After seeing so many posts on successful rounds of freezer meals, I caved and decided to try my hand at it last night.
I started working full time as a junior high resource teacher about 3 weeks ago, and as soon as I started working, I’ll admit my domestic bliss went out the window. Laundry piled up, and we had one too many meals involving popcorn. I decided to use spring break as a time to get ahead and save time and money once school starts back up on Monday. This post will detail the process as well as include links to all recipes at the bottom. I encourage everybody to pick a time of day when you’re the most motivated/energized. For me, that’s late at night, so I shopped, ate dinner, then spent the evening assembling meals.
I spent the afternoon researching and planning from a compilation of Pinterest posts. When I looked through the reipes, I was looking for recipes that I knew we would at least enjoy trying that weren’t terribly involved or expensive. These meals tend to be very carb loaded and heavy, so I was specifically looking for meals with veggies and light bases. I’ll post the recipes below with a link to the original website. Once I decided on 7 recipes with a variety of meats and veggies, I looked through my cabinet to find what I already had and what I needed to purchase.
I knew I would be going to 2 grocery stores so I used a highlighter to select which items would be purchases at Sprouts so that I could quickly separate the 2 and not spend as much time going through my list at the store.
For a big family with lots of freezer space and the budget to do so, I would recommend doubling the recipes to get even more meals out of one go at it. Because we are a family of 2, I doubled one recipe and did 1.5 of another but a single batch will stretch over several meals for 2 of us for most of the recipes.
After work, Kyle and I went grocery shopping at 2 stores: Fry’s (Arizona equivalent of Kroger’s) for spices, canned foods, and freezer supplies and Sprouts (no Illinois equivalent) Farmer’s Market for produce & meat. Between the 2 stores, our total was $81.96.
Once we got home, I put the meat in the fridge, cleared the counters, and rolled up my sleeves! A key to my success was my extremely handsome sous-chef who chopped onions, minced garlic, and browned meat like a pro. :)
First, I pulled up all the recipes and used a sharpie to label each bag with the contents as well as baking instructions. This is an example of how I labeled them. The White Chicken Chili was the only recipe that required additional ingredients at the time of baking.
Once my bags were labelled, I sorted all my groceries by recipe on the counter with a post it note so I knew which cans/veggies went with which recipe.
After that, the process went pretty quickly, and I was done in about 2.5 hours with 8 meals in the freezer and 1 roast in the crockpot. The beef enchiladas required the roast to be precooked, so I put the roast in the crockpot before I went to bed, then assembled the enchiladas in the morning. This was the only meal that is not ultimately a crockpot recipe, the enchiladas will just be baked in the oven.
Made 2 pans of 7 enchiladas each. The roast cooks overnight and assembly takes about 20 minutes.
Teriyaki Pork Chops
This was the meal I doubled by buying 6 large chops instead of 8 small. The other ingredients were so cheap that it was super cost-effective to makes 2 bags.
Western Beef Casserole
Brown the meat then simply dump all ingredients together.
Hawaiian Chicken & Chicken Fajitas
This link includes 2 recipes I used. I did 1.5 times the Hawaiian Chicken because I had enough chicken breasts left and all I needed was a large can of pineapple chunks instead of of medium.
That’s it! 7 recipes, 10 meals, $82, and 2.5 hours total!
I hope that helps all y’all who had questions and wanted recipes. If you have any questions let me know. It was super fun and very productive/helpful to get ahead and have one less thing to worry about or plan for.