Monday, October 3, 2011

Freezer Cooking ~ Part 1

We here in the "Bob's" household has been tracking our food spending the past 2 months. It was started for 2 reasons:

1. To get an idea of what our food budget should be in our new city.
2. Give us the wake up call that we often spend too much money on food when there are just 2 mouths to feed.

It has been working. I am not going to give out numbers or anything but we have had some good conversations figuring out ways to cut back on groceries, portion sizes, how often we eat out, and other changes we can make.

Now before we really start talking about the changes, we should talk about our "eating out" habits. Like many of you know, we are social beings. We like to meet people. We like to make friends. Right now we are establishing our social circles in our new city. We are feeling people out. We are seeing if we like them and we're weeding out "the crazies." Obviously we are not going to invite complete strangers to our home until we have met and vetted them. This means we have to meet people in public places and this often revolves around food. Hence our pretty big "eating out" bill the past few months (however we have become excellent deal finders for restaurants). Hopefully that will decline in the coming months as we have been making friends and starting to have people over for meals rather than always going out to eat.

Okay enough of that, onto the good stuff!

Our plan for the month of October is to pick 6 or 7 meals, make them all at the same time and then freeze them in individual sized containers so that we have meals ready to go throughout the month. We wanted a variety so that we weren't sick of eating the same thing for 5 meals in a row. We have done a similar concept in the past but we did not make such the variety. So we did a BIG grocery shopping trip Friday after Dr. Bob got out of work and then we got to work.

Part 1 took part Friday night and we made the following:

Recipe #1: Southwest Rollups. I got this recipe from Money Saving Mom who does this same concept of cooking for the freezer. She has 3 little ones so she spreads the cooking out where she tries to do an hour of cooking a day where it is purposely made for future meals. Plus her blog has a team that helps comb the web for daily deals, coupons, etc. Check her out if you have the chance.

I prepped 14 roll ups with refried beans, chicken (from a roasted chicken found in my deli section), salsa, and cheese. Super EASY recipe. I will absolutely make this recipe again however I may add a bit more chicken next time. I only used 2 cups because that is all I had left after snacking on some of it before I got started (oops! I was starving though and dinner wasn't ready yet!). Next time I will make sure to have the recommended 4 cups.
I will also remember to warm the wraps in the microwave briefly so it is easier to roll them up and I won't end up with 2 busting open (hence the ones in the container).
And I am even able to be a bit "greener" and reuse my bags that the wraps originally came in.
Recipe #2: Chicken and Rice Soup. Dr. Bob developed this recipe by taking a few recipes and melding them altogether. Here is his "off the cuff" recipe (Megg, I know you love these!)

~ 6 cups of chicken broth;
~ 3 cups of cooked rice that has been steamed off in the rice cooker;
~ a pack of chicken that is diced, pan cooked, and seasoned (salt, pepper, oregano, garlic);
~ a cup of finely diced onion;
~ a cup of finely diced carrots;

Cook on low for about 3 hours in a cock pot. (We used a 5 quart crock pot for this recipe)

If you like your vege's soft rather than crispy combine all of the above, minus the chicken, on low for 2-3 hours. Then add chicken and keep on low for an additional 30 minutes to an hour.

Make sure to keep an eye on the soup. If the rice starts to get too soft or the broth looks too "starchy," it is time to shut the crock pot off.

Then package in individual containers, let cool, and freeze.
Recipe #3: Homemade pizza! While all of this yummy cooking was going on we had to eat some sort of dinner.

I have been wanting to find a good pizza crust recipe for a LONG time and I have finally been successful...YAY! I got the recipe from Ready, Set, Simplify. And you can find the recipe here. It is actually from I am a fan of this site. (Hint: always make sure to read the reviews of a recipe you are going to make because they have some helpful tips on what to add, how to tweak the recipe a bit, etc).

This pizza recipe has become a BIG fan favorite quickly.
Man, I'm drooling again just looking at this picture.

So that was our Friday night. We ended up with 7 helpings of Southwest Rollups, 8 servings of soup, and a big, delicious pizza!

Stay tuned for Part 2....lots more deliciousness to come!

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