Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Freezer Meals

Lately I've seen a couple places on blogs where people do just a couple days of cooking for the month and put together a bunch of freezer meals. I liked the idea but I wasn't sure if I wanted to go that far so at least made a monthly calendar of what we were going to eat and still shop weekly. While it uncomplicated my meal planning (I didn't plan by what I felt like eating that day and it was really easy), I still got off plan by mid month because I had to go to the store and I'm terrible about making a good shopping list so then I go too much.

Last week I came across a website that had a plan for 15 freezer meals days, breakfast, lunch, and dinners. The idea is to spend one or two days cooking and you are done for the month. I already know that when I do multiple freezer meals at a time I can save a lot of money. So, I made a plan and came up with 9 meals that I would make 2 of each (18 meals total).  Saturday afternoon I spent 2 1/2 - 3 hours shopping and spent my entire food budget, but by the time I run to the store a couple times a week it is much worse, so I feel like I did okay. I don't know how you would fit everything in your cart for a whole month. I'd probably have to take Charlie with me and I'm sure he would love that.

So I made 9 different meals:
No-boil manicotti
Apple cider pork chops
Honey lime chicken
Apricot mustard chicken
Garlic ranch chicken
Baked teriyaki chicken
Chicken macaroni bake
Sweet and sour meatballs
Brown sugar meatloaf

I put them together over the course of two days but really only spent 3-4 hours. I did all of the chicken ones Saturday afternoon and then made the meatballs and meatloaf on Sunday.  I was already going to make sweet and sour meatballs so I just made a double batch and then Charlie and I through together the meatloaf while we were waiting for the rice to finish cooking.

A couple like the honey lime and the apricot mustard chicken are new recipes that we haven't tried before, but most are our family's favorites (Charlie LOVES sweet and sour meatballs). So far it has been really nice to not have to worry about what I'm going to make each day. I was busy running to kid stuff this morning and I'm tired and sore from helping a friend yesterday. By 2 I had the dreaded thought of "what am I going to make for dinner?" And it wasn't a big deal because it was already done. I will pull out tomorrow's dinner tonight to thaw though.

The nice thing is that I put my master shopping list on my computer so I can make this set of 9 meals again with minimal prep work.  I'm excited for this one.  So far it has worked really well and it's nice to feel like life is a little less complicated, even if it is a little thing.

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