Sunday, July 14, 2013

My Freezer Meal Journey: Month #1

:awkward wave: hi, I am back!
Whew can I just say, it's been crazy?! In the last 3 months this has been the gameplan:
move everything from our storage unit in ID to the storage unit next to our house in WA (24 hour roundtrip)
pack up and move everything from where we were staying in WA to our storage unit (8 hour roundtrip and many days of work)
Stay with family in Boise for 1 1/2 weeks while our house was getting finished (3 different houses in 10 days)
Move into our BEAUTIFUL, new house (WE ARE HOME OWNERS! I am in love with our house) and unpack/get organized/decorate (way too long)
and and enjoy the beautiful summer until my hubby starts medical school in 3 1/2 weeks (way too soon)

So yeah, it's been crazy. Let's just say, I am done moving for the next couple years...

Now that we are caught up with the ultra-fast update, enough about the last few months (although I feel like writing a post about some thoughts on my adjustment to having 3 kids in 3 years, so maybe that is next). A couple months ago, I was thinking about the upcoming...trial...ahem, time of medical school and my fate as a school induced single mom. I came to the conclusion that dinner time, while I love to cook for my family, is the most stressful time of day and sets the tone for the next day (if it is too crazy and I don't have the energy to clean the whole house before bed like I normally do, I wake up behind, and that is no bueno). So if I could change that time of day and not make it stressful, it would make the entire day better! While mindlessly searching studying pinterest one day, I found the solution to my problem! Freezer meals! You do the prep for as many meals as you can in one session and plop them in the freezer so on the night you want to eat them, all you have to do is thaw them and put them either in the crock pot or oven...and that's it! I still get to cook healthy food for my family (one of my passions) but I also don't have awful nights of kids screaming at my feet while I am trying to frantically cook them something for dinner (doesn't happen all the time, but when it does, its no fun)! Heaven sent answer! So I did a lot of research, complied enough recipes for 9 months of freezer meals (no joke) and joined the craze! 

Yesterday I did a test run to get out all the kinks before school starts. I doubled 5 meals (because that is all we will need for the rest of the months with vacations etc) and ended up with 10 huge meals! I made:

Here are my thoughts:
--Plan for several hours of uninterrupted time! I tried to start mine in the afternoon and because of constant kid interruptions, I finished at 8:30pm! And that was with my hubby focusing all of his energy into helping with the kids so I could cook! Next time I am going to start as soon as my kids go to bed.
--Except your kitchen to be COMPLETELY destroyed. And all your cooking utensils and bowls to be used. It will be totally worth it in the end (you may have to repeat that over and over again while you do it)
--Start with a clean kitchen and all your bowls/cooking utensils clean and ready
--Write all the cooking instructions and the name of the recipe on the freezer bag before you start and have them organized
--Have water and snacks near by. You will get thirsty and hungry!
--Make a list of all the things you need to chop, thaw and cook (like the chicken breasts) so you can do them all at one time (I had Quinoa cooking, chicken breasts in the crock pot, chicken breasts thawing and I was chopping vegetables all at the same time).
--Before you start, take EVERYTHING out you will need. This helps you realize if you need to get something else before you are too far in to leave.
--Have bowls for each chopped vegetable you will need and organize them according to meal. Keep them together or you will forget what they are for! Basically just stay organized or it won't work!
--Multi-task! If you don't have several meals going at once, it will take even longer.

My goal is to do 1 cooking session a month and make 21 meals (either 7 tripled or 11 doubled) which will allow us 1 day a week to cook like normal and 1 day a week for leftovers. I want to document my "journey" of having this be my main way of preparing our dinners. The successes and the failures! I am sure we are bound to find gross recipes, things that don't freeze well and moments where all the work is worth it! So follow along for the ride! O and I am back on the blog again! No more 3 month + absences until after the birth of our next baby ;) 

...still can't believe that this crazy wonderful morning was almost 3 1/2 months ago! Time goes too fast...
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