I did it! I completed 3 days of freezer cooking for our family!
Here's the post and schedule I wrote up before I started. I had every intention of following that schedule but that didn't go as planned and that's okay. I completed all I wanted to complete and have a freezer FULL of food that will be happily eaten when the time comes. I will continue to cook most nights as usual and menu plan too. The freezer meals will be for the long days I sometimes have with the girls or if the menu plan for that night doesn't sound appealing. Hey, it happens and I'm flexible to that!
Below are links to the recipes that I've been working on this week. Yes, it's a lot but I did it over a 3-day period and it didn't happen all at once. I did it when I had some free time from caring for the girls and my other daily duties. If you feel like even this is daunting but want to try, double a meal one night when you cook and freeze the second meal for a later date. If you do this everyday for 5 days you'll get 5 meals without any extra work because you were already in the kitchen making a mess! This is a great way to build up your freezer stock without having to spend all day in the kitchen. So here goes!
2 whole chickens in the crock pot and homemade chicken broth
2 loaves of french bread (mostly in my bread machine, but baked in the oven)
16 french bread pizza's
1 pan of layered enchilada bake (This is a super easy recipe to double or triple!)
1 pan of poppyseed chicken (So is this one)
1 batch of oatmeal-peanut butter chocolate chip cookies (makes 7 dozen and I froze the dough balls in quart size bags with 12 in each to pull out and bake when needed)
Day 2: Baking Day
cinnamon rolls x4 (these are a NO rise roll so they're simple and they're by far the best we've had)
apple muffins x3
wheat-blueberry pancakes x2
I cut up bell peppers to use later in my cooking
Made two batches of homemade butternut squash baby food for Naomi
Yeah, day 2 won't happen again like this. It was WAY too much work and I had a hard time keeping a handle on the usual day's events. Instead I'll do the cinnamon rolls one day or even one week and do the apple muffins another time, etc. It was a crazy day and I didn't like having my oven running most of the day, especially since it stayed pretty warm outside which made it warm inside. I'll definitely do this different next time.
banana bread x3 (I cut 2 in half and froze the four halves and kept one whole)
8 grilled chicken rollers (4 breasts in 2 quart size bags; I bake these and they're just as good!)
4 chicken breasts in Wickers marinade (2 breasts in 2 quart size bags)
4 chicken breasts with homemade bbq sauce in one quart size bags)
And that's my list! Crazy right?! I had a fun time getting all these together but I'm whipped after being on my feet for three days straight! I probably won't be as adventurous next time. It's too much with 2 babies who need attention plus the housework I try and keep up with as well. I think I'll double and triple recipes when I cook some nights and if I need to re-stock with more foods then I'll do an extra and different meal while cooking dinner. It's easy to throw another meal together for another night especially when there's no cooking involved. Also, if you look back at my original schedule I didn't do a recipe I intended or I added something easier for another meal. I'm glad I did this and strayed from the schedule I originally had. It turned out to be easier for me to do something different.
I hope this helped you get better acquainted with freezer cooking and gives you confidence to try an extra meal here or there to put up for the busy nights we all have. Happy cooking!