Freezer Cooking Day: Official menu + planning ideas

by Melody on May 31, 2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are you ready to start the planning process for our big Freezer Cooking Day Extravaganza?  I was truly overwhelmed by the response to this idea and I’m so excited for all of you to follow along with me!

A quick recap.

For the next 3-4 weeks, I will be posting a menu, ingredient list, planning and preparation ideas and (hopefully) answering your questions along the way to get us ready for our big Freezer Cooking Day towards the end of June.

My friend Sarah and I have decided to cook together and we chose Wednesday the 29th of June.  We would love for you all to cook along with us on the same day, but I know that probably won’t be a possibility for some.  The purpose of this series is to give you the tools and information you need to cook on whatever day you choose.

Tips on planning your day:

  • Between Sarah and I, we have four kids under the age of three.  There is NO way we would ever be able to focus on our cooking and prep, feed our children and get them down for naps and still have the house standing.  We arranged our day around her mom’s schedule and she is going to come and help out with the kids.  If you have young kids at home, I highly suggest hiring a babysitter!  If it’s not possible to find someone who can dedicate themselves to watching the kids, maybe join up with a few friends for your cooking day and trade off duties as the day goes on.
  • Be as organized as possible.  I will do my best to give you all the tools you need, including a timeline for prep and cooking for the day of, but double and triple check your ingredient list before you get started.  You will have enough to do without running to the store for any last-minute items.
  • Don’t take on more than you think you can handle.  My menu plan is fairly basic and planned around similar ingredients, but if you feel like it’s too much for you, don’t do it all!  Start with just two or three recipes.  If this series is successful, I’ll definitely plan another and you can jump in with both feet next time.
  • I personally am going to add $40 to our grocery budget this month, dedicated to the Freezer Cooking Day ingredients.  I’ll do my best to pick up all my items on sale/with coupons over the next few weeks, but anything left on my list in the few days before, I will just grab at Walmart or Winco.  The reason I am adding a little to the budget (you do not have to do this!), is so I don’t feel stressed out that I am “blowing” our budget for something that will help save us money next month.

The official Freezer Cooking Day Extravaganza menu plan:

I will be making two of each meal, but of course feel free to do as many (or as little) as you’d like.  Don’t feel obligated to make every recipe either.  I tried to choose simple recipes based around what most of us have in our pantry and can be adapted for meat preference (ground beef, pork or turkey should work fine in most of the recipes).

CHICKEN

BEEF

  • Spaghetti sauce – Will finish in crock pot, but you can make on stove top.  I like to call this semi-homemade pasta sauce, as it still uses some canned ingredients for ease.  This was given to me by a gal I went to college with, who patiently attempted to teach me how to cook.  I hope you’re reading Marney!

OTHER RECIPES

The official ingredient list will be up in a few days.

Please leave a comment if you have any questions or suggestions.  I would also love to hear your tips on freezer cooking if you have done it before.  Anything to help streamline the process will be much appreciated!

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Shannon May 31, 2011 at 9:41 pm

Here is a simple Enchilada recipe and it is Gluten Free for all those needing Gluten Free meals. Super easy and quick. I always double or triple the recipe for my hungry teenagers.

Cheesey Chicken Enchiladas
Serves 4

2 cups (16 ounces) La Victoria Red Chile Enchilada Sauce
8 ounces shredded cheese, such as Monterey Jack
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
8 corn tortillas
Chopped white onion and cilantro for garnish

Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Spread ¼ cup of the Sauce over the bottom of an 11- x 7-inch baking dish. Mix 1/2 of the cheese with the chicken in a bowl.
Wrap the tortillas in microwave-safe plastic wrap. Microwave on high for 1 minute, just until softened. Fill each warm tortilla with 1/8 of the cheese-chicken mixture, roll up and place in prepared dish.
Completely cover filled tortillas with remaining sauce and remaining cheese. Bake until bubbly and browned, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with onion and cilantro and serve.

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Angie May 31, 2011 at 9:51 pm

I’m so excited to cook along with you all. I have been a novice freezer cook: making a double batch of whatever I am making and freezing the second helping for later. But I only have a few go-to freezer recipes. I make chicken enchilladas, beef enchilladas (both of which I layer instead of rolling each tortilla- who has the time?), chicken divan, beef roast, pork roast, and turkey meatloaf. Just this weekend (Memorial day) because hubby was home to watch the little one, I browned 5 lbs of burger and froze in individual pound packs, baked 2 whole chickens, deboned and froze in individual packs, and made 4 chicken divan casseroles. Love having a freezer full of yummy homemade food to feed those whom I love and cherish the most on this earth.

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Melody June 1, 2011 at 4:45 am

You don’t sound like a novice to me, nice work!

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Sara May 31, 2011 at 9:53 pm

I have made the White Chicken Chili you have posted on here a few times. We love it and it’s so easy to double and freeze for later!

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Miss Jay June 1, 2011 at 5:12 am

Although I love the idea, I don’t think this month is the right one for me to do a whole freezer meal day. However, I am going to set aside a couple hours 1 day and brown some ground beef and cube some chicken to cook and freeze. When I am in a time pinch, having the meat already cooked can be a lifesaver! Plus sometimes just the thought of cutting up raw chicken can be enough to make me decide we’re having tacos again.

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Dani June 5, 2011 at 5:30 am

That is my chicken chili recipe – the one I made for Sara. Yum. How did I not know you were doing this? I will be out of town that day but I may try it in July. I have always wanted to try PWs chicken spaghetti.

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Cassie June 8, 2011 at 3:28 am

This is great! I won’t be able to cook the same day you guys are but it has given me some great ideas! Due to freezer space, when I make enchiladas I usually just make extra of the filling and freeze that for later so that may be an idea for some!

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Catherine June 22, 2011 at 2:24 pm

Is there a link to your spaghetti sauce recipe?

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Melody June 22, 2011 at 2:41 pm

I wrote it out in this post, it’s an old handwritten recipe for “semi-homemade” sauce. :)

http://www.beautifulfrugallife.com/2011/06/freezer-cooking-day-official-ingredient-list/

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mona August 31, 2011 at 8:07 am

Not sure if u will see this and this may be a dumb question but is the ingredient list based on doubling each recipe??

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Melody August 31, 2011 at 1:25 pm

Not a dumb question at all! The list is based on doubling the recipes, except for the cheese enchiladas (these are already doubled in the original recipe). Please let me know if you have any more questions!

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mona September 1, 2011 at 12:47 pm

Thanks for the reply!! Just got done printing out all the recipes so I could see how it all lines up with ingredients I already have. I was wondering if you have suggestions as to how many people this makes sense to do with? I have a bunch of friends who are interested but doesn’t seem to make sense for 5 of us to cook at once, my kitchen is NOT that big. :) Is it better to pair off and just do two people at a time?

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Melody September 1, 2011 at 2:09 pm

My friend Sarah and I did it together and that seemed to work great. There isn’t a ton of prep for the ingredients, but we tried to have some ahead of time in our own kitchens to save room.

You could try and split up all the prep work (chopping/dicing/shredding, etc) among all your friends and then you could assemble together. Or you could assign a few meals to each group of two or three people and they could make enough for the rest of the group as well? It’s kind of trial and error the first time you do it. I honestly think the more people you get in the kitchen at once, the less you get done. :)

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