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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Once A Month Cooking - Part C

STEP C

Now that you have your list of regular meals and your grocery list for those meals, you need to go through and PLAN what you're going to prepare for your freezer for the next _____ days. You could work up a 1-week, 2-week, 4-week or be adventurous like me and prepare to do a SIX WEEK PLAN!

**I will share my personal fear, anxiety and experience from this part of planning. My hangup on doing this was that I took a look at my actual calendar and then went, "Are you freakin' kidding me?" However, what I needed to realize was that I'm going to be preparing meals for my FREEZER and NOT for my calendar!

From whatever events are on my calendar, I can pick and choose what will be the quickest entree to cook that evening -- not look at the calendar and call for pizza delivery! Initially, I was looking at my calendar with eyes saying, "On this night, how in the world will I make a dinner having one son at football practice from 5:45 - 7:45 and another at t-ball practice from 5-6:30?" Instead, I should be thinking, I'm going to have several things in the freezer that I can pull and stick right in the slow cooker. Therefore, dinner will be ready at 6:45 for Drew and then, still be warm for Josh when he gets in from football practice. I was already denial, creating mountains out of molehills and stressing out just looking at the calendar when what I needed to do was simply focus on what I'm putting in my freezer. Just KNOWING that I am going to need meals that are precooked and/or slow-cooker ready for those kind of days, is half the battle!

Now, for me, like I said, I'm going to ATTEMPT to do a six-week plan. It's quite an undertaking, I know, but since I'm six weeks out from having a newborn, I can only see that as being a good thing (as I say that in my most "Martha-ish" voice). Also, since my casseroles are quite large and can typically be divided in half, that means I will have TWO meals from just ONE recipe without even doubling it!! AND, more importantly, since we will designate one nights and a couple of lunches as leftovers on the weekly menus, we will (**hopefully**) be eating from the freezer for WEEKS! What a wonderful thing!

The only issue I'm discovering now is to have a ready supply of sides on hand. How DOES one go about this? I need to research further because I don't want to be in a "side rut"! However, right now, I'm working on entrees and that's enough stress!

So, I know that I need to prepare enough meals for six weeks. That's 44 days. I think doing this will give me not only a good base of "regulars" but also a good variety of the new recipes that I can't wait to try out.

My 44 meals will consist of this:
  1. Beef stroganoff (1 serving)

  2. Cheeseburger macaroni (2 servings)

  3. Burgers (2 servings)

  4. Sloppy joes (1 serving)

  5. Meat loaf (2 servings)

  6. Pot roast w/veggies (1 serving)

  7. Spaghetti (2 servings)

  8. Steak (2 servings)

  9. Tatertot casserole (1 serving) **this makes enough for 2

  10. Tetrazzini (1 serving) **this makes enough for 2

  11. Quickie tacos (2 servings)

  12. Italian shredded roast beef sandwiches (1 serving)

  13. Swedish meatballs (2 servings)

  14. Meatball subs (1 serving)

  15. BBQ chicken (1 serving)

  16. Chicken a la king (1 serving)

  17. Grandma's chicken and rice w/veggie (1 serving) **this makes enough for 2

  18. Chicken spaghetti (1 serving)

  19. Chicken quesadilias (1 serving)

  20. Fajitas (2 servings)

  21. Marinated grilled chicken (4 servings)

  22. Picaunte chicken (1 serving)

I'm now left with choosing 11 meals from my 4 books to incorporate into tomorrow's endeavor. I'm going to go figure out what those are right now and I'll come back and edit the post to incorporate those after choosing.

STEP D

Get that grocery list and GO SHOPPING! I've got the meat, now I just need the "stuff." Stay tuned!

1 comment:

MaryC said...

April, I hope I don't seem like a know it all, but I did this for years so I feel like I have something to contribute.
I make a huge green salad without the wet stuff like tomatoes at the beginning of the week. I salad spin the lettuce, add onions, etc. and then store it in a BIG rubbermaid container with a paper towel inside to soak up extra moisture. Then at dinner, I just plop a big bunch of salad in a bowl, add the wet and it's done. You can also do individual salads like that.
Do you have a timer on your oven? I set the timer to come on at whatever time I want and put the frozen item in the oven. It takes all day to thaw so it is ready to cook at say, 4 pm. Dinner is ready when you get home.
Lots of sides are freezable. Just depends on what you like.