Sunday, January 25, 2009

Slacking.

I feel like I've been a big slacker lately. It's been difficult to get back into the swing of things at work and at home. I'm back on my game at work, but once I get home I have no desire to cook or scrounge up dinner. Thus, we've been grabbing take-out and having alot of pb&j nights. I blame it on the cold weather and tutoring 2x a week after school. And, just being lazy :)

It helps that I finally went to the grocery store on Friday, but I still feel like I need a better plan. I like the meal planning challenges, but I still only make 4 of the 7 meals I listed.

So, I started thinking about it and asking around here's what I've come up with:

1.) Buy ground beef in bulk and cook it.
I went ahead and cooked most of the ground beef that I bought on sale this past week ($1.69/lb), and divided it up into 1/2lb and 1lb increments, into freezer bags. I labeled each bag w/ the weight, date and contents. I went ahead and seasoned 1 lb of ground beef with taco seasoning.

2.) I'm going to try and have a cooking day- probably a Sunday afternoon, to make at least 4 dishes and freeze them for my less-inspired days. Over Spring Break, Karen and I are going to try to make multiple meals and breads this way.....hopefully making life a little easier for both of our families. I'm going to scour my recipes to see which ones will freeze the best. Here's what I have in mind so far:
1 loaf banana bread
1 loaf pumpkin bread/muffins
King Ranch Chicken Casserole
Chicken tortilla soup
Spicy Mexican Chicken (in the crockpot- freeze enough for 4 meals)
Philly Cheesesteak (in the crockpot)
Chipotle Chicken (in the crockpot, add rice later)
Dice up onions, cilantro, etc. and divide it up for future recipes
???- any other ideas?

3.) I wanted to double check the 'freezer shelf life' of meats, etc. and make sure these plans weren't in vain. I found this chart on USDA's website:
Freezer Storage Chart (0 °F)
Note: Freezer storage is for quality only. Frozen foods remain safe indefinitely.
Item Months
Bacon and Sausage 1 to 2
Casseroles 2 to 3
Egg whites or egg substitutes 12
Frozen Dinners and Entrees 3 to 4
Gravy, meat or poultry 2 to 3
Ham, Hotdogs and Lunchmeats 1 to 2
Meat, uncooked roasts 4 to 12
Meat, uncooked steaks or chops 4 to 12
Meat, uncooked ground 3 to 4
Meat, cooked 2 to 3
Poultry, uncooked whole 12
Poultry, uncooked parts 9
Poultry, cooked 4
Soups and Stews 2 to 3
Wild game, uncooked 8 to 12

So, that's my game plan. I hope to have a baking day before Valentine's :)

Have you ever done anything like this? If so, what works/what doesn't?

3 comments:

erincraig said...

I am just getting started with freezer meals. I recently found a few sites that had some good stuff on it. I will have to try to do a whole post about all of them. They help so much for the days I just don't have the energy! I need to find a friend to do some cooking days with! I can't wait to hear how yours goes!

Rhonda said...

What about chili or Lasagna? I have froze them both and they worked wonderfully! Hope this helps!

lifesajourney29 said...

I might suggest (from experience) that if the cooking day becomes too exhausting:
- Try cooking 2 casseroles on the night you normally make it. It doesn't take much longer since you already have the recipe out. Bake them both and then freeze the other after it cools. You can do this with your other recipes too. Eliminates the use of a whole day and still accomplishes the same thing.
- Rather than cooking it all pre-prepare it and keep the items in the freezer together (like a kit). I make a Beef Taco Bake that uses meat (pre-cooked of course), cheese, onion, tomato basil soup, tortillas, etc. so I place all of these items pre-measured in individual baggies and then place that in one large ziploc bag. Label it and include instructions and you are done (this saves room in the freezer and gives a purpose to your frozen items.
*Advice from Muskogee :) and GO POKES!