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Freezer Cooking Day: My Plan (and come link up yours, too!)

I finally finished planning our Freezer Cooking Day for tomorrow. Here’s what’s on our list:

::Spaghetti Pie

::Barbecued Meatballs

::Baked Ziti

::Southwest Roll-ups

::Chicken and Rice Casserole

::Beef, Bean and Tomato Burritos

::Chicken Spaghetti (from The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl)

::Pizza Dough

::Banana Bread

::Mini Apple Pies

::All Purpose Master Pancake and Waffle Baking Mix (from Quick Fix Healthy Mix: 225 healthy and affordable mix recipes)

Other possibilities, if we have extra time and energy: Chicken Pockets, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins, or Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.

We’ll be doubling, tripling, or quadrupling pretty much all the recipes in order to make enough for 2-3 dinners’ worth for our family, my sister and her husband, and my sister-in-law and brother.

I’ll be posting any recipe adaptions we did, pictures, and more during the play-by-play Freezer Cooking Day posts I’ll be sharing on Friday.

If you’re new to Freezer Cooking, be sure to check out my post on How to Plan a Freezer Cooking Day and FishMama’s post on Making Freezer Cooking Work for You.

Are you participating in April Freezer Cooking Days? If so, post about your cooking plan on your blog and then come back here and leave your direct link below so we can all be inspired! Please note: links which do not link directly to your freezer cooking post or which do not contain your freezer cooking plan will be deleted.

“I don’t really care what other people think.”

As many of you know, my husband and I lived on beans and rice while he was in law school in order to stay out of debt. It wasn’t easy–especially when many others around us were living extravagantly when they had no money to do so.

But one of the biggest lessons we learned was to be content with what we have and stop worrying about what others think. From the old cars to the thrift store clothes to the coupon-clipping to the eating at home, we just got used to being weird and it didn’t bother us if we were the only ones pinching pennies.

One of the things we did to save money was to only have one car for a few years. While it’s nice to have two vehicles, we certainly learned that it is a luxury, not a necessity. And we got along just fine as a one-car family.

When Jesse got a job with a long commute, we saved up and bought a second vehicle–an old blue minivan. This vehicle has been Jesse’s mode of transportation for the last few years and he’s driven Old Blue Van all over the state to his various court appearances and attorney functions. He’s gotten quite a few funny looks and interesting remarks from other attornies since it’s definitely not the typical car a lawyer would drive.

After a number of years of scrimping, saving, investing, and working hard, we’re now in a position where we could afford to pay cash for a newer, nicer car. So I’ve been thinking recently about how badly I felt that Jesse was still driving such a clunker and guessing he probably got tired of the comments about his less-than-ideal vehicle, even though he never has once complained about it.

So I told Jesse the other day that I’d like for us to save up to pay cash for a better car for him. He looked at me and said sincerely, “I don’t need a new car and I don’t care what other people think.”

I love that guy! And I completely agree with him: There’s such a freedom in not having to spend time stressing about impressing other people.

We’ll probably buy a newer vehicle at some point in the not-too-distant future (likely when Old Blue Van breathes its last breath!), but in the mean time, we’re content and thankful. After all, we have two vehicles–a luxury that many people can’t even fathom!

Help! It’s Canned Biscuit Overload!

So I have this rule that I won’t buy refrigerated biscuit dough unless it’s $0.05 or less per can. Well, with the catalina, sale, and coupons this week, they almost paid me to take these biscuits home, so I bought them.

But what was I thinking? We don’t normally eat many canned biscuits (no offense to those of you who do, but we really prefer homemade!) and now I have 12 entire cans of biscuits sitting in my fridge.

Help! What are your most creative ideas for using up canned biscuits? I’m planning to make some of them into Brown Sugar Biscuit Twists, but beyond that, I’m stumped.

Freezer Cooking Days: March 31-April 2, 2010

It’s the end of the month and my freezer is getting empty. Which is a good thing because March 31-April 2, 2010, FishMama and I will be hosting another big Freezer Cooking Extravaganza.

What Is Freezer Cooking Day?

Basically, Freezer Cooking Day is a monthly day FishMama and I set aside to fill up my freezer with main dishes, breads, desserts, and side dishes to save ourselves time and money the rest of the month. I find that we eat better, I spend a lot less time in the kitchen, and we avoid many needless trips through the drive-thru when my freezer is full.

FishMama and I blog a play-by-play of our Freezer Cooking Days to inspire you to consider doing the same and share some great recipes, as well. You can see dozens of posts from past Freezer Cooking Days here. Check out step-by-step instructions for planning a Freezer Cooking Day here.

How Do I Join in Freezer Cooking Day?

We’d love to have you join in this Freezer Cooking Day in some way, shape, or form. You can make muffins or cookies to put in your freezer, make ahead some of your Easter Dinner, cook up 30 meals, or anything in between. The goal is just to get in your kitchen and do some prep work to save you time and money later in the week or month.

If you’re blogging about your Freezer Cooking Day, you can link up your planned cooking list tomorrow (Wednesday, March 31, 2010). On Friday afternoon, I’ll have another link-up here for you to share all about your Freezer Cooking Day accomplishments.

My Freezer Cooking Day Plan: It’s a Family Affair This Time!

I’m sort of “cheating” this time, though, because I convinced my extended family to join in. So my three sisters, sister-in-law, and mom are all pitching in this time. Mom is on babysitting duty, and the rest of us are on Kitchen Duty. We’re going to set up some extra tables in our kitchen, everyone is bringing pots and pans, and we’re going to see if we can all squeeze into my small kitchen and make enough food to fill our freezers up.

We’re planning to make enough for all of us to take home doubled dinner portions of nine different main dishes. Tomorrow, I’ll be shopping, making lists, and sharing my planned Freezer Cooking list. Thursday, we’ll be cooking up a storm. And Friday, I’ll blog about our cooking adventures.

I’m getting excited. But for now? I gotta finish making the plan and prep list. As I said last time, without a plan, Freezer Cooking Day is a disaster.

Dillon’s Shopping Trip Today

After our success at the Double Dollar coupon event, I was inspired to stop by Dillon’s to pick up a few more deals.

I had all three children and it was naptime, but we made it through without mishap. Well, except for the potty accident. But gratefully my two-year-old waited until we got out to the van, instead of when we were in the store! {Sigh. At least we’re making progress in the potty-training department. I have hope!}

Here’s our loot (Don’t ask me why the photo is all fuzzy! It was the only picture I took so it’ll have to do!):

1 box of Annie’s Mac and Cheese — on sale for $0.50.

6 tubes of Grands! Biscuits — on sale for $0.98 each. Used 2 $0.80/3 coupons (there are also $0.30/2 coupons here), plus I got a $4 catalina back for purchasing 6 making them about $0.03 each after coupons and catalina. (See more details on the catalina here.)

5 boxes of Ronzoni Smart Taste Pasta – on sale for $0.75. Used $0.75/1 coupons here to get them free!

1 pouch of Betty Crocker potatoes — on sale for $1. Used $0.80/1 coupon (there are $1/1 coupons available here, too!), plus I got a $0.50 catalina back for purchasing 1 making this free plus overage after coupon and catalina! (See more details on the catalina here.)

2 Scotch Brite sponges — on sale for $0.50 each. Used $1/2 coupon to get these free after coupon.

1 bag Brown Sugar — on sale for $1.

5 tubs of cottage cheese — reduced to $0.89 each (using this in Ziti that we’re making for Freezer Cooking Day on Thursday).

2 bags of Chex Mix — on sale for $1.50. Used $0.50/1 coupons here (doubled) to get these for $0.50 per bag.

1 half-gallon of lemonade — reduced to $0.79.

1 bag Tyson Chicken — used free coupon I got in the mail.

1 bag Banquet Chicken — used free coupon I got in the mail.

My total before coupons and sales was $56.81. After coupons and catalinas I earned from my last shopping trip, I paid $7.53 out of pocket plus I got back $4.50 in catalinas to use on my next shopping trip!

So if you combine both of my shopping trips today, I spent $26.35 out of pocket and saved $173.47! I’m pretty happy with that percentage of savings. 🙂

Double Dollar Coupon Shopping Trip

One of our local stores is running a Double Dollar coupon promotion so my mom and two sisters and I had fun getting quite the haul of deals. It’s hard to see just how much food we ended up with and these pictures don’t really do it justice.

Let’s just say I think we’re well-stocked on applesauce, pineapple, and Kashi cereal for awhile!

All of our orders combined, the four of us together spent around $79 out-of-pocket for all the groceries shown above. Considering that before coupons, it would have cost us around $400 for all those groceries, I think we got some great bargains!

And here’s specifically what I bought:

Before coupons, my total was $116.66. After coupons, I paid $18.82!!