Monday, February 8, 2016

Filling the Freezer

When it was all said and done, I had cooked two lasagnas, a double batch of chili, two meatloafs, 18 meatballs, a dozen breakfast burritos, a whole chicken, a crock of slow cooker chicken stock, Italian orzo soup, chicken noodle soup (made with aforementioned chicken and stock) and a giant pan of Thin Mint brownies.

Of course, when I set out to plan my meals for the week, I never intended to get my cooking out of the way in a day. I was just hoping to have time to make lasagna after a Saturday afternoon 5K (news flash: I didn't).

But in some weird mimosa-driven frenzy, I did not only that but I coked for what I can only assume is the entire month.

Now let's back up for a hot minute. With a 5K in the afternoon and the plan to make it a long run sandwich, I had the morning free to clean up around the house and grocery shop. I usually am only able to get the most pressing accomplished before noon when I'm logging higher mileage. I was prepared to take the boys with me to the store but Mark offered to keep his Saturday morning the same – spearhead cleaning efforts and then head to the Y at 9 a.m. for his workout. The boys could go with as there is free childcare.

Can anyone guess what I figured out next?

I could go to the grocery by myself. I could roam the aisles ALONE. And though both of the kids are fairly well behaved, it is much more relaxing to not have to soothe a kid who is fussy or reroute to go to the bathroom because, inevitably, one always has to poop in the half-hour we are there.

The opportunity to get the shopping done solo was even more appreciated as it afforded me the chance to go to the meat market alone. My favorite butcher recently built and opened a new store (right next to the old one), and I was hot to check it out. I was hoping the more spacious building would keep the things that I loved (cheap day-old bread) and allow for improvements. Also, I thought there might be some good deals.

And there you have it – how I ended up with the ingredients to cook all that food. The store had a 10-pound bag of lean ground beef on sale for $39. While the price doesn't seem great at the start, the price per pound was $3.90 for fresh, fairly local beef and that's about what I pay for conventional meat on manager's special.

I grabbed a bag (along with three loaves of bread, six cartons of egg whites {99 cents each}, a pound of smoked ham and a pound of Colby cheese). I assumed that I would portion it out in one- or two-pound bags but then the mimosas.

Ah, I love mimosas.

I started with the lasagna – one for us and one for a family member who just had surgery. I had an organic chicken bought on manager's special with a coupon that needed cooked, so I threw that in the slow cooker. As I grabbed bay leafs, I realized that I had enough tomato sauce for chili so I got started on that ... and on and on and on.

When I finished, I called my grandma because when one does something like this it is imperative to tell someone and brag. She asked what I was going to do with all of it.

"The freezer. Duh," I said. "And not cook for a month."

Here's how the menu will play out:

Note: I also had leftover shredded chicken from the whole bird I cooked in the slow cooker and pre-portioned cooked pork from a shoulder I roasted last week. I don't have any meals planned for Sundays, and I will likely prepare a fish dish to lighten up the week.

Week 1

Monday: Lasagna
Tuesday: Italian orzo soup
Wednesday: Cuban sandwiches (made with the smoked ham from butcher and pork shoulder)
Thursday: In laws
Saturday: Chili

Week 2

Monday: Meatloaf
Tuesday: Chicken Noodle soup
Wednesday: Pulled pork
Thursday: In laws
Saturday: Lasagna

Week 3

Monday: Pulled chicken sandwiches
Tuesday: Baked Meatballs with Zoodles/Noodles
Wednesday: Burgers (I froze patties with the last pound of the beef)
Thursday: In laws
Saturday: Chili-Loaded Sweet Potatoes

Week 4

Monday: Veggie Pizza Pockets (homemade dough ... already in the freezer)
Tuesday: Meatloaf
Wednesday: Grilled cheese with leftover soup
Thursday: In laws

Has anyone ever prepped like this? I'm really interested to see how the on the goes – not just in terms of easing the nightly hustle but the budget, as well. I went over by about $20 but think I'll recoup that in just a week.


  1. I need you to come meal prep your way.....for me ;) Totally awesome though Kim!!

  2. Nice! I haven't ever prepped to that extent but have done a few freezer meal parties. I also had a friend over about a month ago to get some meals prepared for her so she didn't have to worry about cooking when their baby way born. Totally impressed. I need to get that organized! I'd love not to HAVE to cook for a month.