- I love freezer meals.
- I love saving money.
- I just might be a foodie blogger deep down in my soul.
So, I spent the week scouring over these blog posts that claimed to have made a bajillion meals for next to nothing in their nice and tidy kitchens. I loved the ready-made shopping lists and their "dump it" attitude for their crock-pot meals. But, none of the lists had a fool-proof menu for my very picky family.
So I did it myself.
That's right. I collected recipes (and made up some new ones) and then made my own shopping list. I spent $100 on a month's worth of crock-pot meal groceries and then came home and made twenty-meals for my freezer. Here's what I learned.
I didn't need to clean my kitchen before beginning the process.
This was my entire--ENTIRE--work space.
I needed a Sharpie that worked to write on the freezer bags. (Some of these meals will be pleasant surprises.)
I did twenty meals, two loads of laundry and cleaned the kitchen afterwards (without a dishwasher, even!) in under two hours.
And, I carried on a running commentary as if I were narrating my actions for a TV show, a la Rachael Ray.
So, while I'm not a food blogger, I'd like to offer to you, my valued readers, how I made twenty freezer meals in two hours for $100.
Please know that I precooked nothing. Nothing at all. I dumped all the ingredients into a freezer bag, labeled them (well, the first three, then the Sharpie dried out). I chopped the onions, peppers, carrots, cabbage, whatever, as I needed them.
|Seriously, I did it without cleaning my kitchen,||but it might have been nice to have some space while I was working|
And, it's important to note that I totally made up some of these recipes based on what I had in my kitchen already.
It's also important to note that I had much of the meat already because I buy it then go out to eat. I can't explain it either.
It's also, also important to note that while I play a foodie on the blogosphere, I am not one it real life--my recipes may be lacking, but you are creative persons. I have faith you can make it work!
Dump these in the crockpot and cook em for about six hours. Let's all hope for the best.
1. BBQ CHICKEN
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
chunky applesauce (gross, I used regular ol' smooth applesauce)
BBQ sauce (just squirt some in--however much you want)
cumin, 'cause everything's better with cumin
2. MAPLE CHICKEN
Chicken thighs (or tenderloins)
some Dijon Mustard or regular mustard with some Italian dressing because that's what you have
3. Pork Loin
A pork loin that was in your freezer when you bought it on sale this summer
one sliced onion
broth that you found in your freezer after making a roast last month
4. Chicken Tacos
Taco seasoning packet (then fill the packet with water and
Ranch seasoning packet
5. Orange Chicken
some olive oil
2 oranges, sliced in halforange juice--like count to six while you're pouring it
half a bottle of terriaki sauce that you thought was soy sauce in the fridge
6. Beef Bits
cubed beef (stew meat) or meatballs
Dry Onion Soup packet
1 can of whatever kind of cream of soup you likebroth--however much it takes to cover the meatballs or less than that
7. Meatloaf or sloppy joes (with meatballs)
2 pounds ground beef (or turkey) OR, meatballs (seeing a theme, here?)
chopped green bell pepper (not much, we like the flavor but not the taste)
(eggs and oats for meatloaf)
PEPPERS for Stuffed Peppers (If I weren't using meatballs, I would have made this into stuffed peppers--yum! But we wouldn't have eaten the peppers; we'd have just enjoyed the taste.)
9. Hobo Meals
Onions & peppers, stirfry frozen (or not)
10. Pork Chops
cream of chicken soup and some water or milk to clean out the can
11. Chicken Parmesan
12. Scalloped Potatoes with Ham
3 lbs potatoes - peeled, thinly sliced (This sounded good that the time)
shredded cheddar cheeseham
2 cans cream of whatever soup
milk to rinse the cans out
13. Ham and Cheese casserole
4 eggs with 2 cups of milk, beaten together
cheddar cheese, shreddedham, chopped (or not)
1 package stuffing mix
4 chicken breasts (boneless & skinless)
some swiss cheese
cream of whatever soup and milk to rinse the can out
15. Turkey and Tortellini
turkey Italian sausage
Onions and peppers
16. BBQ Pork -
pork chops15 ounce can of pineapples, undrained
black beans, drained and rinsed
18. PORK CHOPS 2-3 pounds of Pork Chops
Romano (already grated) cheese
local honey (local is the best!)
soy sauce (except I used the rest of the teryaki sauce
19. Bacon Wrapped Pork or chicken
Ribs or chicken
20. Cheeseburger casserole
1 lb hamburger or ... leftover Taco meat that was in your freezer
24 chicken breasts or 72 tenderloins
Meatballs (or stew meat or round steak), 3
Pork Chops, 16
Ham (buy the spiral ham bits and pieces--OMG! YUM!)
Ground beef (or meatballs) (I had a gob of meatballs--I used them all! D1 doesn't eat red meat, so this will make it easy for her to pick them out and easy for me to fork them off of her plate and into my mouth)
Fruits & Veggies:
Green peppers-3 (I only used one ... not sure what happened here ...)
Shredded cabbage (or cabbage) (by the shredded, trust me)
Onions and peppers stir fry (or, you can forget to buy these and just slice up your own)
Potatoes, 3 lb (seriously? Not sure why I thought I'd slice these myself--do yourself a favor and buy some kind of frozen potatoes)
can of tomatoes, 2
Tater tots, 2 (or one really large one)
Cheddar cheese, 4 c
Swiss cheese, 1 c
Romano Cheese (I couldn't find this--I used Parmesan instead. Same dif, right?)
Broth (do not buy stock--that's poison. Broth is real, yo.)
Brown gravy mix
Taco seasoning packet
Dry onion soup
Cream of Mushroom, 3 (for some reason, I really needed 4)
Oats (unless you make meatloaf, you won't need these--I used meatballs because I had a weird collection of meatballs in my freezer)
Coriander (this was $8! No way! I didn't use it)