- I mentioned that I joined a freezer meal co-op. Basically a friend emailed me and a few other ladies linking this site and the idea that we would each prepare 2 recipes enough for the five families and then swap. The plan was to meet together and prep meals together. I, however, did our once-a-month grocery shop a week and a half earlier and didn't want the fresh ingredients to go bad, so we prepped and froze our recipes ahead of time. I went and pitched in with the vegetable cutting for the other ladies. This co-op was the catalyst for my menu plan. I had wanted to try freezer meals and this was just a good way to "guarantee" that I'd actually do it.
- I spent a day creating a meal plan and grocery list. I have a Pinterest board just for freezer/slow cooker meals and I found a few new recipes that I wanted to try. We have our grocery budget in the middle of the month, so I made my plan from February 16 - March 15. I do not have a freezer meal for every single day, we like some simple meals like waffles or grilled cheese sandwiches and soup, so I left a few days for simple dinner nights.
- David, Micah and I went grocery shopping. My list was very detailed and we stuck to the list. By having a meal plan there is no temptation to buy things you don't need or the need to guess. My grocery list wasn't strictly for the meal plan, but also included lunch supplies, breakfast and other incidentals. I don't plan 3 meals a day for everyday, breakfast and lunch are simply decided on the spot. My littles prefer certain staples and we tend to stick to those things.
- When we came home with all the groceries, we threw everything in the fridge/cupboards to be dealt with the next day.
- Naptime proved enough time to prep the 10 meals that were part of the co-op plus separate all the frozen meat, cut all the vegetables, make supper and cook some chicken for a couple of casseroles. Surprisingly enough, there wasn't even that much mess.
- Naptime the next day gave us enough time to cook the hamburger and prep 7 casseroles, 2 tinfoil meals, cook supper, soak enough beans for 4 more recipes and freeze the rest of the cut vegetables to use later. 22 meals in two days. It felt pretty amazing, I can tell you.
- In the end we had enough ingredients to make 3 extra meals, great for the unexpected!
- The cooking night for our little co-op was great fun (I may not like cooking, but hanging with my friends I really enjoy). It was a bit surprising how heavy all those freezer meals ended being.
- Discovered that I also REALLY enjoyed cooking with my David. What a great couple of afternoons I got to spend working with him.
|Girls, why didn't you tell me I had my hat brim flipped up all night... what a dorky looking thing that is!|
Are you interested in what we cooked? Here's the list of the co-op meals:
- Jenny's Chili (no recipe to link, it's her own recipe and I am really looking forward to trying it!)
- Sweet & Sour Farmer's Sausage and Lemon Basil Carrots
- Chicken Cacciatore
- Hearty Beef Stew
- BBQ Spareribs
- Lemon Dijon Chicken
- Broccoli Chicken Alfredo
- Black Bean Taco Soup
- Thai Chicken Curry (From the Mama & Baby Love e-cookbook)
- Beef Stroganoff
And here's the list of meals we cooked at home:
- (3) Mexican Lasagna (from the I (Heart) Alberta Beef cookbook
- (2) Layered Chicken Enchiladas (made with homemade cooking creme)
- (2) Rachel's Casserole
- Easy Chicken and Stuffing (made with homemade cream of chicken soup)
- Crockpot Lasagna
- (4) Broccoli and Chicken Foil Packets
Here are the meals I have planned to cook on the day of the meal:
- Tacos (though I grated and froze the cheese)
- Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and Soup
- Pulled Pork Sandwiches
- Fish & Chips
- Pan Scrambler (My David makes the best scrambler!)
Some of the best benefits of once a month cooking...
- little to no clean-up daily
- little to no prep at the "crazy" hour
- so much less time needed in the kitchen
- fewer daily dishes
- no stressful "what's for dinner?" moments
- take-out is a whole lot less tempting when we have a plan and meal ready to go!
- I only have to grocery shop once a month!
Did I mention that I'm sold on the idea? S-O-L-D SOLD!
My friend, Jen, left a comment on my last post about her system... great ideas! Go check it out.