Thursday, February 9, 2012

Freezer Meal Planning

I've been trying to plan out this post for awhile. Honestly, I have almost sort of been dreading writing it.

I knew I wanted to take time with it and make sure I gave y'all the best, most complete post I could. And I've been chatting with my twitter girls about my meal planning/freezing plan and like 10 of them have said, "you have to do a post on this!" Here goes:

Let me start by saying, this plan was the best plan for us. I know lots of folks will say not to cook the meat/poultry because it can lose some of it's nutrients. But, I am freak about undercooked food, and I just couldn't bring myself to just put raw stuff in the freezer. So you can adjust this plan to fit your family!

I made 37 meals for two people total cost: $175.00

Sexy freezer picture!

First, I decided on what meals to prepare. If you love spicy carbs, you may want to kiss me on the mouth when it is all said and done! I have linked the recipes sources for y'all.

 My Meals:
(3) Chili
(4) Chicken Spaghetti *this is BTB's fav. So I made an extra! :)

We are terrible with leftovers, so I wanted to find a way to make casseroles and other meals, but have smaller portions. I found 7 inch round aluminum pans in sets of three at the dollar store! Score! I was then able to divide my normal 9x13 recipes into three smaller portions. Every recipe divided up pretty perfect! I was so excited and a little shocked. Then about 3 weeks into our freezer meal plan, BTB yelled from the kitchen, "tiff, I think you found the perfect portions for us. I am always full and we never have leftovers to deal with, good job!" I smiled the rest of the night! Now, the cooking part.
I think this is when I had about 25 made. I was oh so proud of me!

I spent approximately 5 hours in the kitchen making all these. Some freezer meal planners will tell you NOT to do this, but this is what works best for us. You do what you want!

  • I put all the chicken in my huge stockpot and boiled and shredded and reserved the broth for the soup!
  • For the beef, I browned all the ground beef in batches, then separating by pounds and adding the various seasonings as the recipes called for.
  • The turkey meatloaf was all by it's lonesome. I just prepped and threw it in the oven, in the beginning!

As I wrapped each dinner up I made labels of what was inside, cooking directions and suggested sides to go with each meal.

For us, this has saved us so much money and time. Every day when I get home from work, we know what we are eating and even if I am running super late. I am not having to go through a drive thru or spend silly amounts of money at a "curb side to-go" restaurant.

How was I able to only spend $175.00? I shopped at ALDI! The store says that you can complete about 90% of your shopping at their store--and, you totally can! Maybe even 100%. If you haven't visited an ALDI Store, please do! You will not be disappointed. They have not sacrificed quality in their low costs, I promise!

Ok. I think I have covered everything. If I forgot something, or you just have a question, let me know!


Just the Two of US said...

i've got to do some more freezer planning meals too! it would help when coming home from long days at work!

Chelsea said...

I love this idea! I make some of these recipes already, so doing this would be easy. Not sure why I haven't thought to do it.

Ashley said...

Very cool! I'll have to check out some of your recipes! I forget...but I know I asked you this. Were you able to also get fruits, veggies, milk, and breakfast stuff here too? Or was that on top of the $175?

Kim H. said...

Thanks for mentioning this post - I'm going to use these ideas for sure!!

Marie said...

Great post! I'd love to be able to meal plan more and be able to pull something out quickly for days we are busy.

The Lucky Mama said...

WOW I really need to do this Tiffany! Especially with baby #3 almost here.. it would really help out a lot. Thanks for all the info :)

Renee said...

This is such a great idea and thank you for all the links!

Sarah said...

I can't believe you did this many meals!

Crystal said...

Those meals seem yummy and filling!