Santa’s Little Helper!”  Here’s what my meal plan looks like this week:

Monday ~ Zesty Chicken Meatloaf, mashed potatoes with gravy, creamed spinach and mac n cheese.  This was my first time making this meatloaf.  I thought it was really good but could use some tweaking.  I’ll post the recipe at the bottom so you can try it.

Tuesday ~ Black Bean Chicken Chili.  I’ll substitute ground chicken for the ground beef I typically use.

Wednesday ~ Chicken Cacciatore over Spaghetti Squash with Garlic Bread sticks.

Thursday ~ Mexican Casserole

Friday ~ Fend For Yourself Night – I’m going to a Miche Party, so no cooking for me!  My husband will either heat up leftovers or make a pizza.

Saturday ~ Tuna Noodle Casserole.

Sunday ~ Roast Chicken, Parmesan Couscous, and Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Zesty Chicken Meatloaf (I found the recipe from


  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons salsa
  • 2 tablespoons Ranch-style salad dressing
  • 1 (1.25 ounce) package taco seasoning mix
  • 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • sour cream (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).  Grease an 8×4 inch loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the ground chicken, eggs, bread crumbs, salsa, salad dressing, and taco seasoning mix.  Pack into the prepared loaf pan.
  3. Bake for 1 hour in the preheated oven.  Top with cheese, and serve with sour cream

I think next time I make this I will use a little more ranch or maybe try ranch dressing mix.