Monday, July 22, 2013

Munchie Mondays - Freezer Cooking

9:00 AM

I've owed this post forever.  For.  Ev.  Ver!!!! 

I wish I could say that I am crafty and organized enough to have come up with freezer cooking on my own.  Nope.  I'd see a Facebook friend posting about how she was making X for dinner and A, B, C, D and E for the freezer.  Honestly, I thought it odd.  Who cooks for their freezer?  Weirdos.  That's who.  Then my favorite weirdo (ha) took a stab at it at well and I was inspired. 

So what it is?  To put it simply freezer cooking is doing all (or nearly all) of the prep work for a meal in advance and then freezing it.  When you're ready for it, you pull it out of the freezer the day before and heat it up when you're ready.  The process varies by the menu item, some things you can put in the crock pot, some things you can microwave, some things are baked in the oven. By doing all of the prep work on one day, you can relieve some of the stress that can happen on other days.  Let's face it, juggling career, husbands, kids, relatives, hobbies, me time, a moment to actually use the bathroom...  will leave you starved for time.   This takes the drama out of dinner.  No more worries about what to cook, you just take out what you need and bam! 

You can find freezer recipes online, search Pinterest, or sign up with a meal planning site.  I've used Once A Month Mom which has a subscription service with new menus each month, but they also have old menus available for no cost. 

Last Sunday was my cooking day.  I did most of my shopping Friday after work, finding all but a few items at Aldi.

Not the best pic but it'll do - my Aldi's haul - ~$70
 Saturday night I did some of the prep work.  I browned by ground beef and Italian sausage for lasagna, chopped vegetables and made rice.   I made a few items that required cooked chicken, so I put chicken breasts in the crock pot and let them take care of themselves.  Saturday night's time spent on cooking, approximately an hour. 

A crock pot with a timer is a working woman's best friend

Sunday I assembled everything and made Taco Soup for dinner.  Taco Soup may very well be the most perfect food in the history of food.  Should've made a second batch to freeze, but I was too busy trying to stick it in my pie hole.

On Sunday morning I made my second trip to the grocery store and spent around $30.  Part of what I bought on Sunday was foil pans for storage.  You don't have to use foil pans, you can freeze in casserole dishes, which is what I did in beginning.  And then I couldn't find any because they were all in the freezer.  The foil pans make clean up a snap too. 

It took roughly 3.5 hours on Sunday and I made two of each of the following:

  • Lasagna
  • Beef Enchiladas
  • Tex-Mex Chicken & Rice
  • Orange Chicken 
  • Chicken Pesto Sandwhiches
  • Sweet & Spicy Pork Chops
  • Chicken & Vegetable Stir Fry 
With the exception of the pork chops, everything else is bake or warm and eat.  
Lasagna, Beef Enchiladas, Tex-Mex Chicken & Rice, Chicken Pesto (for sandwiches)

Sweet & Spicy Pork Chops, Chicken & Veggie Stir Fry (with Rice)
Into the freezer everything went.  When I'm ready, I'll pull things out and bam!!! dinner.  We had Lasagna on Wednesday, all I had to do was tossed it in the oven along. 

15 Dinners (including the soup) for $100, $6.67 per meal.  Everything I made was for four people ( I like left overs for lunch) it comes to $1.67 per person per meal.  You can't beat that.  And everything is healthy, well maybe not the enchiladas (LOL) but much healthier than what I'd pick up after a long day. 

Have you freezer cooked?  How has it improved things for you?

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  1. Finally!! LOL...I'm gonna check out once a month mom. I was able to freeze some of the lentil soup I made and i can't tell you how nice it was just to warm it up in the pot for lunch..I'm a novice freezer cooker but I'm getting there. I usually put the fixins in a ziploc bag but i'm gonna try making some in foil pans.

    1. I use the ziplocs too! I'm all for easy clean up. Foil pans are great for the dishes I bake like the enchiladas and lasagna

  2. I was just saying I was going to try this out to save on time and chaos for the school year. I've never done it before but have been researching. What's your favorite recipe?

    1. By far taco soup. Brown the meat drain, and then throw everything else in. So delicious with tortilla chips (or Doritos) and fresh salsa.

      Other freezer things, every kind of pasta and anything Mexican.

    2. I've seen a lot of recipes for the taco soup. It must be a favorite among the masses. We'll have to try that one. I'm slightly nervous about not exactly knowing what I'm doing but I can't wait to get started.


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