Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Productive !

Not really sure where all this productive energy is coming from (and not, I'm not feeling all energetic and such, still tired from growing a human) but maybe cause I can't nest and put my efforts into baby stuff, I just put it into other things. ie my fun project today !

So Chris is getting super into this whole budgeting thing and how awesome the app is (ie it tells us we eat out too much, guilty as charged...) So in my attempt to help keep us in our budget and not get yelled at for eating out so much, I wanted to find a more efficient way for me to get dinners made. I hate working, coming home to clean the kitchen, to cook and dirty it up, to clean it again. Lame. I'm tired. I don't care enough. I'd much rather get a $2 meal deal from taco bell and call it a day. Step in handy dandy Pinterest (seriously what did we do before this thing!). I've pinned things for forever about freezer meals, or make a billion meals from $100 and blah blah and thought I'd check it out since that's why you pin stuff right? To use it later? And then some of the meals actually sounded good, and I'm thinking, "hey, I can actually do this!" I looked up a few different pins and pulled some of their recipes, cause some sounded weird, or expensive or they found a certain meat way on sale and yeah, that's not going to happen. So I picked and chose (sounds weird) what I wanted to try, and tried to vary a bit since Chris gets sick of chicken.

The meals I decided on: Garlic Honey Chicken, Garlic (something?) Pork Chops, Teriyaki Chicken, Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo, Beef Stew, Chicken Tacos, Rotisserie Chicken with Potatoes, and 2 bags of Meatballs (cause I love them <3). That's 9 bags, 9 dinners, which the recipes say serves 4ish, so they had better be enough for dinner and then some left over for lunch (which is my big perk since I always go out to lunch at work and really should bring lunch). Oh I'll put recipes in a sec. Don't fret !

 So I got my shopping list together with all the things I needed for the recipes (and a few extra things) cause if I don't make a list I'll just buy. And the point of this is to stay on budget. It's such a cute list :]

And then I came home unpacked everything and set out what I needed for my freezer meals.
My teeny tiny counter. This was pretty much everything, minus the meatballs I haven't found yet, and some canned stuff I already had in my cupboards and didn't set out before my picture (I'm new at this tutorial, what I did thing). 

Then I needed to sit down for a second cause I'd been on my feet for a bit to long and little baby is still chilling on my back and my hip was killing me. I needed to label my ziploc bags anyways (Do this before ! It seems like it'd be so hard after, and another BTW, buy FREEZER bags. I'm lame. Pregnancy brain. I'm thinking I'll be ok because I don't plan on storing these meals for months, but just in case, get freezer bags. I'm really hoping I didn't ruin everything!)

Bags are all labeled and ready to go :] Just recipe name, and what to do with it to cook. I didn't put recipe cause... everythings in it, unless it requires something after. Just "thaw, cook for 4-6hours on low" etc. Easy!

Now came the fun part. Just pick one bag, find the recipe and start dumping in the bag. It was soothing to watch the counter of ingredients disappear and these clean little bags fill up with yummy food. It took me a little less than two hours (yikes) but I was distracted by Downton Abbey (!!) and moving slow. You could probably do it quicker. Two hours later and I'm short 1 piece of chicken (I can't count apparently) and just need to track down meatballs, and I've got bags full of yummy (hopefully) meals !

Aren't they beautiful? Yummy... 

My single bag of chicken tacos (just a closish up example) labeled, directions, all the pretty layers of food!

And they stack up all pretty in my tiny freezer and I have plenty of room ! So exciting !

So time for recipes ! Since I've had a few requests. 

Garlic Honey Chicken
1 1/2-2lbs chicken breasts
3 garlic cloves
1/2 cup soy sauce
2/3 cup ketchup
1/4 cup honey

Mix in bag. Cook on high 3-4 hours or low 5-6 hours.

Some type of Pork Chops (call them garlic brown sugar, or I don't know)

4 pork chops ~1in cut
2 garlic cloves
2 TBS brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix and cook 4-5 hours on high, or 6-7 hours on low.

Rotisserie Chicken and Potatoes

Whole Chicken
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp pepper
4 garlic cloves

Mix spices and rub over chicken. Put garlic inside chicken and put into freezer bag.
Day of cooking: Thaw, cut 3-4 potatoes and wrap in foil. Place these in the bottom of the crockpot. Place chicken on top. Cook on high 4-5 hours, or 7-8 hours on low.

Chicken Tacos
1 1/2 chicken breasts
2 TBS taco seasoning
1 can of corn
1 can of black beans ( or any you like I'm sure)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 tbs (I used a tiny can) of diced chilies

Mix in bag and the recipe I got it from said cook all day. Yeah, really specific. I'd say 6 hours give or take on low, but keep and eye on it. I plan on shredding the chicken and mixing it all back in together. Yummy. Serve with tortillas, on rice, etc whatever you want to do !

Chicken Broccoli Alfredo
1 1/2 lbs chicken breast
1 bag of frozen broccoli
2 16oz jars of alfredo sauce

Mix in bag (YUMMY) and cook on low 4-6 hours. Serve over noodles or rice.

Beef Stew
1 package beef cubes
4 carrots (I used 1/2 a bag of baby carrots)
4 red potatoes (I sliced them, the recipe didn't specify)
1 packet of onion soup mix
2 cream of mushroom soups
1 8oz can of tomato sauce
1 bag frozen peas

Mix in bag. Cook on high 5-6 hours or low 7-10 hours.

Teriyaki Chicken
2 chicken breasts
1/2 bag of baby carrots
1 cut red onion
1 large can of pineapple chunks
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup of teriyaki sauce

Mix in bag. On day of cooking: add 1/4 cup of teriyaki sauce and cook on low 6-7 hours. I plan on serving this with rice.

Meatballs (!!) for 2 bags
~36 frozen meatballs (or homemade if you're super ambitious. I am not.)
1 16oz grape jelly
1 20oz (I got 18oz) BBQ sauce

Mix in 2 bags. Cook on low 2-4 hours. I think I'll do bakes potatoes and veggies with this to make it more than just a little appetizer, party food type thing.

So that's my recipes. That's my ambitious day. I'm super excited to try stuff. I can't wait. OH and I also made my own disinfecting wipes (go me right?!). I love the clorox ones, but they're so danged expensive. And I'm excited about the homemade ones, except some of the negative nancys that post comments. So we'll see if we get some mutant disease or my house is filled with fumes. Or I might have just wasted my money. Whatever. But they smell delicious (I love pine sol) and they seem to work well. And they are definitely cheaper. Cut a roll of bounty sheets in half (harder then it seems, even with a sharp knife), but in a rubbermaid container that fits ( make sure not to waste money on new ones that are too small and end up using one you already had) and I made a mixture of 1/2 cup pine sol and 2 1/2 cups water. Give or take. And poured it over the paper towels in the bowl. Put the lid on and shook it up. I used a little too much liquid, oh well. They'll take longer to dry out. Took the top off, used a sharp knife to cute a horrible little whole. Pulled the cardboard tube out of the middle and found the end sheet and threaded it through the horrible lid whole. Tada! And I have plenty to make another batch. Probably will last a little longer than the $7 clorox wipes I love. Yay me !

Here's some of the sites I got ideas and recipes from (and there's a ton more you might want to try) I don't remember which came from which. Sorry ! Blame the pregnancy brain!

Now my house smells like garlic and pine sol. My back is killing me. But it was totally worth it. And now I can't decide which meal I want to try first !

I'll try to remember to update on how the recipes turned out. Or if you try them first, let me know !

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