For my first post here, I thought I would start big. And by big, I mean this may be kind of long but totally worth the read! 🙂
I’ve been reading about ‘freezer cooking’ and ‘freezer crock pot meals’ for long enough that now I am ready to do it myself. See, we just had to take our van in to get our AC fixed. (With summer coming up here in NC, you really can’t be without the air in the car.) And the repairs weren’t cheap so I knew we needed to buckle down and pinch some pennies to get through the next couple of months.
Enter freezer cooking.
We have tried Crock Pot meals a number of times already, but the kids don’t like them and a lot of them tasted the same to me. So I searched and searched and searched for a variety of Crock Pot recipes to throw in the freezer. I found them. 🙂 I actually found more than I needed…I may have gotten
a little obsessed carried away really excited about all of the posts and recipes I found about putting together a large amount of meals in one afternoon to freeze and cook later. I whittled my recipes down and put my list together. I ended up spending about $200 on all of my needed groceries (with probably some items that we needed to re-stock in our kitchen). This was out of the norm for me because $200 usually lasts us the two weeks that we need it to. So this time, instead of planning for only the next two weeks, I decided to plan out as much of the month of May that I could. I planned on about 15 crock pot meals and a few casseroles. Then factored in the Breakfast for Dinners that we like to do once a week, added in a handful of Leftovers Nights, factored in a couple plain pasta nights, and then took into consideration nights we would be eating out for Mother’s Day, my birthday, and the days we wouldn’t be in town. Believe it or not, that filled up my month of meals we would need! Sounds exciting doesn’t it? 🙂
That was the first day. Then the next day, after both kiddos were home (so I wouldn’t have to stop in the middle of anything) I got to work.
I cleared off the table in my kitchen to get to work, and then I heard “Mooooooommmmyyyyyyy, I’m hungry.” I swear these kids have hollow legs. 😉
Once our second lunches were eaten, I sat down around 1:30 pm and started labeling my bags. Most of the meals I planned on making would make two, but there were a few that would only make one.
Now, silly me, forgot to buy the necessary tin pans for the freezer casseroles even though I remembered to buy the ingredients. No worries, I’ll make those as I go on the nights we’ll have them. I’ll save those for the weekends when I should have the most time.
Here is what I’ll be putting together: *please note, I did change up some of the recipes to fit my family*
World’s Best Chicken (doubled to make 2)
Garlic Lime Chicken (makes 2)
Jambalaya (makes 2)
Orange Chicken (makes 1 freezer meal)
Ranch Pork Chops (doubled to make 2)
Light Cream Cheese Chicken (makes 1)
Lemon Chicken (makes 2)
Cheesy Ravioli Bake (makes 1)
Cilantro Lime Chicken with black beans (makes 2)
Now these were all slow cooker meals that I could put together. Then there are the casseroles that I bought the ingredients for but couldn’t put together today.
Chicken Broccoli Alfredo Stuffed Shells (I can’t find the original post for this yet, but I’ll link when I do)
Simply Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas (found at Food.com)
Chicken Broccoli Casserole (also will link this when I find the original post)
So, with my recipes and breakdowns and bags in front of me. I begun chopping and measuring and pouring.
Chopping, zesting, and juicing.
Dividing and beginning to measure.
The organized mess that was my kitchen around 5:30 that evening.
And you can see where I was piling up all of the sealed and labeled bags of meals ready to head to the freezer. How exciting!
So, when it was all said and done, I had 15 meals in the freezer ready to pull out and dump in the crockpot. The hubby may have I thought I was crazy when he talked to me earlier in the day, but when he got home and saw the results in the freezer I think he was a happy guy. 🙂 Most people seem to go out for dinner after spending all day in the kitchen. I was too tired to go out so I used that night as one of our plain pasta nights.
Not too bad for an afternoon’s work. If you’ve tried some freezer meals that you really loved (or better yet, that your kids loved) please share! I’d love to try them out!