Last Friday a friend and I got together (along with our 7 children) to prepare freezer meals. It has been on my radar to do this for a long time. With summer in full swing, I am realizing that I don't want to be slaving away in the kitchen. I want to be outside enjoying the nice weather (when it doesn't rain) too. Now I have 8 meals in the freezer, ready to pull out and bake for an easy supper. I'm sorry I don't have pictures to go along with this. I am new to this blogging business and keep forget to take pictures of our activities. Here are my tips for freezer meal marathons:
1. The most important part of mass freezer meal preparation is planning. I first made a list of our meals. Then I made a grand ingredient list. I went through each dish and wrote the ingredients on the grand list. I made tally marks for multiple items. I like to plan and organize, so this was actually fun for me.
2. Pre cook the meat. I figured out exactly how much meat we would need, both cooked and raw. I had her bring the ground beef, already cooked. I made the chicken, already cooked. I simply cooked it in a crock pot then shredded it the day before.
3. Have all the non perishable ingredients, recipes, and tools laid out. One of the difficult parts is having someone else try to figure out your kitchen. So, I had the ingredients and containers laid out in meal groups on the table. For example, there was a tater tot casserole section with 2 containers, the recipe, 2 cans of green beans, 2 cans of cream of mushroom soup, and seasonings. All the refrigerated items for the day were in one area of the refrigerator. I also had all my mixing bowls, spatulas, and measuring cups in the middle of the table ready to go. This handy tip was from my sister Marissa who has done this before.
4. Buy your containers at the dollar store. I got packages of 3 foil 9x9 containers with lids for $1. All in all, we spent $64 to makes 16 good sized meals for a family of 5. I stocked up on chicken when it was $1.89/lb at Fareway. The rest of the ingredients were from Aldi. I love Aldi.
6. Prepare the meals with a friend who has a similar size family. That makes it easy to split the meals if you both need the same size portions. We had a lot of kids running around when we were preparing the meals, but they were better entertained with friends there than if I had done this without visitors. Plus, it was fun to have another adult to chit chat with while we worked.
The meals we made were: rainy day chicken, chicken nuggets, chicken tetrazzini, chicken rice casserole, sweet and sour chicken, tater tot casserole, baked pasta, and meatloaf. It is great to know there are delicious meals just waiting for us in the freezer.