Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Freezer Meals 101

Many of you have asked me for recipes and tips for doing freezer meals. I am unable to address each one of you individually so I am just going to refer you to one of the many great books out there for freezer meals. "Dinner is Ready" is a great book that goes in detail with exactly how to cook thirty meals in one day. The author of the book is well seasoned in this art and her website is full of helpful books and software you can try. My Mom actually found me this book at a thrift store but you can order it online through the Authors website or amazon.

As far as recipes go hers are good ones to get you started and her software has them all stored electronically so you can print off shopping lists and labels. I would love to try that in the future but for now I am just doing that by hand. You can freeze many of your own meals(soups and chili's work great) just remember to under cook certain veggies so they don't disappear in the freeze, thaw, and reheat process. I don't do much pasta but I hear it really needs to be undercooked or even just toss the dry pasta in with your sauce and cook after you thaw your dinner. Chicken nuggets and other chicken dishes similar to that need to be frozen on a plate first then put into a bag.

Like I said this book goes in great detail of what you need to do exactly and I highly recommend this to get you started. I checked out a few books from the library too but have found this one to be the most helpful. Check out your local library to see what you can find on "once a month cooking" or "freezer meals" and let me know what books you like. Google has been a great resource of information and blogs from people who do this.

Also, if you are not a member of Money Saving Mom then you can sign up to get daily emails of how to be more fugal and she also has started doing freezer meals too and posts that every month.

Good luck on your freezer adventures!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Organizing, Soup, and Freezer Meals

I really do love to organize and I'm sure people don't think that is much of a talent but I truly think it has always been one of my best talents. Even when I was a teenager I liked things a certain way and tried to be tidy. (I know my Mom is rolling her eyes right now but believe me I had a system). So when I came across a challenge of how to store Clark's old crib those creative organizing wheels started turning. I was going to just sell the crib but it wasn't really selling and we are hoping to have more children. So, I was talking to a friend about it and she simply said "don't you have a closet or something you could store it in?" That is all it took and shortly after that I came up with a solution. Below is a picture of Clark's closet and believe it or not a disassembled crib is in there. Three pieces behind the shelving unit and two pieces behind the mattress and yes there is still room for the jogging stroller. Maybe I should do this for a living.

I also finally got around to making that lovely Zuppa Tuscana soup from olive garden that I love way too much. I got a recipe from a friend and she will be disappointed to hear that I substituted the heavy whipping cream for fat free evaporated milk but it turned out so so good and I am testing a small sample to see if it is freezable. I doubt it is since the potatoes are so thin and cooked all the way through I fear they will melt but we will see. A great soup to have and to share with friends on a chili day or just any time.

We have been doing freezer meals for quite a while now and I feel like I am just barely getting the hang of it. This month I did over 30 meals and they fit perfectly into the freezer. I admit that most of them are soups that freeze well and make 3 to 4 dinners but I still think I am pretty good. Next time my goal is to do all the shopping in one day and then all the cooking the next day. Wish me luck on that one.

Here is the closet, behind the shelving unit is the long pieces and the bottom piece to the crib

Here is the mattress and the ends to the crib behind it. I'm pretty impressed.

My soup...it was really good and only 5 points a cup. (Actually not too great points wise but good enough)

Freezer for the month. Lot's of good food and it will be so easy to use and to have so we are less likely to eat out.

I even had room to spare in the door so I loaded that up with extra meat that I didn't use in the meals. We still have plenty for crockpot meals and I even got a good deal on some steaks. Yummy...now just to get the A1 sauce.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Baby Quilt Finished

One of my goals for the year has been finished. I just completed a crib sized quilt. This was a big project to get me back into sewing and though it is very, very, very imperfect it still looks great and I know it will be well used and loved. Here are some pictures of it before I send it away to my friend to have for her new baby girl:)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

So Close

I am so close to finishing my first quilt. Up close it is full of imperfections but from a distance it looks awesome! I just have to do the edging and then I am done and it can go in the mail. This quilt has been full of relief and stress at the same time. Stress because it was a hard quilt to do for the first time and relief because it gave me a break from reality and helped me get through a lot.