I took on a project the last few weeks that had me questioning my sanity!
I decided to prep/cook dinners for my work days for the upcoming semester. I work Monday - Thursday, so we are talking approximately 64 meals!!
I started by downloading a calendar of the months February - May and then penciled in dinner ideas for each day. After completing two months worth, I then repeated them for the second two months. I tried to use meals that could be cooked ahead and frozen, partially prepped and frozen, or quick and easy to prepare meals.
Next I started buying the items I would need. I was fortunate that the grocery stores were nice enough to put the meats on sale for me :). I had been saving up for this, but it was a stretch on my grocery budget to buy meat for that many meals.
Then I started prepping/cooking. I spread it out over a few days and it went pretty smoothly. I finished a few days ago and my freezer it packed!
Here's my plan I used:
2/01 Asian Pork Tenderloin (CP)
2/02 Enchilada Casserole - I prepped the meat mixture and bagged up all the necessary items in large freezer bags and will assemble prior to cooking.
2/03 Meatball Sandwiches - Will be made from frozen meatballs, topped with cheese and marinara sauce.
2/04 Italian Chicken - This is a 'dump recipe', just dump chicken breasts and Italian dressing in freezer bag and freeze; the chicken will marinate as it thaws.
2/08 Rotisserie Chicken (CP) I've made this several times and it is yummy!
2/10 Black Bean Salsa Chicken (CP)
2/11 Mexican Stuffed Shells
2/15 Korean Tri Tip (CP) I have tried this recipe with ribs, roast, and tri-tip. Will add chilies the day of.
2/16 Pork Chops - An old favorite, bake pork chops w/cream of mushroom soup and french fried onions. Easy but tasty.
2/17 Teriyaki Chicken - Another 'dump' recipe; chicken breasts frozen in teriyaki sauce.
2/18 Chicken w/Salsa & Cheese - Another quick 'n easy recipe, top chicken with a few tablespoons of salsa, sprinkle w/shredded cheese and bake.
2/22 Roast (CP) Top w/cream of mushroom soup and dried onion soup, add two cans of white potatoes and a bag of baby carrots and cook on low all day.
2/23 Mexican Penne
2/24 Ultimate Beef Stroganoff (CP)
2/25 Sue Sue’s Casserole (I'm always surprised by how good this tastes as the ingredients just don't seem appealing to me.)
3/01 Oriental Porkchops
3/02 Chicken Breasts topped with cream of chicken soup & cheese
3/03 Swedish Meatballs over pasta - I adapted this from the recipe found here.
3/04 Chicken Enchilada Casserole - I prepared the meat mixture and will layer the day of.
3/08 Creamy Cheesy Chicken ( CP) This I will just throw together in the morning.
3/09 Buffalo Chicken Spaghetti - I broke one of my cooking 'rules' with this recipe as I have learned from experience never to make ahead meals that I haven't tried first - but I did taste it before freezing and wanted to devour it right there and then!
3/10 CrockPot Layered Beef ‘n Taters (CP) I prepped the meat mixture and will finish in the morning.
3/11 Creamy Paprika Chicken (CP)
3/15 Crockpot Chicken ‘n Stuffing (CP)
3/16 Slow Cooker Italian Chicken (CP)
3/17 Greek Turkey Burgers - Frozen uncooked.
3/18 Chicken Ziti
3/22 Buffalo Shrimp
3/23 Boboli Pizza **
3/24 Polish Sausage Sandwiches **
3/25 Spaghetti **
** I am hoping to replace these last three meals with something else...I ran out of ideas at this point.
And from here on, the recipes repeat:
3/29 Asian Pork Tenderloin
3/30 Enchilada Casserole
3/31 Meatball Sandwiches
4/01 Italian Chicken
4/05 Rotisserie Chicken
4/07 Black Bean Salsa Chicken
4/08 Mexican Stuffed Shells
4/12 Korean Tri Tip
4/13 Pork Chops
4/14 Frozen Entrée from Store
4/15 Chicken w/Salsa & Cheese
4/20 Mexican Penne
4/21 Ultimate Beef Stroganoff
4/22 Sue Sue’s Casserole
4/26 Oriental Porkchops
4/27 Chicken w/Cr of Chicken Soup & Cheese
4/28 Swedish Meatballs over pasta
4/29 Chicken Enchilada Casserole
5/03 Creamy Cheesy Chicken
5/04 Buffalo Chicken Spaghetti
5/05 CrockPot Layered Beef ‘n Taters
5/06 Creamy Paprika Chicken
5/10 Crockpot Chicken ‘n Stuffing
5/11 Slow Cooker Italian Chicken
5/13 Chicken Ziti
5/17 Sue Sue’s Casserole
5/18 Boboli Pizza
5/19 Polish Sausage Sandwiches
5/20 Italian Chicken
5/24 Asian Pork Tenderloin
5/25 Enchilada Casserole
5/26 Meatball Sandwiches
5/27 Rotisserie Chicken
My plan is to make pulling tomorrow's dinner from the freezer part of my evening routine. Lots of these can be thrown in the crockpot or oven frozen, but not all, so if I can get in the habit of pulling them out the night before, I won't have to worry about that.
I will plan our weekend meals on a weekly basis as I have been doing up 'til now and will try to base them on whatever is on sale at the grocery store.
I'm excited to see how much our grocery budget will decrease by doing this.
If you are looking to get into OAMC (once a month cooking) or for a few ideas to try out freezer cooking, check out the following blogs or just google it!
And a great website on crockpot cooking: