Thursday, January 2, 2014

I finally "took the plunge..."

I have wanted to try the freezer meals that you prepare ahead in bulk for while...well, since the Pinterest craze, LOL! I haven't ever actually sat down and researched, organized, made the lists, etc. Some of the reasons I had never "taken the plunge" were:

- I didn't want to make meals I knew we wouldn't eat.
- I wanted to use some of the same ingredients throughout some recipes so I didn't have to spend much initially. 
- I wanted to try to keep them somewhat healthy. (I use that lightly) Example: not a lot of "cream of..." and mostly meat and veggies
- I was being kinda lazy....;/ 

I have been making a weekly meal plan for a few months now and it's really helped us. We have made a MAJOR effort to eat out less. I am SO EMBARRASSED to talk about the $$ we saved last month by cutting back on our eating out. (I think we only ate out 4 times total) ;) We even felt like we ate at home a lot...yikes! We haven't ever really been a family who eats dinner out but quick lunches and weekend are tough for us. Moving on....today I sat down and made a list. It took me a little time at the grocery but not anymore than usual. Thanks goodness because I think grocery shopping is in my top 3 most hated chore. 



Obviously it's almost the start of a new year and what better time than to set a few short term goals along with that New Year's Resolution!?!? After researching and reading multiple people's ways of doing this I finally came across a plan I think would work for our family. Lizzy over at Fun with Sharps is where I got all my recipes and plans. She wrote a post about the meals she created for her family, HERE

I didn't use all the meals she listed in her post but these are the ones I chose:

1. Hawaiian chicken
2. beef burritos
3. chicken fajitas
4. Dijon chicken
5. salsa chicken
6. Italian chicken
7. honey pineapple chicken
8. always yummy beef
9. taco roast
10. herbed turkey breast

I had a FEW of the items already but not many at all (none of the meat) ...I spent $144.55 for all the groceries, that included the freezer bags and 8 crock-pot liners. I have never used them before but decided to give them a try. Obviously it's not a need and not a great way to save money...ha! I also need to mention I bought organic items when I could. The store I went to doesn't have a great selection so when I had the organic option I took it....


Here is my grocery list:
 (I copied the ingredients from Lizzy so they are split per recipe instead of one combined list) 

  • 4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ½ cup vinegar
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • ½ cup of pineapple juice (use what’s in the can)
  • ½ can of large pineapple chunks
  • 1 London Broil or top round roast (about 2 lbs)
  • 1 diced onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons whole peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce – Use just 1 pepper!! (It’s in a can.)
  • 1 ½ teaspoon chili powder (you can adjust this according to your taste)
  • 1 1/2 pound chicken breast
  • 2 peppers (your favorite)
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • taco seasoning packet
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 pounds chicken breasts
  • 1 cup chicken broth (or 1 cup water & 1 Tablespoon bouillon)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 T dijon mustard
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ – 1 tsp thyme
  • 2 pounds of boneless/skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 packet ranch dressing mix
  • 1/2 Tbsp. chili powder
  • ½ cup water*
  • 1 cup Italian dressing
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • -1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup light soy sauce
  • - 2 lb chicken breasts
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1 15 oz. can of black beans
  • 1 pound bag frozen corn 
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with chilis (like Rotel) 
  • 1 jar salsa 
  • 1 packet of taco seasoning
  • 3 to 7 pounds beef roast, any type
  • 1 dry onion soup mix package
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 3 to 7 potatoes, cut into cubes
  • 2 to 4 carrots, cut, optional
  • 6 chicken breasts
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1tsp pepper
  • 1.5cups honey
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic 
  • 1/4 cup softened butter
  • 1/2 cup fresh sage
  • 1/2 cup fresh terragon
  • 4 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tsp cracked pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6lbs turkey breasts
Once I got home I started right in...I first labeled all my bags. I put the name of the dish, the cook time, any special instructions, and on some I put some ideas of the "extras" I could add as sides to the dish. I made sure to use freezer bags the 1 gallon size. 


Mark enjoys being in the kitchen so he was more than willing to help! (Gotta love a man in the kitchen) He cut all the meat into pieces and helped me put all the meals into the bags. Together it took us about 1.5 hrs. We did have a few interruptions (i.e. children and EXPEDITEstl pick ups) but we moved pretty quick. 


Below are the 10 recipes I used (from Lizzy), each serve 4-6 people so I plan to have leftovers for at least 8 (of the 10) for lunches as well. Two of the recipes leftovers can be used to create a somewhat different meal. That's a lot of servings...;)

1. Crock Pot Hawaiian Chicken 
(4-5 servings)
  • 4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ½ cup vinegar
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • ½ cup of pineapple juice (use what’s in the can)
  • ½ can of large pineapple chunks
Add all the ingredients to the bag. Cook 4-5 hours on high or 6-7 hours on low. Serve it over rice and enjoy. While I am cooking the rice I like to shred the chicken and put it back in the juice before I serve it.

2. Beef Burritos
(6+ servings)
  • 1 London Broil or top round roast (about 2 lbs)
  • 1 diced onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons whole peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce – Use just 1 pepper!! (It’s in a can.)
  • 1 ½ teaspoon chili powder (you can adjust this according to your taste)
  1. Add all the above ingredients into a freezer bag.
  2. When you are ready to cook the meal, dump the contents of the bag into the crock pot and cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 6-7 hours Cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 6-7 hours.
  3. When the meat is cooked, you will need to strain the juices and add the juice back to the slow cooker. (You want to remove the peppercorns and onions.) Shred the meat and add back to the juice in the slow cooker for about 30 minutes. This is one of our favorite recipes. My kids eat it as long as we have leftovers.
3. Chicken Fajitas
( 5-6 servings)
  • 1 1/2 pound chicken breast
  • 2 peppers (your favorite)
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • taco seasoning packet
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. salt
You will also need tortillas, cheese, cream, etc.
Directions
  1. Put all the ingredients in a large freezer bag. (Make sure you label the bag with instructions.)
  2. When it’s time to cook it, dump it all in your slow cooker and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 5-6 hours.
  3. When it’s cooked, shred the meat and add it back to the pepper mixture and serve on warm tortillas and your favorite toppings.
With the leftover you can make this delicious Chicken Fajita Casserole!

4. Dijon chicken

(4-5 servings)
  • 2 pounds chicken breasts
  • 1 cup chicken broth (or 1 cup water & 1 Tablespoon bouillon)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 T dijon mustard
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ – 1 tsp thyme (depending on how much you like thyme)
Can be cooked on the stove-top for 15 minutes if the sauce is drained after thawing, or can be baked in the oven for 35-40 minutes in the sauce. Also, can be cooked in the crock-pot for 6-8 hours on low.  

    5. Italian Chicken(serves 4-5)

    • 2 pounds of boneless/skinless chicken breasts
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 packet ranch dressing mix
    • 1/2 Tbsp. chili powder
    • ½ cup water*
    • 1 cup Italian dressing
    Instructions
    Place all the ingredients in the freezer bag *If you use pre-frozen chicken there is a layer of ice, so you do not need to add the water. Can be cooked on the stove-top for 15 minutes if the sauce is drained after thawing, or can be baked in the oven for 35-40 minutes in the sauce. Also, can be cooked in the crock-pot for 6-8 hours on low.


    6. Honey Pineapple Chicken
    • - 1 cup pineapple juice
    • - 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • - 1/3 cup light soy sauce
    • - 2 lb chicken breasts

    Cook on low 6-8 hrs - serve with rice

    7. Salsa Chicken
    • 4 chicken breasts
    • 1 15 oz. can of black beans
    • 1 pound bag frozen corn 
    • 1 can diced tomatoes with chilis (like Rotel) 
    • 1 jar salsa 
    • 1 packet of taco seasoning

    •  Directions:Place all ingredients in bag and freeze. Thaw, then cook on low 8 hours. Serve with rice or on tortillas along with shredded cheddar and sour cream.We stacked corn tortillas, then chicken, then cheese, and repeat. Put a little guacamole on the very top.
    8. Always yummy beef
    • 3 to 7 pounds beef roast, any type
    • 1 dry onion soup mix package
    • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
    • 3 to 7 potatoes, cut into cubes
    • 2 to 4 carrots, cut, optional

    Cook on low in the crock-pot for 6-8 hours. I have found that I need to season a little extra with salt and pepper once the beef is almost done cooking.  

    9. Herbed turkey breast
    • 1/4 cup softened butter
    • 1/2cup fresh sage
    • 1/2cup fresh terragon
    • 4tsp minced garlic
    • 2tsp cracked pepper
    • 1tsp salt
    • 6lbs turkey breasts

    Can be cooked on the stove-top for 15 minutes after thawing, or can be baked in the oven for 35-40 minutes in the sauce. Also, can be cooked in the crock-pot for 6-8 hours on low. Serve with any sides you like! We enjoy it with sweet potatoes and steamed veggies.

    10. Taco roast
    • 1 (2.5 lb) chuck roast
    • 1 (14 oz) can beef broth
    • 1 1/2 Tbsp chili powder
    • 1/2 Tbsp cumin
    • 1/2 Tbsp onion powder
    • 1 tsp garlic powder
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
    • Juice of 1 lime

    Serve in tortillas or as a sandwich or on a salad... One of our favorites!! Cook on low 6-8 hours. It might need some extra seasoning with salt and pepper once the beef is mostly cooked.

    There you have it...

    I am so excited to be SO prepared. No excuses even if we are super busy...;) Yahoo!! Hope you'll can give it a try as well. Here is saving money, preparing better, and eating healthier in 2014. 

    5 comments:

    1. I've been wanting to create a stash of freezer meals for forever. And now, after reading this post, you may have just motivated me to actually do it!:)

      ReplyDelete
    2. Thank you for sharing this. I really need to do this. It is so hard to come home from a long day of work and try to figure out what I am going to fix for dinner.

      ReplyDelete
    3. You're my motivation. I must start this today!!

      ReplyDelete
    4. You've inspired me! I've done this once before but it's been months and I must do this again ASAP!

      ReplyDelete
    5. Hi I am a new follower to your lovely blog (Via GFC)and it really feel pleasure meeting new awesome bloggers like you. Found you through Let's Be Friend's Blog Hop. I would love it if you follow me back

      my blog: wilsontom.blogspot.com

      ReplyDelete

    I always love what you'll have to say...thanks for stopping by!

    Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

    Find Me Here

    Meet the Family


    Subscribe via Email

    Topics

    "duck" park (2) #schmitzhome2.0 (1) 101 in 1001 (2) 30 Day Blog Journal (20) 5 Question Friday (9) a day in the life (2) a year in pictures (1) advice (1) apples (3) Award (2) baby (3) Baby #2 (6) bible study (3) birthday (30) bonfire (2) book club (3) bucket list (1) capturing December (1) Cardinals (3) chalk (1) children (1) Christmas (38) church (4) cookies (1) cousin (2) cousins (12) dance (3) dates (11) Disney (25) DIY (8) Easter (8) Etsy (1) EXPEDITEstl (4) Fall (11) Family (111) Field Trip (1) framily (3) Friday Favorites (40) Friday Funday (2) Friends (17) Getting to know you-Sunday (1) gifts (1) goals (2) God (13) grandparents (8) Guest Post (3) Halloween (4) Holiday (48) Insanity (1) insta dump (5) Jackson (7) Kirsten Wedding (4) legos (1) let's talk (3) Little Gym (1) Logan friends (1) Magic House (1) Maximizing our space (1) ME (5) Meal Plan Monday (1) memorial day (1) Misc. (97) Monthly Bucket List (3) mother's day (2) New Year (2) Niece and Nephew (12) Nothing bundt love (1) Our Home (10) outside (1) parenting (1) party (16) PDO (1) photo dump (2) play date (3) pool (2) Pregnancy (55) Project 365 (1) quiet boxes (2) receipe (1) Recipe (5) Ryder (15) Sadness (2) Sam A. Baker (2) school (10) schumey (4) Show and Tell Tuesdays (14) Show Us Your Life (23) sloane (67) spring (4) St. Patrick's Day (1) Stranded with... (5) summer (9) swimming (3) teaching (1) The kids behind the blog (2) The Royal Dozen (1) Themed Dinner (4) They Call HER Mama (5) Top 2 Tuesday (6) traditions (10) Tuesday Talk (2) Us (29) vacation (36) Valentine (8) Weddings (8) weekend recap (32) What I am loving Wednesday (1) What's Up Wednesday (15) WIWW (3) Wordless Wednesday (17) Workin' It Wednesdays (8) Wyatt (219) zoo (4)
     
    Designed by Munchkin Land Designs • Copyright 2016 • All Rights Reserved