I have been shopping once a week ever since my husband and I got married, three years ago. With three kids in the house and multiple other obligations I started wondering if there was an easy way to cut back on trips to the store. Walmart with two kids under two is NOT the most fun experience I can think of! So from my idea I developed a plan. I reorganized my pantry (pictured in last week's post) to include areas for four weeks of recipe ingredients. Last month was my first official month on my new plan. I selected random recipes that looked good, made a list, and went shopping. Some meals were prepped and frozen, others the ingredients just put away. It was a fantastic month, and --BONUS-- we shaved about $150 off our monthly budget by not being at the store every week picking up unnecessary items!
This month, I am focusing completely on crock pot cooking. All of the meals that will be used this month will be prepped, put into freezer bags, and frozen until the night before I plan to cook them. Most of these are our adapted versions of recipes I have found all over the place and changed to suit our needs. All of the recipes that will be used here make two meals for a family of four unless otherwise noted.
Step 1: Make a list of meals
List of Meals:
"YakaYaki" Chicken (as Silas says)
Stew's Stew (My husband's name is Stewart)
Sausage 'n' Peppers
Baby Steps Beef Tips
Pot Roast....just Pot Roast
Pepper Steak (the hubby's favorite)
Valencia Paella (from Momma and Baby Love's ecookbook)
Au Ju Hungry?
Print a copy of the recipes here.
Each recipe makes two separate meals. I prep these and freeze them all in one day. I start by chopping veggies and adding them to their corresponding bags. Then, add your meat. Next add your other ingredients. Squeeze out any extra air and lay flat to freeze.
When you are ready to use the meal, just set them out the night before to thaw and throw them in the crock pot!
Either use fresh meat to freeze or keep your meat frozen during the prep. Never thaw and refreeze raw meat.
Step 2: Make a grocery list
I'm going to let you make your own grocery list from the menus because you may not want to use all of my recipes at once or you may have some items already at your house like I did.
Step 3: Label Your Bags
Put the name of the dish on your bag along with prep instructions and serving suggestions. I have included these on my recipe cards. I write on the bag the name and what I have listed under Cooking Directions.
Step 4: Chop All Vegetables
Dice, chop, slice, mince, strip, all veggies and add them to their corresponding bags.
Step 5: Add Meats
If the recipe calls for browned meat, I recommend browning it before step 4 so it can cool enough to not melt the bag. Otherwise, toss all your meats into their corresponding bags.
|I made hubby do it :o)|
Step 6: Add all other ingredients
Throw in any seasonings, sauces, or herbs the recipe calls for. Make sure you don't throw in things that are to be added the day of cooking.
|I had a few bags that wouldn't seal, so I threw the recipe over into these awesome containers|
Step 7: Let out air, seal, lay flat to freeze
Step 8: Sit back, relax, and know that dinner is only a crockpot away.....