I Feel Like a Cooking Machine!
Confession: I have been terrible about menu planning lately. It’s not that I don’t think about it, it’s just that I don’t think about it until it’s actually time for dinner. As a result, we haven’t been eating the greatest. Which doesn’t go well for the whole weight loss thing.
It’s funny how much I focus on food, but don’t have much to show for it. I obsess about nutrition and health and what I buy instead of just taking a deep breath of fresh air and being happy to have food in the fridge and pantry and our bellies are never hungry.
I decided to give myself a break this weekend and stop obsessing about everything being organic and the perfect nutritional content and just make some generally nourishing food that we will all enjoy. I made that decision Friday night and early Saturday morning ran to the grocery store planning to pick up just one thing(HA!). While we were there at 6:30am, the butcher was marking down some meat. I had to investigate and found some unreal deals. I got $22 worth of steaks that my husband is just waiting to sink his teeth into for $7. Plus a metric ton of super lean ground beef(well, 4 lbs is a LOT more than I normally ever buy) for $7.
Now that we have a freezer, purchases like these are much more realistic and I am so happy to have it. I decided to spend time this weekend using the ground beef and other things we already had in the fridge or pantry to get a bunch of meals made and frozen so that I can still plan what we’re having, but not have to do a ton to make it other than make a veggie or salad and throw something in the oven.
Something that I really focused on was serving sizes. A full recipe of most recipes is enough for 2 full meals for 2 adults and 1 toddler, so I tried to split everything and freeze it smaller so that it was 2 meals for us.
So, this weekend I made and/or froze…
-2 Boxes of Annie’s Cheesy Lasagna This made 3 frozen lunches for the husband, 1 frozen lunch or dinner for toddler + adult(a lunch for us to share or an easy dinner for them if I’m out for the night), 1 dinner this weekend for the toddler and 1 dinner this weekend for the husband
-2 containers of Shepherd’s Pie filling. 1 recipe = 2 meals +leftovers. I froze the botton part of the Shephard’s Pie in a container the same size as a pie pan so that I can flip it right over into the pie pan, add some mashed potatoes and throw it in the oven)
–Meatloaf – 1 recipe made into 2 meatloaves for us
–A batch of frozen, cooked spaghetti in individual portions. Not as good as fresh, but easy and quick lunches for my husband to take to work or for me to make for us for lunch in a hurry. It was so easy to throw on a pot of boiling water and cook some spaghetti while I was already cooking anyway.
–Blueberry Muffins – made and frozen. I love having muffins in the freezer. They’re a great snack when I can control how big I make them and I added an extra cup of frozen blueberries to these to beef them up a bit more.
–Onions – I love having already chopped onions in the freezer. Especially if the onions are starting to look like I need to use them, it’s so easy to just chop a bunch when I’m already chopping and throw them in the freezer.
–Carrots – blanched and frozen in medallions and also pureed and frozen in ice cube trays for baby food or to add to a recipe for a veggie boost.
Other things I’m I loving to have in the big freezer:
-Frozen fruit – blueberries, mangoes, strawberries, cherries, bananas(when they get too brown)
-Veggies – blanched and frozen in meal-sized portions for us
-Soups in general in individual portions
-Meat when I find it on sale
-Chicken. Always, always, neverending boneless, skinless chicken breasts…
-Flour (we go through it so slowly, it’s easier to just keeps a few cups in the pantry and freeze the rest)
I’ve become slightly obsessed, but it’s working out well. Ever so slowly, I’m finally feeling like we’re wasting so much less food and saving on groceries and that’s a great feeling.
ETA ~ A few other fantastic posts/links I’ve seen recently on cooking a lot at one time to have in the freezer: