Since we started planning our menu in advance about a month and a half ago, we’ve really enjoyed a lot let stress every day around dinner time and we no longer look at each other and hope it’s the others’ night to cook. In an effort to create healthier meals for low cost and to make dinner time even easier around here, we decided to try our hand at freezer cooking where you prepare a bunch of meals in advance so you can basically just thaw, heat and eat. I had no idea how many folks there are out there who actually do once a month cooking (OAMC) and spend a whole day cooking enough meals for the month until I started researching recipes for easy to freeze meals. Wow – I think that’d be awesome to have your whole month’s cooking done all at once, but that’s way too intimidating for me (at least right now) since I haven’t had a full day to devote to anything for at least five years 😉 BUT I figured that if we could just pick say seven freezer friendly meals that we could double and get put together easily, then we’d have a couple weeks worth of meals without too much trouble. Two weeks ago we had a “beef cooking day” where we completed 19 meals in about 5-6 hours from $75 worth of meat. Yesterday was our “chicken cooking day” and I’m thrilled that we ended up with 17 chicken meals in the freezer using the 30 pounds of meat that we purchased from Sam’s Club for $45.
Once again, I selected a bunch of recipes from the “Frugal Mom’s Guide to Once a Month Cooking” (I bought this e-book for $12.95 and I highly recommend it!) and I got the Stuffed Shells recipe (pictured above) from Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms:
- Sweet & Sour Chicken x 2
- Stuffed Shells with Chicken x 4
- Lemon Chicken x 2
- Baked Herbed Chicken x 2
- Chicken Nuggets x 3 (plus our dinner last night)
- Sesame Chicken x 3
- One Whole Chicken left over that I plan to cook in the crockpot w/veggies
We’re having the Stuffed Shells on Monday night and I can’t wait – they look scrumptious don’t they? The original recipe called for a Rotisserie chicken but I got two whole chickens reduced to 69 cents/lb at Sam’s and I cooked one in the crockpot yesterday and there was enough meat from one to cover all four dishes so I decided to just go ahead and freeze the other whole chicken for another day. This round also took about five hours (not including our America’s Got Talent break) but actually turned out to be a lot less labor intensive than the last round. We’ll definitely be doing it again in a few more weeks!