Freezer Cooking News from Nanci
Was your summer as great as mine was? I hope so. Remember all of that organizing that I wanted to do? Well, guess what? I actually did most of it! I organized my classroom and teaching files at school and I’m already reaping the rewards of that with less work in my briefcase going home with me at the end of the day. I did quite a bit of organizing at home too. Closets, pictures, college loans, and my freezer too!
I know that I promised information this month about freezer cooking while dieting but I’m going to put that off until next month. We are making some changes to the website that will really help those of you who want to choose recipes that are low fat, low calorie, or low carb to find them quickly. Hopefully, I can tell you all about it next month.
Back to School Cooking Day
The main idea of a “back to school” cooking day is to do it before school starts. Since I didn’t get that done, we started the year by eating out or eating Mac ‘n Cheese almost every day. Yuk! After almost two weeks of “winging it”, I planned a cooking day on Labor Day. I know, appropriate. Breaking my own “Don’t shop and cook in the same day” rule, I did the whole thing in one big day and ended with over 25 entrees in the freezer (plus cooked beef & chicken for 12 more). I even have a few desserts too. Wow – does that feel great! Those of you who are 30 Day Gourmeters understand exactly what I mean.
Here’s my recipe list:
- Shredded Roast Beef (2) – I followed the suggestion on the recipe and frozen individual servings in muffin tins. I also packaged 6 servings in one of those pink storage containers for my colleague who had a baby girl yesterday.
- Lazy Day Lasagna (3) – I made two 9×13 dishes for days when we’re all here to eat. I made four 8×8 dishes for those other days. One of the smaller ones will also go to my “new mom” friend.
- Freezer Quesadillas (2)
- Oriental Sesame Chicken Strips (3)
- Chicken Noodle Soup (7 individual servings) I packaged these for the kids to take to school since they have access to a microwave.
- Pork in Marinade (4)
- Parmesan Crusted Tilapia (3) – from Carol’s newsletter last month
- Country Chicken Pot Pie (4) – my son loves these. When given the choice today to go out to eat after church or come home and cook pot pie, he chose the pot pie. How ‘bout that?
- Cooked ground beef (8 bags of 3 C. (1 lb.) each)
- Cooked shredded chicken (3 bags of 3C. each)
- Cooked chicken slices in broth (2)
- Chicken Parmesan with basil (1)
- Tropical Island Salad (1)
- Fireman Dan’s Chocolate Cream Pie (2)
People often ask me what happens during an actual cooking day. I think they want to know just how I get the job done because when you hear “25 or 30 entrees in one day” it can seem incredibly overwhelming. So this time I kept track of my day. I hope this helps you realize that you can do this! It’s really not that hard at all.
|10-11 am||Get out the grocery store ads and plan cooking day using worksheets from Freezer Cooking Manual|
|11-1 pm||Walmart ($170) – Kroger ($50) Aldi was closed because of Labor Day. I probably could have saved another $20-$30 overall by shopping there but my fault for not checking.|
|1-1:30 pm||Kids unload groceries while I get the kitchen prepped. I’m fortunate to have a big kitchen so I have a “groceries” area, a freezer containers/bags area, an equipment area and a prep area (I cover this counter with newspaper for easy clean up). FYI – I don’t leave meat out for long. The pix was just to show groceries for 25-30 entrees.|
|1:30-1:45 pm||2 whole chickens & 12 chicken breasts in the large stock potShredded Roast Beef recipe into the slow cooker
5 pounds of ground beef into the skillet
|1:45-2:45 pm||Assemble Pork in Marinade recipe & freezeAssemble Parmesan Crusted Tilapia recipe & freeze
Ground beef drained and cooled; another 5 pounds into skillet
|2:45-3:15 pm||Assemble Lazy Day Lasagna recipe & freeze (use cooked ground beef)Hint: put the cheese filling into a ziptop bag, clip a corner and squeeze it out evenly onto the uncooked noodles. It’s much easier than trying to spread the filling.
Remove chicken to cool (keep broth to use later)
|3:15-3:30||Diet Mt. Dew break (this pays off later, believe me)|
|3:30-4:30||Shred cooked chicken; pick whole chickensStart Chicken Noodle Soup in large skillet (use leftover broth)|
|4:30-6:00 pm||Assemble Freezer Quesadillas (use shredded chicken)Assemble Oriental Chicken Strips
Assemble Chicken Parmesan with basil
|6:00-6:15 pm||Put Chicken Noodle Soup into containers & freeze|
|6:15-6:30 pm||Assemble & freeze Chocolate Cream Pies|
|6:30-6:45 pm||Make filling for Chicken Pot Pies in large skillet (user leftover broth)|
|6:45-7:00 pm||Bag shredded chicken (3 C. each bag) and freezeBag chicken pieces and broth (4 C. each container) and freeze
Bag cooked ground beef (3 C. each bag) and freeze
|7:00-7:30 pm||Make 2 Chicken Pot Pies and freezeBag filling for 2 Chicken Pot Pies and freeze with bought crust
Make Tropical Island Salad and freeze
|7:30-8:00 pm||Put slow cooker of beef on porch (covered loosely) to coolClean kitchen and collapse|
It was a great day overall. I didn’t just put 25+ entrees in my freezer. I also:
- saved our family a BUNCH of money. I spent about $220 for 25 entrees (4-6 servings per entrée) plus 8 pounds of ground beef and 4 pounds of chicken. That price also includes 7 servings of soup and 3 large desserts.
- shared food with a friend
- showed my kids what the lost art of cooking from scratch looks like
- did something with my brain that doesn’t involve American literature, Etymology or Drama. Cooking is actually relaxing for me. I have a theory about that but I’ll save it for another newsletter.
I hope you enjoyed seeing the process.
We’re all about helping you succeed in your own freezer cooking. Our website has tons of info and recipes available to you for free. If you like what you see, consider purchasing our books and/or software.
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- 30 Day Gourmet’s BIG Book of Freezer Cooking $19.95
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