Saturday, September 27, 2014

Not Your Typical Once a Month Freezer Meals Part 2

So now that I shared about how  and where I get most of my supplies for freezer meals

I had someone come in and help with cleaning, babysitting and doing meals for me. It worked for a little while, but I soon felt like I didn't need weekly help. But I still  needed some thing to make life more manageable.

With school starting back up, health issues acting up, and babysitting again, I really didn't have the brain power each day that I needed to think up and prepare meals.

After much prayer and consideration, I posted on facebook asking if anyone was interested in making freezer meals for me, in their home with my supplies.

So several weeks later a fb friend, M.R. messaged me asking if I still needed meals done... after a bit of back and forth we worked out the details and she started the first batch of freezer meals.

We are now on a monthly schedule. She picks up all the supplies that I have gathered and takes them back to her house, where over a week or two she preps the meals for me.

So as you can tell, the actual prep work is several stages. This is not an easy thing and takes planning and thinking far in advance in order to do it as economically as possible.

The first round of meals, I was behind in my schedule and ended up buying more then I wanted to. Therefore my meals were a good bit more expensive.

So this is what each month's prep will look like:

I start by going through my freezers, assessing my home canned shelves and my bulk items. I prefer to work with the items I already have, so as to buy as little as possible.

I have chicken and turkey in my freezer from last year's meat sale. It is not the best meat but works great in  one dish meals. I also had just a little bit of venison left in the bottom of my freezer.
I also had a good bit of rice lasagna and rice pasta from BB's (my favorite bent and dent store) .
I  buy rice in 20 lb bags, so always have rice on hand for meals.

So now I was ready to look at recipes. I have a collection of amish cookbooks. I have probably 15 of them!! I find that many of these cookbooks have recipes that use items I often have on hand, are meant to feed large families with growing boys and are meant to be budget friendly.

I try to have similar recipes and recipes with only a few ingredients.

 I also like to have the dishes include, meat, starch and veggie, so then we have a complete meal in one dish. 

I also use pinterest... I love pinterest for gluten free options.

Now is the not so fun part. I start by copying or printing out the recipes and placing them in plastic sleeves for easy access.  I try to find 4-5 recipes and have her make 4-5 meals of each.

I, then need to assess what each dish needs and how much. I generally start 2 lists, one for the grocery store and one for the basement. I go through each recipe first and write down each item needed on the correct list. Then I go back and figure out how much I need of each item.  This can be tricky since I buy things in bulk and having to figure out, sometimes 10x the recipe can be hard.

I go grocery shopping with my list. I know which little stores have the best prices and try to find the cheapest options. I try to find ways to buy things in bulk as much as possible which really saves on the costs.

The day before pick up day, I take my lists and make new ones. I now make a freezer/cold food list and a ready to go list. All the items on the "ready to go" list are placed in a  box ready to go. The list of freezer/cold foods goes into a cooler right before M.R arrives to pick up supplies.

I also supply foil pans, ziplock bags, and other freezer containers. I like to have some containers for the crockpot and some that I can pull out, thaw out and pop right into the oven.

M. R picks up each month's worth of supplies and a week or two later returns with a month's worth of freezer meals!

Look for Post #3 for recipes. (Nothing fancy or particularly healthy, but good, belly filling foods!

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