In January, I took on a somewhat crazy project of planning/cooking/prepping our weekday meals for the four month period of February – May.
I wasn’t sure if I was going slightly crazy as I purchased all of the food needed. Yikes. But over several days, I surged forward and filled my brand new freezer with approximately 70 meals. I planned out a calendar with meals for every Monday – Thursday (my work days) and each weekend I pulled out that week’s dinners.
I have to say it was a huge success! There were days when I was so tired and had no desire to cook dinner. How wonderful it was to know that dinner was either ready to pop into the oven or already in my crockpot.
That being said, I have decided to do it again! I work for a small community college, so my busy work times are during the Fall and Spring semesters. September will begin the Fall 2010 semester and I want to be prepared for it so I have been planning and cooking.
I am about half way through and I believe that the hardest part is done. Here’s my progress so far:
Safeway had whole chickens on sale last week for .79/lb. This is about the lowest they go, so I picked up five of those babies. One was for Sunday’s dinner, so I threw it into the crockpot with some random seasonings. The other four were to be cooked up for shredded chicken for various meals. Sunday night I threw all four into my nesco roaster (I don’t use my roaster very often, but I sure am glad I have it for projects like this one). I slow cooked them all night and Monday morning I separated the cooked chicken from the broth and threw it all in the fridge. And I proceeded to ignore it all day. :)
Instead I went to Safeway Monday and bought four more chickens. My husband began to wonder if the eggs were hatching in the fridge.
Tuesday, I pulled out the cooked chicken and spent a few hours separating meat from bone, skin, and all the other gross stuff one gets from a whole cooked chicken. This was/is my least favorite part of freezer cooking, but once it was done, I had about 24 cups of cooked chicken! All ready to assemble for the freezer.
Then I took the other four whole chickens, skinned them and rubbed them down with the spice mix I use for Easy Crockpot Rotisserie Chicken. They went straight to the freezer. I’ve found this chicken is great for those times you want to take a meal to a family…I plop one in my crockpot and deliver it, crockpot and all, to the family and they have a nice cooked chicken ready to eat in a few hours. I’ve been known to throw the chicken into the crockpot frozen and it still comes out wonderful.
With the shredded chicken meat, I assembled the following meals over the next few days (two of each):
Buffalo Chicken Spaghetti
Chicken Tortilla Casserole
Oops, I forgot to mention that Saturday I also made up a ton of meatballs. I ended up with six meals worth of meatballs. We will use them for Meatball Sandwiches, Swedish Meatballs, and maybe pasta w/meatballs.
Back to the store I went on Wednesday, ‘cos they now have boneless/skinless chicken breasts on sale for 1.88/lb. I absolutely love that the sales are matching up with my cooking plan! I bought a ton of these and have put up the following:
Stuffed Buffalo Chicken
Garlic Dijon Chicken
Honey & Soy Chicken
Lemon Garlic Chicken
I ran out of chicken so I need to run back and pick up four more packages to finish up the following:
Chicken & Beef Fajitas
Crockpot Chicken ‘n Stuffing
Rice & Chicken Bake
And that will finish up the Chicken part of my meal plans….next I’ll move on to the pork and beef. Looking at what I have left, the chicken was definitely the hardest part, so I should finish up next week and will have meals ready to get us through ‘til Christmas time! Wow, I am so excited to be getting this done!