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What I COOKED Wednesday-FREEZER PLEASERS!

WIAW

It’s a WIAW first! Normally, my #WIAW posts involve a whole lot of…well… the things I ate on Wednesday. But I realized that lately on my Weigh-In Wednesday posts {dang, I post a lot on Wednesdays!} I’ve been doing a lot of complaining about being so busy and having that prevent me from eating properly. I finally came to the realization that it was time to quit bellyaching and ‘pony up to the bar’- I needed to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! Making the decision to do so doesn’t necessarily mean that all of a sudden my schedule cleared up, we came into beaucoup amounts of money, or the hubs was given 3 straight weeks off of work and unearthed a heretofore unknown fountain of youthful energy with which to pull off all of our DIY projects. What it did do, however, was give me the desire to find a better way to manage our food so that I could pull off healthy meals each day and not resort to eating out, ordering in, or grabbing something quick (but inevitably unhealthy) to shove in my mouth in an effort to fill the ache in my tummy! After bumping around in blogland and checking out various other sites, I ran across Karrie @ Happy Money Saver and her post about the day she made freezer meals. EUREKA!  I found my answer! I suddenly realized that my problem wasn’t just about making bad food choices- it was about terrible time management as well. I knew that if I followed Karrie’s example, bit the bullet, sequestered myself in the kitchen, and cooked my tushie off making a ton of freezer meals- then dinners would be a SNAP to pull off any given night of the week! That way, I could still be terrible at managing my time yet stay on a pretty straight and narrow eating plan. Yay me!

My ‘smaller than I thought it would be’ shopping list

I did a bit of Googling and found several sites with tons of freezer meal ideas (which I quickly bookmarked) but decided to initially go with Leanne Ely’s ‘5 for the Freezer‘ recipes (which I promptly adjusted and made my own). I chose her recipes though, because I love how she not only breaks each recipe down for you, with shopping lists and everything, but gives you side dish suggestions and more! It’s dummy proof (and if you know me, you know why that’s important!) I had several requirements of the recipes I chose- they had to be relatively few ingredients (that my kids would actually be willing to try/eat), the ingredients had to be fairly inexpensive and relatively easy to purchase (I’m not in a huge city), and it had to be fast and simple to pull together and/or cook. I printed out a stack of recipes as thick as my fist, sat down, and made my shopping list (which I honestly thought would be MUCH longer) and headed for the store. It took $200 and a trip to Sam’s Club, Aldi, and Harris Teeter before everything was bought and ready to cook- my kitchen table was completely covered and there wasn’t an ounce of room in our fridge! But man, the amount of food I was able to whip up! All told, to date I’ve made 35 ‘Freezer Pleasers’ (I’m totally trademarking that name) and I’m already chomping at the bit to make more. (I know, I’m a total glutton for punishment). It’s such a joy to know those 35 meals are sitting pretty in my freezer and you can’t imagine the relief I feel knowing that if I went on strike and didn’t lift a single spatula or wooden spoon for the next month (literally a whole month!), not a one of us would go hungry or gain 30 lbs. from eating McDonald’s every night!

I did my best to make a variety of meals so that we wouldn’t get bogged down by too many pork dishes or an overabundance of chicken. I even managed to make them fit into the daily meal categories that my kids find so amusing:

 

  • Meatless Mondays (Vegetarian)
  • Tasty Travels Tuesdays (Ethnic)
  • Wet N Wild Wednesdays (Seafood)
  • Throwback Thursdays (Comfort food)
  • Pizza Fridays (Pizza, duh!)
  • Souper Saturdays (Soups/Chilis)
  • Slow Cooker Sundays (Crockpot Cooking)
{Can you tell I’m a sucker for alliteration?!}

Here’s what I made (and yes, you can click the title to get the recipe!):

RecipeMain IngredientNightly Category(ies)
Manic Meatloaf w/ Tomato RelishGround BeefThrowback Thursdays
Caesar’s BurgersGround BeefTasty Travels Tuesdays-Italian
Throwback Thursdays
Fajita BurgersGround BeefTasty Travels Tuesdays-Mexican
Throwback Thursdays
Garlic Spaghetti MeatballsGround BeefTasty Travels Tuesdays-Italian
Throwback Thursdays
Mock GyrosGround BeefTasty Travels Tuesdays-Greek
Havana HashGround BeefTasty Travels Tuesdays-Latin
Two Bean ChiliGround BeefTasty Travels Tuesdays-Southwestern
Souper Saturdays
South of the Border QuicheGround BeefTasty Travels Tuesdays-Southwestern
Kandi’s KeemaGround BeefTasty Travels Tuesdays-Middle Eastern
Gingery Beef Stir FryGround BeefTasty Travels Tuesdays-Asian
Shepherd’s Pie #3Ground BeefThrowback Thursdays
DaVinci’s Meatloaf SupperGround BeefTasty Travels Tuesdays-Italian
Throwback Thursdays
Montezuma’s MuffinsGround BeefTasty Travels Tuesdays-Mexican
Throwback Thursdays
Mino’s Meaty MinisGround BeefTasty Travels Tuesdays- Greek
Throwback Thursdays
Git Along Little DoggiesGround BeefTasty Travels Tuesdays-Southwestern
Throwback Thursdays
Calcutta CupsGround BeefTasty Travels Tuesdays-Indian
Throwback Thursdays
Turkey Tico Taco ChiliGround TurkeyTasty Travels Tuesdays-Southwestern/Mexican
Souper Saturdays
Slow Cooker Sundays
Herbed Grilled Flank SteakFlank SteakThrowback Thursdays
Crock Smothered SteakFlank SteakThrowback Thursdays
Slow Cooker Sundays
Baby’s Got Back RibsBaby Back RibsThrowback Thursdays
Slow Cooker Sundays
Peruvian Pork and Potato StewPork ShoulderTasty Travels Tuesdays-Latin
Souper Saturdays
Slow Cooker Sundays
Crock Lemon Pork TenderloinPork LoinThrowback Thursdays
Slow Cooker Sundays
Lemony Baked Crusted TilapiaTilapiaWet ‘N Wild Wednesdays
Mustard Thyme TilapiaTilapiaWet ‘N Wild Wednesday
Fish AmandineWhite FishWet ‘N Wild Wednesdays
Sweet and Sour SalmonSalmonWet N Wild Wednesdays
Slow Cooker Sundays
Halibut in Wine SauceHalibut SteaksWet ‘N Wild Wednesdays
Slow Cooker Sundays
Spinach and Artichoke PieVegetarianMeatless Mondays
Italian FrittataVegetarianMeatless Mondays
Tasty Travels Tuesdays- Italian
Crock Pot Split Pea SoupVegetarianSouper Saturdays
Slow Cooker Sundays
Kandi’s Favorite Chicken StirfryBL/SL Chicken BreastTasty Travels Tuesdays-Chinese
Chicken Cordon BleuBL/SL Chicken BreastTasty Travels Tuesday-French
Throwback Thursdays
Moroccan Chicken with Honey CouscousBL/SL Chicken BreastTasty Travels Tuesday-Middle Eastern
Crock Barbecue Chicken SupperBL/SL Chicken ThighsThrowback Thursday
Slow Cooker Sundays
Easy Sunday Slow Cooker ChickenWhole ChickenThrowback Thursdays
Slow Cooker Sundays
Now, my freezer is bursting at the seams and my wallet is only slightly lighter. If you divide the $200 spent on ingredients by the 35 meals I’ve already made, it breaks down to ~$5.71 per meal. Considering each meal stretches far enough to feed 6 people (completely!) at dinner with some leftover for lunches… that’s not too shabby! All together I managed to surprise even myself with my dedication to completing the task and I’m very excited for how it’s going to help us now and in the future. I’ve made a personal goal to take one weekend per month (at least) to make more freezer pleasers to replenish the supply and, honestly, because I really just enjoyed it. (Seriously!)

We had our first inaugural Freezer Pleaser meal last night (Tasty Travels Tuesday)- Moroccan Chicken with Honey Couscous Mashed Potatoes and Sicilian Broccoli- and it was A-MA-ZING! Most definitely something you need to make. Now. Seriously… get in your kitchen and make this. Your whole family will thank me. If you feel inspired by one of my recipes, or have a great freezer pleaser of your own to share, feel free to hit me up in the comments. I’d especially love any vegetarian meals you have hidden up your sleeve- I’ve got to break my kids’ meat habit… it’s getting out of hand! Until next time… may the fork be with you!

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6 comments to What I COOKED Wednesday-FREEZER PLEASERS!

  • Stephanie M  says:

    WOW! you have been productive. I’ll be checking out all these recipes. My trick is whenever I do find enough time to cook dinner, I cook double and freeze half, saves me from a mammoth cooking day!

    • Jenn  says:

      Stephanie,

      Unfortunately, my household makeup includes 4 men (my husband, 2 teenage boys, and a scrappy 5-year-old who can eat his weight in yummy food). If I try to double or triple a meal, they just think they hit the motherlode for dinner that night and don’t stop til it’s polished off. Trying to go ahead and tuck back the extras doesn’t work either- somehow they get ahold of it first! So, i’s just easier for me to do it this way- but if I can ever keep them distracted long enough to hide it first- I’ll definitely employ your suggestion. Thanks!

  • Allison  says:

    These recipes sound great! I’m a big freezer cooking fan. I get together with my MIL and prepare a few recipes. That way we split the cost of the products and we both get meals in the end. Also takes half the time because we can each put stuff together at the same time for different meals.

    • Jenn  says:

      Allison,

      That sounds like a great idea! Unfortunately, my MIL lives quite a distance away and my FIL isn’t what you would call an ‘adventurous eater’- lol! My mom lives close by, but considering she lives alone, it would be a waste for her to make all this for only one person. Karrie @ Happy Money Saver mentioned doing it with friends and I was thinking about trying to get a group of ladies in the neighborhood together… we’ll see how that turns out! Thanks for the idea!

  • Karrie  says:

    Awweeee!! Thanks for the shout-out! I know exactly what you mean about being disorganized. I call it living “free” to do what you want..hee hee. So yeah, freezer meals can make all the difference for a free spirit. Good luck on your big day of freezer cooking!

    • Jenn  says:

      Karrie- yeah… it was a crazy day doing all that cooking! I’m planning another monster cook session coming up soon…so we’ll see how that turns out! Post coming soon!

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