Thursday, May 9, 2013

Freezer Cooking Session: Back to Menu Planning

I had my first freezer cooking session in our new house today. I haven't been cooking much, or putting any effort into menu planning since we moved. This has resulted in us eating lots of c.r.a.p. and spending a ton of extra money eating out. It's been over a month in our new house, so I can't believe I let it go on this long!

This is also my first time doing a big freezer cooking session without my backup garage freezer. We sold it before we moved to Texas, so I am just using my freezer in my side-by-side refrigerator  That was a big adjustment figuring out how to get all the food in there! I think some Craigslist trolling is on my to-do list, but I can't decide between a small chest freezer or whole frig & freezer. Any thoughts?

I shopped and planned for two weeks, so for the first time I am trying freezing gallons of milk. I couldn't figure out a way to get them into our freezer standing up, so I just laid them down on their side. I poured out 2 cups of milk each (that was the amount of milk I needed for my Mac & Cheese recipe) out of the containers, that way there is room for expansion. The milks didn't leak, the only reason I put the towel down was because I was a Nervous Nelly and didn't want any spilled frozen milk puddles in the freezer. I will let you know how it goes!

One of the areas I struggle with is making lunch for our two boys. They are 5 and 2 now and are in a stage where they will actually eat a lot! Sadly, since I haven't been motivated to cook anything worthwhile, the boys have been eating alot of fast food for lunch. So I pledged to stay away from the fast food for awhile and to make it quick and easy, make some lunches for the freezer.

This afternoon, I cooked:

Freezer Mini Pizzas - we had half of these for lunch, then I froze the other half. The mini pepperoni were a big hit!

Homemade Mac and Cheese - double recipe: made two 8x8 pans and 12 individual "muffins"for quick lunches or dinners for my husband when he works late.

Spaghetti sauce with Italian Sausage - double recipe: I left out the olive and mushrooms, and have also found that this sauce combined with cooked elbow macaroni makes a pretty easy and quick Goulash that my kids will actually eat!

Peanut Chicken - double recipe: My kids LOVE this recipe. I leave out the red pepper flakes so I don't even bother to call it "Spicy" anymore.

French Cranberry Chicken - single recipe: I might throw this into the crockpot if I need to later in the week.

I prepped our dinner for tomorrow night, Catalina Taco Salad, by browning the ground beef and combining the kidney beans, beef and catalina dressing. All I have to do is pop open a bag of chips and cut up some lettuce, tomato and onion.

My other freezer work I did was spilt up a two pound bag of mozzarella cheese into 8 oz bags (perfect size for a pizza!), and split up a large package of chicken breast into bags of four each. I found some two pound bags of baby carrots marked down "Manager's Special", so I spilt those up into one pound each and froze them to use in a crockpot meal (maybe a big roast) down the road.

So there is my afternoon! I'm excited to take it easy the next two weeks!