Tuesday, July 30, 2013

My First Attempt At Freezer Cooking

Freezer cooking was one of the things I had hoped to get done before school started to give me some extra time during the day and hopefully save some money along the way.  School starts on Thursday.

First I spent too many long hours searching the Internet for recipes.  Recipes that we might actually eat.  In this house we have a half-way vegetarian, a ketchup sucker, a "what's that sauce on it" analyst, a "my foods can't toucher, and me the "hmm.. that don't look right-er."  I finally found some that I was willing to try and hoped everyone would like. 

I tried to find recipes that had similar ingredients so I didn't have to buy that much.  I wrote down each recipe and then planned out what I needed to get.  I could see a few of the items were on sale from the ad but I wasn't sure what this was going to cost me.  I was determined to get the cost down as low as possible.  So that was going to take some strategic planning.  I knew I'd be going to a couple of stores for the best deals.  I loaded my cooler up with ice and stuffed it in the back of the car.  Not before Caleb decided to taste it, though.

We got to the store to shop and then things just got crazy.  That toddler went bonkers.  I mean bonkers.  I'm the type that's like "Can you help me find the...",  Can you put the grapes on the scale?" "Here, put this in the buggie for me."  Do you want a snack."  Shoot.  By the time we made it to the second store, I couldn't tell if I was about to have a heart attack or a nervous break down.  I was already stressed from previous events and not sleeping a lick.  (Currently writing this post at 3 in the morning)  I had given that little monster my best evil teacher look to get his act together that had likely morphed into this:

But anyway, on to the real issue here:  freezer cooking.  This is a picture of everything I got on my shopping trip.  Some things had nothing to do with freezer cooking.  The total cost of everything was $110.89.  However, the total cost of everything that had something to do with the freezer cooking meals including rice and cheese that wasn't frozen in the bag was $77.27.

First, it took me a looonnng time.   Partially because I had many helping hands, meltdowns and this also ran into bedtime.  I also washed things continuously.  Everything. And was just taking my sweet time.
I used my gallon zip lock bags and started labeling them.
My little helpers used the food processor.  I couldn't find the knife that I like to use, otherwise I would have chopped it all. 

Chopped onions, garlic and bell peppers
We're making marinades and rinsing the meat.
And these are the meals we ended up with.  There were 13 in all.  All of them are to be dumped right in the crock pot except for hamburgers and a batch of the meatballs.  I also left two plain bags with pork chop and chicken with no sauce.  My picky eater was starting to get nervous that everything had sauce on it.  So I decided I would just bake these two with regular seasoning.
Italian crock pot chicken
2 meals of Meatballs
2 meals Barbecue Ribs
Barbecue Ribs- I originally had this recipe then combined a little of this one to the first one.
Italian pork chops
Salsa Chicken
Garlic Honey Chicken
Barbecue chicken
Cheesy chicken and rice
And then the 2 bags of meat without seasoning
The linked meals will take you to the recipes but I couldn't remember where I got the last two.  That second barbecue rib recipe called for liquid smoke.  I got a little happy with that and started smoking up everything.  Well, not everything but both rib meals, the hamburger and I added a dash to that barbecue chicken. 
I had to buy most of all the seasonings and sauces, but I'll be able to use them for a while.  Since summer began, I've been cooking straight from the cabinets and fridge.  There was no extra buying things until it was time to go to the store.  You know that can of beans that's been sitting in the back of cabinet for 6 months, we ate those.  These are some of my new stricter attempts to save more money and get out of debt.
 I'm excited and anxious to try everything out and see what it tastes like.  I've already saved a couple of recipes for the next time around.  I'm sure there will be a next time.
Have you ever tried freezer cooking?