Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Freezer is stocked now :)

Every year after football season I take a deep breath.  A really deeeeeep, loooooong one....like a week long deep breath.  Its such a relief to have Troy home before 9 PM for a change (and home on Saturday and Sunday), that I just get so completely excited about having help that I actually stall out and get way behind.  It never makes sense - I can keep things going, clean, cooked, etc when I'm on my own, but he comes home and after our "Thanksgiving" feast (first day of no football celebration), I go into coast-mode and don't cook, clean, do anything for a few days.  End result - WAY behind.  It doesn't take too long for this family to fall behind!  So, I made some headway a few days ago with some freezer cooking.  This batch was a very meaty one, snacks and meat main dishes. With sides of veggies and fruits to be added in.  Here's what I did this time.
First, I brainstorm what I want to make.  Usually I make plan this based on what I find on sale.  I got a good deal on ground turkey and beef and I had some sausages in the freezer already, so I knew this was going to be a meaty one.
I made a chart like this:

It lists the main ingredients on the top and the meals/snacks on the side.  It ain't pretty, but it helps me organize how many of each thing I need, how many pounds of meat, etc.  Then off to the left (not included in this one), I list the "other" ingredients I need.  This process just helps me have a use for everything I buy.

I'll not include all the instructions for everything I made.  Just a few things:

  • A few days before cooking, I made a quadruple batch of the Pioneer Woman's bread dough.  I put it in the fridge, covered.  (Pioneer Woman recommends letting it sit for at least 24 hours).
  • I cooked all the meat at the same time.  Ground beef in the crockpot - you CAN dump it in the crockpot frozen in the morning, and by midafternoon, it's perfect.  Chicken - some was baked, some was cooked on the stove in stock, some was cooked in crockpot.  Sausages - stovetop.  Did it all at the same time and let it all cool.
  • I then just set up an assembly line and used my chart to determine what all the main meats were for.  It got very confusing since I was using beef in several recipes, chicken in several, etc.  
  • For most items, I cook them halfway, allow to cool, then freeze.  And usually, you'll have to cook it according to the full time instructions, since you're cooking from frozen.
So out of this batch, I made:
  • Shredded chicken - fajitas
  • Buffalo chicken wraps
  • Cubed chicken (for salad, soup, casserole, whatever)
  • Sausage wontons (a good way to use up leftover sausage).  Glad I took the time to freeze this, since Troy ate them all the next day :)
  • Ham and cheese (with broccoli, gag) stromboli
  • Turkey and cheese stromboli
  • Calzones - several different kinds, I just put in whatever I had - beef, sausage, cheese, tomatoes, peppers, ricotta, seasoning, sauces, etc.
  • Turkey meatballs
  • Sausage/beef meatballs
  • 2 pounds of taco meat
  • Bacon rollups
  • Grinder meat
  • Twice baked potatoes
The best thing about this list is that it is all things that Troy likes and can throw in the oven, throw together some sides and make a meal, or just warm something up for a snack.  If you want any of the specific recipes or instructions, let  me know...I'll be happy to send them to you.  Get inspired! Make a chart...it feels SO good!  And stock your fridge...then take an evening off - go shopping, go get a coffee and do nothing, whatever, and leave your happy hubby home with food. I just might do this!  


Hilary said...

i am so very impressed w/ your organization...and all the hard work i'm sure it takes you to do this! also...neve would have thought to cook ground beef in a crock-pot. genious! i may just have to try some of these little trick of yours. :)

Anonymous said...

NEED TO PICK YOUR BRAIN. NOW. --Jess (not panicked. Just breathing faster breaths than usual and walking around my house in circles. That is not the same as pacing and hyperventilating. Right???)