Sunday, January 19, 2014

Freezer Meals

Long, long ago, in our pre-Owen days, I used to do a lot of freezer cooking. It just makes so much more sense to make multiples of a meal at once and put some of them away for later than to cook something new every single night. I never really do the whole month worth of meals in a day thing, usually I just make multiples of whatever we are having or make a whole bunch of meals based on whatever meat was on a super sale this week. However, the last few years my freezer cooking has mostly gone out the window. Finding the extra time has been difficult and the pre-planning has been virtually impossible. I've managed to rally a few times, like before Brenna was born, but nothing regular. After we started the ketogenic diet with Owen, it became abundantly clear that bulk meal prep was the only way I was going to get anything done besides Keto meal prep. I've been really good about getting a weeks worth of Owen meals made every weekend so I have time for things like homeschooling during the week. Meals for the rest of us have still been extremely haphazard though. Honestly, I've been so sick of cooking, that I just haven't been able to get things together enough to do much for the rest of the family. I keep saying that I need to do some bulk cooking and fill up my freezer, but I keep not doing it.
Last week my friend Renee wrote THIS blog post and it was just what I needed to finally goad myself into getting some meals made up. I made a list of some of our favorite freezer meals and the ingredients I needed. Then, Rod and I spent "Date Night" at the grocery store. I always make my lists up to include several different recipes and decide exactly which ones I'm going to make once I see which meats are on sale. Rod and I each grabbed a cart and gathered up all the ingredients I didn't already have on hand plus all the other things we were out of. It's so nice having a helper at the grocery store, one of us can gather produce while the other handles frozen food or finds things we've missed. It gets you out of the grocery store a lot faster. We brought everything home and started that night making up everything that wouldn't fit in the fridge. The next 2 days, I finished everything else up in my "free time".
Our final tally was:
 3 meals of Sticky Ribs
 4 meals Ginger Beef
 2 meals Sesame Soy Beef
   All from Fix, Freeze, Feast

 2 pans Kielbasa Potatoes
 2 pans Tater Tot Casserole
 4 pans Chicken Enchiladas
3 meals worth of meatballs (I was going to freeze these in sauce, but I couldn't decide which sauce, so I froze them plain and will make sauce when I serve them)
5 meals worth of browned ground beef (pre-browned ground beef is one of my freezer staples it is just so versatile. This is one thing I have done regularly even since Owen)

Now, not all of this actually made it to the freezer. We ate one meal of meatballs (with spaghetti sauce over rice), one Chicken Enchilada, and one meal of Ground Beef (nachos), while I was preparing everything. That still leaves me 22 meals in the freezer. Plus ingredients ready and waiting in the pantry for a few more meals that don't freeze ahead well.

Now, my goal is to get extras of one meal made ahead each week from now on. That should keep me up to date. I used to have a freezer cooking book (sorry, I can't remember which one) that suggested making 8 of one meal one night each week. That way the first week you would eat one of the meal and put the other 7 in the freezer. The second week you would make 8 of another meal, eat one again plus another night eat one of last weeks meals. By keeping that up, in less than 2 months you would then be cooking only once a week and eating something different each night. I admit I've never been quite that organized about it, but I also don't mind cooking more than once a week. I usually aim to make 4 of a meal once each week. That system worked for us for many years. I hope I can get back on track with it now.

1 comment:

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