Okay so back in September I teased you about my 30 freezer meals, well I wanted to wait until the meals were used before I told you about it. One because what if I told you about this, and then the food was all freezer burnt and gross then I would feel bad. But mainly because when I was done preparing all my meals I was so sick of my kitchen and cooking that the thought of writing about it made me want to run and hide under my bed.
However, after the first week when we had ate a wholesome, delicious, healthy meal every night and my kitchen was still really clean I knew I was on to something. You know when it is about 7:00 pm and you just finally get home from work and you can't wait to relax, and then you get the dinner panic, oh no what am I going to do? Well this time when I would get home late, I would smell dinner walking in the door, because Karst had thrown our dinner in the oven, and not only would it smell good, but the kitchen would still be clean, not even a dish in the sink. That is when I was sold on it.
It was great to know what ingredients was in every meal that we were eating that it wasn't a packaged frozen dinner from a factory that I knew if there was extra sugar or salt. Plus when the lady next door had a baby, when my friend was in a car accident, and when another friend had a new born plus her 16 month old and I could take them over some meals without stress ing out, or even any extra effort. That was so well worth it.
As far as freezer burn, I did not have any. When I froze the meals I made sure I had little to no air in the container and we were totally fine. The only hard thing was remembering to take a meal out of the freezer for the next day.
First of all this was not my idea, my sister Rebecca has done this forever and started me with the book. Dinner is Ready by Deanna Buxton. She teaches you how to prevent freezer burn, what works for the freezer and what you should never try to freeze, and then she gives you lots of recipes. She can tell you how to convert your recipes. Plus step by step how to do your day of cooking. When she says it is a full day and don't try to do anything else, she means it.
Because I am always unrealistic with what I can really do with my time, I was like a whole day 8 hours? Ha she doesn't know me I do so much more than that in a day I am sure I can get more things done. So I went to the salon from 6 am to 2 pm, then I came home and started to cook at 3pm, and I finally walked out of the kitchen at 11pm. I was so tired I just shut the lights off and went to bed, leaving all the dishes and clean up for the morning. So next time I do this, that will be all I do that day.
I'll give you the low down on this but if you are really wanting to do this I suggest buying the book because she explains things so much better then I ever could. First of all you don't actually cook 30 meals you could 15 and double them, well because it is just me and Karst and most of the meals feed 4 to 6 people we just did the standard meals. Most of the meals you put into freezer bags, some into 8x8 containers, but I was able to fit all of the meals in our small freezer, but there was not room for ice-cream. And I would suggest at least your first time having someone on call who can run to the store for you if you underestimated how much cheese you needed, luckily Karst was home and he made a few "emergency" trips for me.
Here is the basic steps, first you pick out 15 recieipes, you have you pick ones that you can cook in the crock post, the stovetop, the oven and the majority you try to do are assembly, where everything is already cooked, you assemble and freeze and then when you bake it it's done. Again I just used her recipes the first time so I could see exactly what needed to happen.
Then you have to do the grocery list, this takes a little time and thinking because you have to figure out exactly how much of everything you are going to need how many pounds of chicken and hamburger, how much vegetables to buy. After making the list, the shopping wasn't too bad.
The night before you try to do all the prep work you can, like cutting up 7 onions at once and 14 stalks of celery, you can also cook the majority of your chicken the night before so you are not waiting. You leave everything you can on your counter so you can just grab it, because believe me when you are at hour seven every extra step to the pantry you feel. You also use two different measuring cups, one for dry and one for wet. She even talks about the best way to do things to reduce the number of dishes you have.
Then the next day you start cooking and cooking and preparing for freezer and slowly that freezer starts to fill, and the sink starts to fill and the counter gets more empty. My dishwasher was running non stop and I still had more than a sink full of dishes, next time I am going to hire someone to just wash my dishes as I go, because that was the hardest part.
One thing she didn't warn me about, and I did need to hear this is that you get a months worth of meals and you have about a months worth of clean up and dishes, but she didn't tell me you would have a months worth of spills. There was spaghetti sauce all over and I was always stopping to clean up my mess. Also I realized I did not not have enough pans to cook this many meals I was always waiting for my soup pan.
I have to say before this I was not a casserole person, I hated casseroles and would never eat them let alone make them, because I thought they all tasted the same, but she had different ones not the rice chicken and cream of mushroom soup, she had a tortilla casserole that was good and so now I have to say not only do I eat casserole's I make them, and it was really good and flavorful!! Not everything is a casserole there are soups, and different meals but the majority of what I did was casseroles.
The meals actually lasted us almost 2 months just with everything that was going on, and we didn't spend more money than we would have in a month, it is just spending it all at once that gives you that sticker shock. And I have to say all of the meals were delicious and we enjoyed them. Next time I will try to incorporate some of our recipes in the mix.
And now I actually can't wait to do it again, and to know that no matter what the day throws at me I have dinner at home waiting for me.