Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Freezer Cooking

I've never been a huge fan of cooking! I like the end product but for the longest time I could just never figure out how to keep my family filled up without being in the kitchen *all the time*.

Then a friend posted a link to Once a Month Mom. I had heard about "once a month cooking" before but with 2 very young children I never imagined how I could possibly be able to spend an entire day in the kitchen cooking. But when I looked on this site I realized that you can also do 5 or 10 day freezer meal plans and only need to spend a few *hours* at a time in the kitchen to feed your family for 1 or 2 weeks!

This has been a huge blessing to me and my family! (I relapsed for a couple of weeks after being away and totally regretted it!)

This site has such a wide variety of menus: traditional, whole foods, gluten/dairy free, and more. They also have new menus up every month and this is all FREE! 

My first freezer cooking marathon was the Traditional April 5 day menu. This included Spaghetti bread, sloppy Joes, A slowcooker chicken chili, Chicken foil packets, and Pizza Meatloaf. All of these recipes turned out excellently! I doubled each recipe so that I had 10 meals in my freezer and it took me 1 Naptime of prep. and 1 evening of cooking to complete it. I don't have pictures of everything, but I did capture these beauties!

Assembling the Spaghetti Bread

 I used a homemade pizza dough recipe instead of buying bread dough. And I also made it meatless. It would be really good with pizza toppings in it!! My husband wants me to make individual sizes, which would be very convenient if you need a meal on the go!

Assembling the Chicken Foil Packets
These were so delicious. There is stuffing mix, chicken, vegetable, bacon, ranch dressing and cheese all in a convenient little foil! Just throw in the oven and come back a couple hours later and voila! Would be great for singles too! I used frozen chicken breasts and just thawed them ever so slightly so that I could cut them in half. I then used frozen california mixed vegetables. and threw it all in the freezer. So good.

Pizza Meatloaf
 This does not look as good as it tasted....but it was really yummy!

Since then I have been trying to do as much extra cooking as I can once or twice a week. On Saturday I cooked 6 meals in 1 hour! 2 Ham-Pineapple casserole, 2 recipes for Sloppy joes, and A big pot of soup! It is such a relief to not have to cook every day. (For me anyways!)

And here are a few more pictures...

My sweet little boy! Love him!
And a little touch of spring!
linked to Growing Home
              Modest Mom
              Raising Arrows


nicolthepickle said...

The spagetti bread looks so good!
And the flowers. Beautiful spring.

Connie said...

I love making soup! I'm trying to get into the habit of having all the "fixings" in the freezer so I can just throw it into the crock pot. My problem is that I love cooking...but I don't like doing the dishes after very much!!!

Niki said...

I think that's one of my biggest dislikes of cooking too, Connie! Dishes!!
Do you have any good soup recipes?! I'm always looking for new ones! We love soups too!

Connie said...

Honestly, I usually just make them out of my head. For beef soup, I get a cheap steak or very small roast, cut into small chunks and brown with onions and garlic in olive oil in a pan. Then I remove the pieces of beef, and I add wine but you could certainly use water or broth, maybe apple cider? and stir up all the browned bits. I mix this with the beef in the crock pot, and I add some tomato juice and water until it looks right...then I add corn, carrots, turnip, barley, and peas, along with seasonings...I usually add summer savory, lots of pepper and some salt, and sometimes a little bit of taco seasonings, or usually turns out pretty alright!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting, Niki. Your positive spirit and your dedication to your role are just absolutely lovely! God is so good. I have not been doing much cooking in advance, but you have inspired me to try to double my recipes so we have leftovers. My problem is that I often don't cook enough for my family of six; I feel bad when growing teenagers and busy men are still hungry. But we're enjoying our food journey. I should share some of my new recieps, too. See you soon!

Lisa said...

Hi Niki,
I just found your blog, and I'm glad to meetcha! :) You have a lovely place here. And I look forward to getting to know you better, so I just became your newest follower.
Love this post, and I'm with Connie - do dishes is the worst part of cooking. However, I have a an automatic dishwasher and 5 "manual" dishwashers (my 5 youngest children still at home *wink*), so I can't complain.
Hope your week-end is a blessing-filled one!

Connie said...

I thought of another soup that was really good but I haven't made in a while:

8 cups chicken broth
2 cups diced cooked chicken
1 onion
1 cup peeled & cubed potatoes
3/4 cup chopped carrots
1 cup broccoli florets
chopped celery and green pepper to taste (I usually do a 1/2 cup of each)
salt & pepper
Red pepper flakes
1/2 cup peanut butter (barring allergies, of course)

Sautee chicken, add water and broth to make 8 cups. Add potato, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer (10 min). Add broccoli, celery, green pepper, onion, garlic; simmer about 8 minutes. Add peanut butter, parsley, salt and peppers. Simmer 3 minutes or until peanut butter is fully blended. Serve with bread/biscuits/cornbread.

Niki said...

Thanks for those Recipes Connie! They both sound really good! Can you use all natural peanut butter or would that have a different consistency?

Yes Brenda! We need to get together sometime and talk food! <3

Connie said...

All natural would probably be even better!!