Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I Heart Freezer Meals.

I like to cook, but only sometimes. The daily grind of figuring out what to do about dinner is stressful for me. When I was pregnant, I got especially bad at it, and usually just asked Josh to pick up Wendy's or pizza on his way home from work. Now that I'm getting back into the swing of things, I've put meal planning back on my to-do list.

But still, I don't really enjoy it.

The missing ingredient. The run to the store. The messy kitchen. The dirty dishes. Every night. Ick.

So lately, I've gotten more serious about making meals ahead of time and freezing them. My friend Erin is a freezer meal queen and got me started with a bunch of helpful tips and recipes. It's been great. I can just pull the meals out of the freezer the night before, thaw them, and heat 'em up for dinner time. Sometimes the dish requires me to boil up some pasta. Or warm up some veggies to serve on the side. I can handle that.

In any case, it's bliss.

Every time I pull a meal out of the freezer, I'm thankful for it.

Thankful that all of the ingredients are there. Thankful that I don't have to completely destroy my kitchen that evening. Thankful that I don't have to put mental energy into the age-old question of what's for dinner. Thankful that, for that day, I can serve up a hot, home cooked meal to my sweet husband when he gets home from work.

It's also a pretty economical way to cook. Buying in bulk and catching sale prices works out well in my family's budget. And when I'm cooking a lot of food in one day, I actually use most of the ingredients I buy. You know, instead of buying a whole bag of cheese and only needing a small portion of it.

So far for me, I've found that it's most helpful to just spend a day making all of the meals. I know that others make freezer meals as they go, and that can work well, too. And this last time I invited a friend to join me in that endeavor. We split the groceries and meals down the middle between us. And spent an afternoon cooking together.

It's way more fun that way. Let me just tell you.

We chose 5 recipes, and doubled them all. Then split them up into 2-3 person servings. And from those were able to make 12 main dishes each. And the cost was just over $50 for each family. Just over $4 per meal on average? Yes please!

And now, here's our freezer:

Please disregard the baggie of breast milk cubes. Then again, I suppose it is another example of a freezer meal!

Here's the fridge, and what we're having for dinner:

Here's some leftover pesto + asiago cheese from Sunday.

MMM Good.

In case you're curious, here's what we made this time around:
1. Chicken Involtini (we just used chicken instead of steak in this recipe)
2. Short Stop's Chicken Tetrazzini
3. PW's Enchiladas
4. Pesto
5. Chicken Potpie Empanadas


Ali said...

I'm so pumped to eat through these so that there can be a next time!!!

Deni said...

What a great Idea...anytime you want to hang out and cook, I am totally up for it! See ya tonight!

Jess said...

I have a TON of great freezer recipes. Quiche does amazingly well in the freezer. As does chicken and noodles. I freeze homeade pizza dough in small portions that I can use in a variety of recipes( pizza, stromboli, calzones). Do NOT freeze anything with orzo.... not a pretty picture. Love this idea of getting friends together. Could make a costco trip very worth it!

Ani said...

If you have any more good vegetarian freezer meal recipes, please send them my way! I'll have to try that pesto! I freeze homemade tomato sauce in muffin tins (just hold the pan in a little warm water once the sauce freezes so the "muffins" come out, then put them in a freezer sauce "muffin" is enough for either one pizza, or one serving of pasta). It will be nice to have another option for a pasta topper on hand...yum!