Sunday, October 15, 2017

Freezer Meals- Baby #2

I'm not entirely sure how many times I've done this but I'm super pregnant again and and therefore fully immersed in the "no chill" phase of my nesting. Like I spent all week last week deep cleaning my house. Like hardcore cleaning: Re-caulking/grout refreshing my shower, deep cleaning the oven/microwave/fridge/etc, wiping my cabinets, shampooing my carpets and rugs, Windexing all of the windows/blinds in my house, etc...Just basically everything that I could possibly think of that I don't typically clean on a weekly basis. BECAUSE MY BABY IS GOING TO CARE IF MY CLOSET HAS BEEN ORGANIZED AND RE-ORGANIZED 80 TIMES BEFORE HE GETS HERE!! It's fine. I'M FINE!! Actually I want to die but I'm fine.

I could go on and on about all of the weird things I've done to prepare for baby #2. Luckily I didn't have to buy hardly anything this time which was nice so I focused all of my energy on doing things like deep cleaning my Keurig (which I rarely use IDK) and having a garage sale at 36 weeks. SO I'm going to spare you all of the ridiculous details of my many to-do lists I created. Like I basically have a list to organize all of my different lists. When I start to talk to people about it I realize how crazy I sound. I KNOW I KNOW I KNOW I JUST CAN'T HELP MYSELF!

So when I was toddler-free this week I seized the opportunity to make some more freezer meals! I made like a million (slight exaggeration) last time I was pregnant, unaware of how awesome our church family is about providing meals for families with new babes. It was so sweet. We had meals for at least 2 months that were provided by them. So I didn't have to start using the meals I made for a while but I was still happy that I did it!

For these I tried something totally different. Before when I've done this I've focused on finding actual freezer meal plans that are laid out for me. Sometimes, though, the recipes didn't look super appealing to us and we weren't that into them. This time I just found recipes on Pinterest that looked good and like they'd freeze well. I sat down and planned it out by figuring out how many each recipe serves (for instance, one serves 12 so I split it into 3 but a few only served like 4 so I had to be sure to make a note to double them) and I also compiled a combined grocery list. 

A good thing about these recipes is that they require common or not many ingredients. I had at least half of the ingredients on hand which greatly saved on costs. I spent exactly $80 (weird) on all 11 meals. They ended up being $7.27 each (note that this doesn't count the ingredients that I already had). I started by doing the bulk of my shopping at Aldi (awesome quality and prices) then going to Kroger for the leftover things that Aldi didn't have. I love Aldi for things like freezer meals but I'm far too addicted to ClickList so there's no way I'd go there every week for my shopping. They have a great selection with most of the necessities but you're probably going to have to go to Kroger or any other large grocery store afterwards to pickup a few leftover items. As a mom of a toddler + infant (ALMOST) there's no way I have the time/energy to plan like this every week then make trips to 2 different stores for my weekly groceries. That's another rabbit trail I could go on and on about. ClickList that is. THANK YOU, JESUS, FOR YOUR SWEET BOUNTIES UPON MOMS OF LITTLE PEOPLE WHO HATE DRAGGING THEM THROUGH THE GROCERY STORE EVERY WEEK!

Moving on to the actual reason you're reading this right now!

The recipies include:

Each recipe and where I found it is linked in the titles above.

Here is the document I made of all of my compiled recipes and my prep work! Click the link below!

Here's the order I made them in:

I started by making the 2 chicken recipes that just require you to dump ingredients in a bag (honey mustard chicken and BBQ chicken). They were super easy, required no cooking, and I just wanted to get them out of the way.

I then boiled the noodles for the tetrazzini then the lasagna noodles just so that would be done.

After the noodles were done I brought my big pot of water back to a boil and boiled my chicken for the tetrazzini. You can cook your chick anyway you'd like for this recipe. I didn't read ahead so I just cooked it the quickest, easiest way I knew how. It'd probably be tastier if you baked it sprinkled with some spices. It would also probably be beneficial to do this first so your oven can be pre-heated and your chick chick can be cooked and cooled by the time you need it.

While the noods were cooking I made the Sloppy Joes. You can use a pot or skillet for this. I tried to minimize clean up so I did most of my cooking in my dutch oven.

After my Joes were done I rinsed out my dutch oven and added the leftover ground beef, sausage and garlic to cook the meat for the lasagna. Then you add some more ingredients and it has to simmer for 45 minutes. For this reason you might want to do this after you get your chicken in the oven. Although a time-consuming step I actually didn't mind doing it at this time because it gave me time to assemble my tetrazzini, clean up and organize myself a bit. 

After that meat was cooked and simmered I assembled my lasagna!

Some notes:

If you split the lasagna into 3 pans be sure they're smaller, maybe square pans. I had 3 large, deep, rectangular pans and I didn't have enough ingredients to spread it out to cover 3 large pans. So I'd either just split the recipe into 2 of the larger pans or use 3 smaller pans so you can make your layers alot thicker than I did.

I wrapped my pans a few times each with plastic wrap and then 2 layers of foil. I want them to be as fresh as possible because I'm not sure when we'll actually be eating them. I also double freezer bagged all of my bagged meals for the same reason. I bought name brand supplies to do this just to ensure their freshness.

We don't like bell peppers over here so I left them out of the sloppy joes. So if you want to add those to your recipe be sure to add them to your shopping list!

Be sure to write the cooking instructions on the bag so you don't have to pull the recipe up when it's time to make them. Most require them to be thawed first so I just make a note to myself to move them from the freezer to the fridge the night before I want to cook them. Also, make a note on the bag with suggestions of what to eat with it. For example, you'll probably want buns for the sloppy joes. You'll need to put those on your grocery list the week you want to eat that. It's easy to forget those things when they're not written on the bag.

Time saving tip: At the beginning you may want to chop your vegis/mince your garlic so you can just grab that when it's time to use it. I did my choppin/minicin as needed when I could've knocked it all out at once. Also be sure to organize your meats at the beginning to make sure you have enough per recipe. I bought my ground beef and chicken in bulk so I separated that out first thing.

And here are some pics!

Chicken Tetrazzini


I felt so accomplished (and a little bit dead) when I finally finished and got to take this picture of my 11 completed meals!

There you have it! If you decided to do this please comment and let me know how it goes! I think these are going to be the best ones yet!

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