Perhaps “extravaganza” is a touch overstating things. I really enjoyed all the freezer cooking I did last year, but hadn’t restarted once Spring hit and my weekends were just too full to set aside time to do more than a few meals. I don’t know about the weather where you are, but here it is glorious. Glorious enough that since the backyard is now safely fenced in, the kids and dogs and I can run wild all afternoon and not once do I worry about anyone getting hit by a car! However, far too many nights we have been outside playing with nary a thought to supper until Matt pulls in the drive and we are all too hungry to wait for me to cook and off to Burger King we go. *hanging head in shame* No more. I knew my grandmother was going to be in town this week, so I asked if she’d come over and help out; chopping veggies, browning meat, doing dishes. Turns out, having the extra body in the house made my cooking experience a breeze. We finally collapsed on Monday afternoon with a freezer full of food and only a little bit to do the next day.
http://onceamonthmom.com/italian-flank-steak-pinwheels/ (not frozen… Mother’s day meal that I will make again and again… this is the recipe I used for inspiration)
Ground pork and sweet potato tacos from Clean Eating
Meals for the next 2 weeks in the upstairs freezer. The rest are stored in my deep freeze.
This month’s cooking will last until the middle of June. I have planned for 2 out-to-suppers and a few vegetarian meals that will have to be made the nights they are planned for. This I suppose is important to note: I ONLY cook for suppers. I know a lot of the monthly planners calculate in for breakfast, lunch and supper, but I don’t. Reason being that it’s just me and the kids most days. I plan lunches on the weekends, but they are typically very simple since we are either playing or traveling. I made a few breakfast casseroles a week or so ago and froze individual pieces so for breakfast here we’ll do that or cereal or muffins and yogurt. I usually do french toast or pancakes on the weekend. Lunches here are typically whatever Liam is wiling to eat that day, eggs, mac and cheese, leftovers… pretty much whatever appeals to us.
This shopping trip cost me $221.57. This is all the meat, staples, frozen veggies, dairy products and fruit. I did pantry/freezer dive right before with the goal of using as much of those items as I could. I will have to go back to the store in between and buy fruit, salad greens, milk, eggs and cheese, but those trips aren’t too bad. Once I get my garden going, I will only have to go for the dairy products since I am still not allowed to have a cow or chicken. I’m hoping to keep the food budget under $350 for this time. All the meat is from MaryAnne’s (local, grass fed, etc.) except for the chicken which I got at Kroger’s ON SALE. I do ask Matt to drive out to Planktown for the eggs every other week since the holy grail of eggs is only $1.89 and 15 minutes from his office and they are almost 4 dollars here in town.
I’m thrilled with how this went and fully plan to continue this throughout the summer. I will soon be canning the garden’s bounty (if I ever get the plants in the ground…) and will be extra grateful for meals all ready prepared!
**In case you are interested, here’s the timeline for Mondays’ cooking:
630: up and taking care of house/kids/self for day…
830: Slow cooker Asian Pork meals prepped and packed into ziploc bags, instructions for cooking taped to the outside of the bags. Whole organic chicken (Krogers!) in the crockpot for 5 hours on high.
845: Bang bang chicken ingredients organized and frozen. Recipes printed. Action plan written out. Drama with children. 3 trips to potty. 2 Diapers changed. Laundry in wash.
1000: Grandma arrives. I’m browning the ground beef for The spicy beef lettuce wraps.
1030: Beef for wraps cooling, I make the meatball mixture and hand it to Grandma to make… 6 dozen meats from 4 pounds of ground beef. I freeze the other 2 pounds of unused meat for later. I make the filling for the eggrolls and set aside to cool.
1130: Lunch for Sylvi. Bag and label the spicy beef wraps filling. Sylvi for nap. Grandma still rolling meatballs.
1200: Lunch for Grandma, me and Liam. I hang laundry.
100: Grandma begins cooking meatballs. I prep for the pork and sweet potato tacos. Veggie mix made for Sweet and Sour Meatballs. Sweet and sour sauce made. I make all the egg rolls.
230: Egg rolls in the oven. I made beef taco mix. Pack the meatballs with veggies, label and freeze. Pork taco mix cooked, cooled and frozen.
315: Egg rolls cooling. Sylvi up from nap. Snacks made. Grandma shreds up the chicken. We decide we are done for the day and go outside.