So for Shanelle and Lauren the others who asked what meals I made on the marathon cooking morning the other month, here is the info for you, finally.
My favorite freezer cooking books have been Don’t Panic, Dinner’s in the Freezer, and Fix, Freeze, Feast. I am picking up Don’t Panic, More Dinner’s in the Freezer from the library this weekend. Really, though, you don’t have to stick to fancy cookbooks or special pinterest recipes. I haven’t had good luck freezing recipes with potatoes well, but most of your “go-to” family recipes are likely freezer friendly. Some people say don’t freeze recipes with milk, cream or cream cheese – we’ve usually done just fine with those. Most soups freeze amazingly well and they’re so easy to double and triple.
And also – if a big cooking morning (which means a big kitchen cleaning afternoon for me) is too much for you – one of the other tricks I like to do is once or twice a week, cook two or three of whatever you’re making that night for dinner. Eat one, freeze the other one (or two). Ta da. Much more manageable than planning a big cooking day.
I usually put each meal in a ziploc, then put that ziploc inside Food Saver bag and sealed it on up. This time I bought super cheap tin pans (18-25 cents) from the restaurant supply store so I could just place each meal in the pan, stick the pan inside a Food Saver bag, and seal it there. On cooking day we cut the bag open and just stick the pan in the oven, then throw the pan away. Sweet.
Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole x3
Chicken Parmigana x3
Cream cheese salsa chicken x 3 (was supposed to be Mariachi chicken rolls but I forgot to buy two ingredients, so made this instead – was just cream cheese and salsa blended, poured over breasts)
Chicken Satay x3
Buttermilk Herb Chicken Breasts x3
Chicken with Pesto Butter x3
Lemon Glazed Chicken Breasts x3
Loaded Baked Potato Soup x3 (was advertised as a freezer recipe but didn’t do great in the freezer – needed a bunch of work to make good the next day, so I won’t link until I figure out a better freezer version)
This manicotti is another of our freezer faves. I’ve been bad at adding the new recipes we’ve tried and loved; should get back in the habit again.
We ended up with 23 frozen meals for later (ate one of the potato soups that night). As for cost? I don’t know. I bought all the chicken the night before, on sale for $1.79/lb for the boneless skinless breasts. I spent about $75 on the chicken alone. I tried adding everything together but am guessing – I feel safe saying it was all well under $125 for 24 meals, which averages what…about $5/meal?. Some things like cream cheese were on sale for $1/8 oz, which is a huge sale and really helped – the potato soup and salsa chicken used a bunch of that.