Monday, September 08, 2008

Five Days For The Freezer

Last Wednesday was our monthly trip to the grocery store. As a result, I have spent the past 5 days tackling cooking for my freezer.

The cooking began on Thursday. I made 2 dozen chocolate chip muffins. We ate 9 for breakfast and the rest went in the freezer. Then I had 10 pounds of ground beef to get to.
I made 2 meals worth of meatballs, Salisbury steak with onion and mushroom gravy, 3 packages of browned meat with onions, 2 batches of sloppy joe meat, and 1 meatloaf. The meatloaf we had for dinner.I also made a triple batch of mashed potatoes. We ate one with the meatloaf for dinner, the second batch was frozen on its own in a plastic bag, and the third batch topped one of the batches sloppy joe meat for a "Sloppy Joe Shepherd's Pie" for the freezer.

As a tip, I've found my mashed potatoes freeze and reheat best when I bulk them up with a little sour cream and cream cheese. They also taste delicious this way!
On Friday, I wanted to get some of our produce taken care of before it had a chance to even think about going bad. The first thing I did was cut up all of the veggies I'd be using: 3 zucchinis, 1 green pepper, 1 onion, 1 pound mushrooms, and 1 whole head of garlic.

I made garlic chicken & spinach spaghetti, which we ate that night.
Then I made garlic zucchini & mushroom saute. I packaged that into 3 side-dish sized freezer bags and put them in the freezer.
Then I made a veggie-heavy tomato sauce. I put one bag of just sauce in the freezer.
On Saturday, I used the remaining sauce, and the rest of the spinach, to make Florentine stuffed shells, meat lasagna, and vegetarian lasagna. We ate the vegetarian lasagna on Saturday night and the other two dishes went into the freezer.

Sunday morning began with blueberry pancakes. I made a triple batch and froze all of the leftovers.Then I decided to make lots of pizza pockets for quick lunches from the freezer. This is one of favorite things to have in the freezer. Even though it takes a few hours to make 4 batches, it is well worth it through out the rest of the month.
I ended up with 24 pepperoni and mozzarella pizza pockets. I decided to try something new this month and also made 8 ham & cheese pockets. While those were baking, I made 45 Parmesan chicken fingers. We ate half for dinner on Sunday and the other half went in the freezer.

On Monday I made 2 dozen tortillas. My hope was to have some extra tortillas to freeze for quick quesadilla lunches throughout the month. But, after 4 kids snacking on them, and 2 dinners, they are all gone. Oh well, maybe next time.
To go along with the tortillas I made a chicken & black bean taco filling, which we ate Monday night. I also made some creamy chicken and cheese enchiladas for the freezer. When I pull them out to eat, I will add some enchilada verde sauce over the top before I bake them.Here is the current state of my freezer. I think I'll have to halt the freezer cooking for now until we clear out a bit more room, or until I rearrange everything to see if I can create some more room.

Update: I have linked and written out recipes in this post.

For more Tackle-It Tuesday, head over here.

For more Kitchen Tip Tuesday, head here.


Extraordinary Ordinary Life 11:42 PM  

Wow, great job. I also made blueberry pancakes, tripled them and froze the rest. I can't believe you fit all of that just in your top freezer. Do you have a deep freeze also? Again, amazing job! I so love freezer meals.

Michele 12:32 AM  

Guess it's time to eat some ice cream... :) (hehe) That's what Calvin always says when the freezer looks too full (even though we hardly ever have ice cream in it!)

Great job! My freezer is filling up with berries/veggies for the winter, so I'm running out of room to freeze meals now.


Homesteader in Training 7:16 AM  

Could you please please come over and help me with that! I just get so flustered thinking about it that I don't even start lol.
You did a GREAT job!

Judy 7:35 AM  

You AMAZE me!!!! Truly you do. If I can make an extra batch of french toast I am thinking I am ahead of the game.
I had been wondering lately if homemade tortillas would freeze well and I thought of making chicken nuggets (fingers) for lunches. You answered those questions. Next week on Friday I do my BIG shopping for the month. I am going to have to take some of these ideas in to account.

AmyG 8:00 AM  

Wow, you were busy! All the food looks yummy. Great tackle!

Tim, Allyson, and Emahry 8:01 AM  

I'd love you recipes for Salisbury steak with onion and mushroom sauce, garlic chicken & spinach spaghetti, & pizza pockets. Amazing job filling that freezer.

Stacy 8:21 AM  

I wish my back would hold up long enough to do that. Unfortunately, it is very painful to stand and work in the kitchen for a long period of time.

My alternative -- plan my evening meals so at least I know what I have to do, several weeks in advance. It helps a bunch!

Julie D 8:22 AM  

Wow! That's a lot of food! One of these days I'm going to start freezer cooking...

Susie 8:29 AM  

What a fantastic tackle!! That is an awesome, awesome idea. I got to bookmark this page!!

~michelle pendergrass 9:05 AM  

I said I was going to do some freezer cooking...guess how far I got with that? LOL

Kristi 9:13 AM  

I use to do 30 day gourmet and we LOVED it. You are inspiring me to think about trying it again. Blessings to you!

BarbaraLee 9:15 AM  

I think you just need a bigger freezer.

Kirby3131 9:48 AM  

My first thought was, there is no way I could do this, I only have a side by side fridge/freezer - and then you show us your teeeny top freezer. Really? You get all that in there? Well, I think I've got some rearranging to do then.

I agree with "Tim, Allyson, and Emahry" - I'd love to have those recipes.

Thanks so much for giving us all such a detailed post - you have totally inspired me.

Have a great day!

Mary/Canadagirl 10:04 AM  

Wow you did such a GOOD job ! My tummy is grumbling now. lol I am hoping to do more of this soon.

Thanks for sharing all your good ideas !

In Him<><

Tightwad Tuesdays@

Nancy 10:05 AM  

Wow, that's quite a stockpile! Good for you. It will make the next several weeks easy for you, at least in the dinner department!

And here I thought I was doing good with the little extra cooking I'd been doing for stocking my freezer. Girl, you put me to shame. LOL

Hadias 11:14 AM  

Awesome. Can I come over for dinner. I love cooking for the freezer a day in the kitchen reaps such rewrds later on on. Good for you. Such great pictures.

Karen 11:45 AM  

Wow! I think I need to consider buying a bigger freezer...

Sherry 11:49 AM  

That is awesome! What a wonderful tackle!! Your dishes sound yummy!

Sarah 12:34 PM  

Amazing! What a job that must have been but I am sure very worth it.
Everthing looks delicious.

dj 1:18 PM  

That's a huge job well done!
Now I need some pancakes!

mama wants more 2:05 PM  

I'm not very good at cooking ahead and freezing, but this makes me want to try! Thanks!

Tina 2:51 PM  

Wow that was amazing! I usually start doing this when it gets a bit more busy. I love that you did so much with so little. Your pancakes look fabulous!

Angie 3:29 PM  

would you link me to your amazing recipes? Please.

amysfinerthings 3:33 PM  

Kate -- You do an amazing job getting all of that in your small freezer. Way to go making use of what space you have!

Lora 4:13 PM  

Wow! I'm impressed, to say the least. I obviously need to better use my freezer space. I keep saying I'd like to have a deep freezer, but just look at what you got into your regular-sized one!!

Sonshine 4:19 PM  

WOW!! Great job! Thanks for sharing! You have inspired me! I have a list of things that I want to make and put in the freezer but I am lagging/stalling in that area right now! However, my freezer looks about the same as yours so maybe that is room! :)

Becca 4:26 PM  

I am so impressed. I hope to be able to do something like this when we have kids. Right now it is just hubby and me, so it isn't a big deal. We do plan two weeks worth of dinners though, and that has made a HUGE difference in budget and time spent on food. But maybe someday we will try a month at a time!

Mimi 7:34 PM  

Your food looks fabulous. It's the best example of once a month cooking that I've ever seen. Have you considered writing a cookbook?

Sonshine 9:24 PM  

If only we were closer...we could do IRL freezer cooking! :) I would love doing more of it! :) However, I don't think travelling 3 hours one way would save either of us any $$ to do IRL freezer cooking. LOL! So I guess we will just settle to read each other's blogs and glean ideas. :)

Oh thanks for stopping by! :) and you are welcome for the grocery deal posts. :)

Anonymous,  9:57 PM  

I'd love some of these recipes too. I don't see a listing for them. Do you not share? ;) You really are awesome!

Shynea @ Penny Pinching Diva 10:26 PM  

All I can say is "Oh. Wow!" Seriously, I admire that you have the patience and the time to do all of this cooking ahead of time. If I had the space, I would definitely prepare a lot of our meals ahead of time and freeze them. I have been wanting a deep freezer for the longest, and we have been on the lookout for a second hand one. In the meantime, I have to prepare our meals everyday. But this is really amazing. And all of your food looks so good. I am trying to incorporate some vegetarian meals into our weekly menu so we can cut down on our meat consumption, so I would definitely love the recipe to your spinach spaghetti and vegetarian lasagna.

Take care!

Mary Ellen ~ Carolina Momma 10:29 PM  

Wow! Absolutely amazing! Those dishes look and sound delicious. Would love the recipes!

Kevan and Jayde Riley 11:11 PM  

I would love recipes too. Especially for your tortillas. Mine never turn out well. I don't know what I do wrong.


Kate 9:32 AM  

I have posted all of the recipes in a new post. I'm sorry for not including them in this original post and making all of our lives easier.

Your Frugal Friend, Niki 9:30 AM  

Wow, you are my hero!

I tried OAMC once. I was exhausted and in way over my head. I had no plan to follow and just attempted to cook some of my family's favorites in bulk.

Kudos to you for doing it successfully!


Julie Stiles Mills 4:45 PM  

That's impressive! I try to cook double and triple recipes whenever possible - but my big thing is to mass "prep" the food. Cook 10 pounds of ground beef and freeze into meal size portions, chopping an entire bag of onions and freezing about an onion's worth in stacked zipper bags - that kind of thing.

I second that request for recipes! And please be sure to Mr. Linky them on Kitchen Tip Tuesdays!!!

Funny about Money 4:54 PM  

Ahem.... If you're feeling bored, I have a nice kitchen you might like to cook in, and a great freezer you can fill up. :-)

This gives real meaning to the term "awesome"!

Lisa Knight 12:02 PM  

Wow, I really need to get some freezer cooking done. This whole "wing it" lifestyle is driving me batty!

Great job, where did you get your freezer recipes? I belong to "30 day gourmet" just haven't used it in a while...

Anonymous,  11:07 AM  

Just want to point you to an easy way to brown up a lot of hamburger:

I stole the idea from a friend of mine and posted it on 'zaar. It's come in handy when I find sale-priced burger.


Terra Jones 7:35 PM  

OK - wow!!! did you really get all that in your top freezer??? Here I am thinking there is NO way I can do this b/c we don't have a deep freezer (LOL - I just looked over & saw Extraordinary Ordinary Life saying the same things, lol)

& I agree w/ others - recipes pleasssse!! :)

thank you for sharing this - I've been inspired!

also (since I just skimmed, I may have missed it...) but what was your total coat for all that??? I think the hubs would faint if I said, "let's buy all our groceries in one trip!" lol

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