So I've been planning on posting this, but a few people were curious so I figured I'd post it sooner!
Step by Step:
I found my recipes.
I made a pantry/freezer inventory list of things I currently had.
*was a pain in the butt, but worth it if you're looking to save money!
I made out my master shopping list.
I then shopped, prepped and froze.
All total, this process took a week, and I shopped and prepped/froze in one day. I don't recommend it! :) Next time I'll shop one day, and then make the meals the next. My poor pregnant back was yelling in several languages at me. *Even so, I didn't get to the breakfast burritos I'd planned to make, still haven't. Will be making those soon though!
Here's the list of crockpot meals I made the last few days of July:
End of Summer Harvest Soup
Zoe's Vegetarian Chili
Slow Cooker Chicken Curry
Perfectly Pulled Pork
Sweet & Tangy Meatballs
Sausage & Peppers
I've begun my Sept meal planning as you can see!
The bloggers I got these from had already doubled them so we got two freezer bags from each recipe. And each bag gives enough for 4 people or enough for lunch leftovers the next day.
Okay so the first thing was done, gathering my recipes! Next up was to see what I had on hand and make a list of that, so I wouldn't over buy something for a recipe. This took most of a naptime(2hrs), as I was checking dates on canned goods while writing them down. Also checked to see what I had in the freezer already, and planned those into this month.
Messy as all get out, but it makes sense to me!
My makeshift pantry. It's also a bit messy.
Trying to get that organized, and that a whole other post!
After that was finished, I sat down with my recipes, my pantry/freezer lists and a sheet of blank paper. I made categories like, meat, veggies/fruit, canned goods, spices/sauces, dairy, misc. You can do whatever makes sense to you! Oh, and not to forget, but I made a section for utensils, like heavy duty aluminum foil, gallon/quart/pint sized freezer bags, labels, sharpie, and anything else you'd like to use. *disposable tin baking pans for example.
This is actually Sept shopping list, I had already tossed Augusts!
You see the tally marks? As I list each item, I put a tally mark for how many I need,
as I'm going through my recipes. It's easy to do, and makes it so your lists are shorter and neater.
See my sections? I haven't put one on there for the utensils yet,
I don't think I need anything this month.
My tally marks continue to all sections.
I went through all my recipes, one by one and filled in my shopping list with needed ingredients, and the quantity. I double checked at the end, to make sure I got everything!
Voila! I had my lists ready. I went to Costco and Fry's (Krogers) in one day to get everything. Thankfully Jeremiah was SO laid back that I could get a all of it done without him fussing. :)
When I got home, after taking care of his needs and laying him down for a nap, I pulled out ALL the ingredients for my recipes. I also pulled out a chopping board, knife, peeler, my bags, sharpie and music. ;) Gotta have that music.
Now here is where I differed from the blogger I got this idea from. *I don't remember her! I feel so badly. She cut all of her veggies, meats etc in advance. I didn't want too, so I pulled out my first recipe, and pulled all the ingredients apart for that. Then I chopped veggies, poured cans, places meats and then spices into the bags. I tried to divide the recipes up evenly, although I'm sure they aren't perfect! I then squeezed the air out and laid them down flat in the freezer, to make enough room for all the bags.
It's a little messy, as I've been pulling from it daily.
I have a large can of coffee in there too.
But I can put a lot in here, more than I thought!
I moved from recipe to recipe that way, and once I was done, I had 13-14 meals done! *the pulled pork will make numerous meals for us to eat from! Once they all froze, I stacked them up-right in the freezer and admired my fruits...and then rubbed my achy back and sat down, all hot, sweaty and tired.
All in all, I used 1 knife, 1 cutting board, 1 peeler, 1 bowl and 1 pair of gloves to prep 13-14 meals. How awesome is that?!
I have a binder where I keep all of this together, including the recipes.
I've been making notations on those recipes as we eat them.
Like, more veggies, too sweet, no sweet potatoes, etc.
This is where I've been trying to put what we're having,
so hubby knows before work.
I made this up, and then haven't used it.
It's a meal plan, like what sides I have to go with what meals.
I need to rethink this.
Makings for those breakfast burritos I mentioned earlier.
Nevermind the bottles of wine, but those are my cooking supplies. ;)
Well that's it! I also have ideas for Jeremiah to make up, but I suspect those won't be accomplished until later this month.
I've also received a few suggestions(hubby) for Septembers meals, that I've already found recipes for, and can't wait to try them out.
A key to remember is to do what you know works for your family. And you don't have to do a lot at once, as you can just cook small amounts throughout a week or the month even. One day, I cooked up an entire bag of brown rice, and then froze it in portions to heat and eat as needed. This is great, because brown rice takes about an hour to cook, but done this way, it's only a few minutes in the microwave or stove top and presto! Rice for a side.
So tell me, what are your favorite crock pot meals and/or freezer meals?! How do you do it?