Sunday, November 24, 2013

Freezer "OAMC" Meals

There's a lot of buzz around freezer meals lately. Or maybe it's not lately and I'm just late to the game. 

Oh well, whatever it is, I had a friend who posted about doing this last month and it REALLY inspired me.  We've been eating VERY poorly since I started working. I simply have NO inspiration and by the time I figure it out, whatever I've decided won't be ready for another hour or two.  And we have two small-ish kids with early bedtimes (for mommy's sanity!) 

When I read her plan and how she went about prepping her meals, I thought "hey, I can do that. And if I do it NOW, it will take me through the Christmas holiday!"   So I started looking through Pinterest and lots of blog posts finding some good and diverse menu plans.  I knew from the start that I wanted "dump" meals - I didn't want to spend a ton of time pre-cooking things and I wanted the prep on the day I cook to be minimal to nothing. 

I will say, almost everything in my meals is clean! I honestly didn't check the Worcestershire sauce or the A-1. 

I found the following meals: 

BBQ Chicken (using SkinnyTaste BBQ Sauce!) x4
Tacos (my own creation) x3
Pizza Dough (following this recipe and process for cooking, but freezing after first rise) x3

I started the day with shopping. Costco and Walmart.  Here's my shopping list: 


5 lbs beef chuck roast
4.5 lbs beef roast (to chop into stew meat) 
2-5lb bags of onions
2-10lb bags of boneless, skinless chicken breasts
shredded mozzarella cheese
gallon sized bags (although we didn't need these!)
Worcestershire sauce


Turkey pepperoni (to freeze for the pizzas)
Whole wheat flour
Fresh rosemary
Green peppers
Soy sauce
Hoisen sauce
Balsamic vinegar
Liquid smoke flavoring
Fresh ginger
1 lemon
2 jars pepperoncini

I had planned to shop today and prep all the food tomorrow. However, I came home and was too anxious looking at everything just sitting there to leave it be! (And my fridge was WAY too full!)   So I started prepping right away, around 3pm. 

After a brief run to the grocery store one last time (Helpful Hint: Don't just say "yes, I have balsamic vinegar in the pantry" - Actually MEASURE that you have enough. I was 1/3 cup shy for the recipe!!) I got to work. First thing I did was make up my own Italian seasoning and taco seasoning mixes. Then I started my pizza dough, knowing it would need to rise before I could package it away.  While my pizza crust was rising, I got to work on my BBQ sauce. I've made this recipe a few times, so I know I like the blend of spices & flavors so I made it exactly as written. 

Once this was done, I labeled all of my bags. I made sure to put today's date, the name of the recipe (sounds obvious, but it wouldn't shock me if I saw a bag mislabeled and could never find the recipe I used ever again!), any additional ingredients to be added at the time of cooking and the actual cooking directions! 

While that simmered and my pizza rose, I started chopping. I PURPOSEFULLY picked recipes that were fairly easy this time around (you know, the first time I've done this!)  Most of them were a sauce or spice mix and meat.  I chose very few veggies. Thankfully, my work schedule gets me home by 3pm everyday, so throwing together sides isn't usually an issue.  I have no problem making veggies and a starch once I'm home.  

My chopping prep consisted of  onions, 1 finger of ginger, 4 green peppers, slicing 1 lemon and some fresh rosemary. I even used pre-minced garlic to make it easier on myself. 

Around this time, my pizza dough finished it's first rise. I pulled it out, separated it into 4 servings and covered three to put away in the freezer. One became dinner tonight!

I put all of my chopped goods in the bags and moved on to the actual recipe ingredients. Sauces, spices, vinegars and sweeteners, if necessary. I did this one recipe at a time until I came to the end. 

Mexican Spiced Pork, Herb Wine Chicken
The last step I did was to add all of the meat. I started with the beef that I had to portion and chop into "stew meat" pieces. I weighed it out and added it to the separate bags - for Mongolian beef and Pepper Steak.   Then I pulled out the bags of chicken. We had an open bag in the chicken in the freezer so I started with that one.  Added frozen chicken breasts to each of the required bags. It took the remainder of the partial bag and a full 10lb bag. 

I didn't have a formal recipe for my bbq chicken or my taco meat. For my bbq chicken, I just made up the BBQ sauce then threw in 4-5 chicken breasts and froze. 

For the tacos, I took already frozen ground beef and added 2Tbsp of my homemade taco seasoning and a can of rinsed black beans. I plan to add a cup of water to the crockpot and probably a bag of frozen corn just before serving.

Obviously I can't speak to whether or not these recipes are TASTY, as we haven't tried them! But I will be sure to update with reviews as we begin eating them!

Curry Chicken, Honey Rosemary Chicken
 Four and a half hours, 2 3 trips to the store - 24 meals ready to go into my crockpot!! Yay for no cooking or meal planning between now and Christmas!! 
BBQ Chicken
Mongolian Beef, Pepperoncini Beef, Pepper Steak

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