It’s no secret that the Ostmos struggle to put dinner on the table every night. Not in a financial way. (Thank goodness!) But in an “OMG-I-just-got-home-from-work-and-there-are-three-hungry-people-staring-at-me” sort of way. Also, at least a couple nights a week there is somewhere we need to be by 6:30 or 7:00 for extracurricular activities. And the baby needs to be in bed by 7:00-ish. And me, being the tired woman I am, usually throw a frozen pizza in the oven or an Eggo in the toaster.
I pinned a whole bunch of crock pot recipes to my “food” board on Pinterest. Then I started reading about slow cookers and freezing meals and I pinned more recipes. Then I went through what I had pinned and combined it with crock pot recipes I know my family likes and printed a stack of recipes.
From there I made a massive grocery list. Then Sonja and I hit Fareway and my favorite place Aldi to get the cheapest food possible. I think I spent about $250 but that included other household stuff we needed like allergy medicine and beer. You know, the essentials.
When I returned home from my epic shopping trip, (seriously, I’ve never purchased so much meat at one time in my life), I laid out all my recipes I had printed and then sorted the groceries to go with each recipe. My kitchen table looked like this for about 24 hours:
And here’s my counter with all the MEATS and frozen veggies! (They didn’t sit out for 24 hours but I photographed them before putting them in the fridge) And yes, I did buy 18 chicken breasts:
When I finally had time on Saturday afternoon I just went recipe by recipe and made each one and took it to my freezer in the basement. It took me about five hours. My feet were killing me and every single mixing bowl, spatula, and frying pan I own were dirty. I had to (gasp!) wash some dishes by hand because the dishwasher was so full.
I managed to make 13 meals. (I put a crock pot lasagna in for dinner on Saturday night.) Two of the recipes I split into two meals because it looked like a TON of food. So now we’ll see if I can remember to thaw things and start the crock pot before I leave for work.
Here are all the recipes I made:
Cool Ranch Chicken (I’m going to shred it and make it into tacos for dinner tonight.)
Crock Pot Sloppy Joes (I split this into two meals since it used two pounds of beef. My family never eat that much in one meal.)
Crock Pot Stuffed Peppers
Pot Roast (Kevin’s favorite)
Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili (I have made this recipe a bunch of times and we L-O-V-E, love it! I split this into two meals as well because it makes a lot of food.)
From this site I made Savory Pepper Steak and Apple BBQ Pork Tenderloin
Spicy Hamburger Goulash (I don’t love goulash but Kevin and Sonja do. I think I could have split this into two meals as well, it really filled up the freezer bag.)
And finally, (if you’re actually still reading…), from this site I made Slow-Cooker Chicken Broccoli Alfredo and Slow-Cooker Chicken Teryaki (which both recipes say to split it into 2 bags for two meals but I made each into one meal because I didn’t read that part until I was finished. Duh. I guess we’ll have a lot of leftovers on those nights.)
If you’re keeping track, that’s 12 meals. And hopefully leftovers to make it more like 24 meals. I am most definitely not writing this post to let you know how well organized I am and what a kitchen genius I am. In fact, I’m pretty much the opposite. But it’s nice to know that dinner will be mostly made when I get home from work a couple nights a week.
Next time I do this, I will wear shoes! My feet were killing me after cooking and working in the kitchen for so long. I think I will do all my chopping, then all my browning of meats, and then all the opening of cans, etc… next time. I think it might go faster that way. And I will send my family away for the time I need to cook. I love them, but it really slowed me down to help with Mario Kart and snacks and milk and all those things kids need. Even with my husband helping me, the children somehow find me and want me to do things for them. Finally, we have an upright freezer in our basement but all these freezer bags would have fit in the freezer that goes with my side-by-side refrigerator so you do not need an extra deep freeze to do something like this.
Stay warm everyone!