Hello everyone! The Meiers have reached a new low as far as lack of groceries and lack of food. I haven’t cooked in almost two weeks, woops. I’m realizing that it’s just not super practical to prepare/cook last minute with the new schedule. The last thing I feel like doing when I get off the subway at 6:30 is stop by the store and try to think of something to cook for dinner. But we love eating at home and love leftovers!! And love not spending astronomical amounts of money on eating out.
So I decided to try my first attempt at freezer cooking! The upcoming month is CRAZY with travels and other things, so I thought it would be great to cook ahead. My sister is a master freezer cooker, so you should check out the four posts about it on her blog. The idea is that you take one day and prepare TONS of meals, so then you can just pull stuff out of the freezer. Yes, please.
10:00 AM: After scouring my sister’s blog posts and my own recipes, I’ve settled on preparing:
• Chili (2 batches, thanks Brittany for the recipe!)
• Stuffed green peppers (2 meals worth)
• Chicken pot pie (3 pies)
• Twice-baked potatoes
Now that that is out of the way, it’s time to prepare the grocery list. This is a little tricky, because I buy fresh food (meats/produce) at Trader Joes, and canned/processed foods at Target or Key Food. Two different lists. I also have to keep in mind the weight of both lists because I’ll be making separate trips on foot both stores this morning before I can even get started on my cooking.
10:44am: My two lists are ready and I’m ready to hit Trader Joe’s.
Things to ponder:
• Tiny freezer: I’m ignoring this at this point. We will see how everything fits later. One word: Denial.
• Tiny kitchen: I barely have enough counter space to prepare one meal, let alone 10. This should be interesting.
At this point, I actually stopped noting my exact times because things got CRAZY, but I know the general idea.
I got my trusty roller bag and hopped the subway to go to Trader Joe’s. I gathered all of my fresh food and hopped back on the subway. I felt bad for myself having to carry this… until I saw this…
Over 100 stairs later… I arrived back home with this load:
After a quick unload, it’s time to gear up for grocery trip #2 to Key Foods. I return with this load:
It’s 2:00 by this time, and I have to shower up for my 3:00 haircut. Pause from the freezer cooking day. On the walk home from my haircut, I decide to stop again (yes, third grocery trip of the day) to buy ingredients for a nice Easter dinner.
I officially started cooking right around 4:00. It’s all a blur really. If you want to read about the first three items (BBQ, Twice Baked Potatoes, Chicken Pot Pie), you can read the instructions on my sister’s blog. Let me just say that… she must chop veggies a LOT faster than I do… because it took me quite a bit longer.
I think I finished round one of freezer cooking around 8:30 or 9:00, and then had to make garlic cheddar biscuits and oreo brownie cupcakes for Easter potluck, and THEN made the chili and finalized the BBQ. The stuffed peppers were a casualty of the process.
Pictures don’t really do it justice, but here are a few amidst the chaos.
I finally finished up and went to bed at 12:30am with a sore arm from chopping (not kidding) and sore feet from standing all day long. And had a mini meltdown the next day from fatigue.
…BUT… I came home tonight (Monday) to dinner with ZERO prep. Totally worth it.
Reflections on freezer cooking:
1) Don’t let a tiny kitchen or tiny freezer keep you from doing this. It is possible (although, I did have my doubts right around 10:15pm when this thought entered my mind: Freezer cooking requires a FREEZER!!!)
2) Next time, I probably won’t plan, shop, and cook all in the same day. It’s way too much for one day.
3) I probably also won’t take this on the day before a holiday where I’m already planning on a nice dinner and lunch potluck items. I need to narrow my focus. Rome wasn’t built in a day, people.