Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A job well done...

I've spoken often about how fond I am of cooking meals (and meal components) ahead of time and filling our freezer up with them.  It has saved our family time in meal prep, kept us from grabbing fast food on a few occassions & saved me time in kitchen clean-up. 

My sweet husband bagging up hamburger meat to freeze
 In months past, I have just made a list of our cooking plans and we've went and purchased all necessary ingredients that we didn't already have--this put our grocery spending fairly high those times...which still wasn't a huge issue as our regular groceries run under $40 a week.  This time I tried to be a little more intentional in my planning.  I have watched the grocery ads for the last 6 weeks and worked in any sale items that I know would be used for freezer cooking into our regular grocery spending--this worked great and still kept our grocery spending below $40 a week.  After checking out our pantry and freezer inventories, making our list & shopping, our total for additional items needed to pull this all off was probably under $60--fantastic in my book!

We tried a few new recipes this month & focused more on meal components (due to space) than actual meals.  (Example: cooking up chicken ahead of time and seasoning it to go over cooked pasta which will need to be cooked at a later time.)  The lasagna still needs to be assembled and baked & the potatoes still need to be shredded for hashbrowns, but otherwise we are finished---and with much more than I planned on! 
  
Lucy "helping" with enchiladas

 I had created a pretty ambitious list as we were planning on having an extra set of hands to help us out--but winter weather prevented that from happening and we were all bummed...mostly Lucy, I'm sure, as she was looking forward to an additional adult that would sneak her some snacks :)  Despite not having the extra set of hands, a few hours where I was timing contractions & debating a second trip to the hospital & a random illness that took my husband down...there are enough meals/meal components in our freezer for 44 dinners/weekend lunches!   (weekend lunch options being frozen chicken burritos/pizza pockets!)  Once the lasagna is cooked and divided into dinner portions, that number should rise to 47!  My goal had been to have about 3 meals a week for the next 10 weeks that I could pull from the freezer--I'm much happier with the higher number :)

Fantastic!

Here's what we've got:

Pans of Enchiladas x 3

Whole Wheat Subs with Chicken, bacon, cheese x 10 (5 meals)---(we grill these and they turn out like panini sandwiches)
Pepperoni Pizza Pockets & Hamburger Pizza Pockets x 19 (about 6 meals worth)
BBQ Beef Roast x 2
BBQ Brisket x2
Taco Meat x 6
Hamburger meat + Bacon for Bacon-Cheeseburger roll-up x3
Seasoned chicken (to go over pasta) x2
Fajita chicken (cooked and seasoned for burritos, quesadillas, tacos, etc..) x 5
Hamburger meat cooked for Chili x1
Hamburger meat cooked for Pizza Casserole x1

Dump Chicken: Chili Maple Glazed Chicken x1
Dump Chicken: Honey Glazed Chicken x 1
Frozen Burritos x 12 (about 6 meals worth)

Other:
Freshly Grated bags of cheese x 9
Smoothies x 5
Pancakes x 28
Blueberry Pancakes x 17

Smoothies
We have the makings of many more meals in our pantry/fridge/freezer that will fill in the gaps when I'm not pulling a freezer meal out--but we are so delighted to have one less thing to worry about in the next several weeks!

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