Monday, April 30, 2012

Menu Plan Monday-April 30 & Freezer Cooking Plans

Happy Monday. I'm a little late getting this menu up but I have good reason. I'm taking on my first ever freezer cooking challenge! I'm not cooking 30 meals or anything, just doing what I can for the time I have. Top priority during the day is making sure the girls are cared for and the house stays in decent shape. And I certainly can't cook all day and do that. So, that means I'm cooking over about a 3 day period and it may be more depending on the needs of the girls and the house.

Yesterday I went shopping for all my groceries as well as quart size freezer bags and aluminum pans with lids. I have gallon size freezer bags and plenty of foil already so those weren't needed.

Because of my freezer cooking adventures I won't be posting my usual meal plan for the week. Instead, I'm posting what I'll be making this week as well as my schedule for when I'll be cooking these items. Plus we have leftovers we'll be eating this week. So here goes!

Cinnamon Rolls x4
Apple Muffins x3
Wheat-Blueberry Pancakes x2
Banana Bread x4

French Bread Pizzas
Grilled Chicken Roller
Parmesan Chicken Fingers
Poppyseed Chicken
Layered Enchilada Bake

Oatmeal-Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (recipe makes 7 dozen)

You'll notice I don't have any lunches to freeze. I haven't found any reason to at the moment as we always have leftovers since there's only 2 of us eating the dinners (picky toddler and all). And I'm usually eating lunch on the run anyways. No need for the freezer lunches for now, though I know I will eventually.
I also chose these particular breakfasts and dinners because I know they freeze great. I've made all of these meals before and frozen them. I wanted to choose something I knew would turn out great so I wouldn't get discouraged over my first ever freezer cooking experience.

Here's my schedule:

All grocery shopping at Aldi and Kroger
Sam's Club for plastic bags and aluminum pans

Make sure dishwasher is empty, all dishes I need are clean and counters are clear
Cook 2 whole chickens in my 2 crock pots, cool and shred
Make 2 loaves of french bread
Make pizza sauce
Cook ground turkey

Make sure dishwasher is empty, all dishes I need are clean and counters are clear
Put together french bread pizzas, flash freeze and wrap individually to bake later, label with cooking directions, put back in freezer
Put together grilled chicken rollers, quart size bag with marinade, label with cooking instructions, freeze
Cut up 4 pounds chicken and make parmesan chicken fingers, freeze in quart size bags in 1 pound portions, label with cooking instructions, freeze
Make layered enchilada bake, put in 2 aluminum pans, label with cooking instructions, freeze
Make poppyseed chicken, put in 2 aluminum pans, label with cooking instructions, freeze

Make sure dishwasher is empty, all dishes I need are clean and counters are clear
Make all breakfast items, cool completely, freeze with labeled bags
Cut banana breads in half to pull out half at a time.

I wrap each breakfast item in the portion we eat them. This is 3 pancakes, 2 apple muffins and 1 cinnamon roll. I wrap these in plastic wrap and put them in a label gallon bag so they're easy to find in our refrigerator freezer. I may keep 1 banana bread whole and keep 1 cinnamon roll pan together so I can take them to church for breakfast or for a new mom.

Make Snickerdoodle Cake for small group tonight
Make Oatmeal-Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (make dough, scoop and freeze each dough ball; when frozen place in quart size bags, 6-12 in a bag to bake for get-togethers and for us)

Whew, after writing this is looks like A LOT. And it is. But these are meals I've made many times, frozen and they work. I chose easy recipes for me to begin my freezer cooking experiment. I keep calling it an experiment because I have no idea if this will really work for us or not.

Tips I've learned so far:
1. Keep the dishwasher empty and the counters clear. You see I've written that on each day because it's so important. I need all the space in my small kitchen.
2. Drink plenty of water and don't forget to eat! I've already been chugging the water today.
3. Wash dishes as you go. With a small kitchen and the need to use my utensils over again this is key. When I've got a couple free minutes between cooking and putting foods together I'll keep washing dishes as I'll need them over and over again through my cooking days.
4. Don't forget the end goal! This is a lot of food to make but I keep thinking of how much I won't have to cook down the road. A few days of being in the kitchen will make it worth it on crazy/busy nights where something will already be made for me to pull out of the freezer!
5. Have fun! I enjoy cooking but I need to remember to have fun with all this. It's daunting but I can do it!

Have you ever done any freezer cooking? What are your tips?

1 comment:

Rachel said...

Love how you have this broken down and organized for the week! Good luck! :)