Having three kids in sports now, I’m finding myself busier and busier. I have many friends that are often posting on Facebook about “freezer cooking” or “once a month cooking”, so I figured why not give it a try. I’m getting a little tired of the same old stuff for dinner (mostly because I didn’t plan ahead and we have to throw together a quick meal), we have got to trim our food bill and I really hate to cook.
I spent one Friday evening and one Saturday morning planning out two weeks worth of meals. I wanted to keep some of our usuals, toss in a few things we’ve tried and liked and try a new thing or two. It was exhausting. My method: an excel sheet. Each line has a date, if there’s an activity that evening, I note it on there and then I list out the proposed meal. This way I know I have enough crockpot/easy meals for the evenings we’ll be rushing out the door.
True to form, I didn’t stick to the schedule LOL Now, I had no intentions of sticking to my “this is dinner on this day” plan, but I managed to take 14 meals and stretch it to 21+ days 🙂 We had a few nights of leftovers, two nights of family visiting and a few nights of “I’m really in the mood for ___”.
Now for the good stuff, what did I fix?! Well, being gluten free I didn’t know where to begin. I hopped over to my favorite crockpot resource and what did I find? Slow Cooker TV Dinners. There she is blogging about exactly what I want to do with some of her recipes. Better yet, some of our likes are on her list! Then my wonderful friend postes a link to a Burrito Pie recipe that her family liked. After reading the reviews and not quite sure if it would freeze, I found another recipe (see below) that I tried and we loved! Another resource that I found, but did not use this month is Onceamonthmom.com who happens to have a gluten free section.
Our dinners: Burgers (Bubba burgers, no bread) and fries; Peanut Butter Pork, rice, veggie; cream cheese chicken, pasta, salad; bangers, mash, spinach; pasta, marinara sauce; chili, cornbread; ham, beans, broccoli/cheese; meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green beans; sausage, rice, beans; burrito pie; tacos; pesto fish, rice, asparagus; honey garlic chicken, black beans, mixed veggies; creamy corn & spinach enchiladas; wings, fries, veggie. The italicized items were all prepared and frozen ahead of time. I will start making large batches of mashed potatoes and freezing them now. It’s so easy and so much faster than preparing them for a meal. Most of these recipes can be found on Stephanie O’Dea’s site Crockpot 365
- 1 pound ground beef
- ½ medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 can Ranch Style Beans
- ½ bottle of Taco Sauce (I used a 16ox bottle of Ortega medium)
- ½ can diced tomatoes
- 1 can black olives (use sliced or just pass the can through the food processor and mutilate them like I did)
- Flour Tortillas (I useda bout 6 large brown rice tortillas, no flour here)
- Shredded cheese
- Cook the beef and onion until meat is cooked. Add garlic, cook for about a minute. Drain if desired (I've learned I prefer the organic ground beef at Costco, it seems to not need drained).
- Stir in beans, taco sauce, tomatoes and olives.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about 20 or so minutes.
- Now, pretend you're making lasagna starting with meat mixture on the bottom, tortilla and then cheese. I was able to do three layers.
- Cover and bake at 350 for 20 minutes, then 10-15 minutes uncovered.
- Or, Freeze it now and bake it later. Thaw in refrigerator overnight. Remove 30 minutes before baking. Bake covered at 350 for 25 minutes and then uncovered for 10-15 minutes.
Ranch Style Beans. If you’ve never had them, you are missing out! I can’t tell you how happy I am to be back in Texas with my Ranch Style Beans. When I was pregnant with my second child in Maine, I had my brother pack some in his suitcase to bring to me! Shortly before leaving Maryland, I found some over in Virginia at Harris Teeter. I’m not sure what I would sub in this recipe, reviews say that refried beans are just mushy. I did find this link that might be helpful if you want to attempt to make your own http://homesicktexan.blogspot.com/2010/03/ranch-style-beans-recipe.html