Monday, April 30, 2012

Freezer "Cooking"

This weekend I gave freezer cooking/meal prep a shot. Paul and I were both getting tired of not knowing what to prepare for dinner, and we were getting tired of the same old boring things every night.

With working a full time job, and driving 80 miles a day (between preschool-for Mason, grandpas house - for Connor, work for me then home) I'm lucky to be walking in the door by 5:45.  This leaves me with zero ambition for making a dinner much more complicated than a box of mac and cheese.  Paul typically does most the cooking.  A) Because he's better at it and B.) because he and the boys get home around 4:00.

With nicer weather coming, I figured having some oven or crock pot ready meals on hand would give Paul and the boys more outdoor time - and give our tummies I nice reward too.

I started my prep by scouring Pinterest.  Where I found lots of great tips and recipes by searching for "freezer cooking" or "plan ahead meals".  I looked for recipes that sounded the most simple - with ingredients the kids were use to eating - that way they would be more likely to try something new, and I had a lot of necessities on hand.  After selecting my top recipes I started my lists - what I needed, and what was on hand.

I ended up spending around $65 at the store and made roughly enough food for 13 meals. Based on my math (when I figure a rough est. for supplies I had on hand) my total comes to about $6 a dinner - dirt cheap!  Of course some things need to be added the day of - veggies to go with the casserole, rice or taco toppings for others.

Here's what I chose:
"Chickaroni" - the recipe can be found HERE at Freezer Friends
Teriyaki Chicken for the crock pot - the recipe can be found HERE at Ring Around the Rosies
Cilantro Lime Chicken for the crock pot - the recipe can be found HERE at scratch that, I can't find the link - I'll update when I do :-)
Stuffed Shells - the recipe can be found HERE at 101 Cookbooks. (note: I added venison burger to the red sauce).

Not pictured - Paul also Smoked a pork butt for 3-4 meals worth of pork and I have this recipe in the crock pot for dinner tonight.  I'll follow up with a review on whether or not all these items are a hit, or a miss.

I'm looking forward to having more variety - and simplicity in our evening routine!