Okay, so I just have to say that my new plan of action to do the cooking in one day, have the girls spend the day with Grandma, and keep my list on the simpler side, made a big difference. I'm tired tonight, but nowhere near wiped out like I was last time around. And best of all? My house is pretty clean and the cooking is D-O-N-E!
I started at 10:15 a.m. this morning and but for a few breaks to nurse Silas, worked straight through the day until around 6:45 p.m. tonight. And I got everything but one item crossed off my list!
Here's the fruit of my efforts:
—Pumpkin Pancakes x 3
—Muffin Mixes x 3 (for gifts, breakfasts, and dinners)
—Tuna Noodle Casserole x 2 (used leftover Thanksgiving turkey instead of tuna–it turned out looking very yummy!)
—Broccoli, Ham, and Cheese Casserole x 4 (I just made up this recipe so I don't have a link for you. I used leftover Thanksgiving ham.)
—Marinated Chicken x 4 (Pour Italian dressing over frozen chicken tenders and freeze. You can add in extra seasonings or sliced onions or peppers if you like. When ready to cook, you can throw it in the crockpot on low for 6 hours or bake it in the oven for 30 to 45 minutes. We like to serve this over brown rice. It's so simple and delicious! This is such an easy recipe that it really doesn't have to be made ahead, I just find there are days when it is nice to just dump a bag into the crockpot and go. Maybe I'm the only one who has those kinds of days?!)
—Barbecue Chicken x 2 (Similar to the above "recipe" just pour a bottle of barbecue sauce and some water over frozen chicken breasts and stick in a bag and freeze. You can add in extra seasonings and/or chopped onions if you like. When
ready to cook, you can throw it in the crockpot on low for 6 hours or
bake it in the oven for 30 to 45 minutes. If you make this in the crockpot, the chicken will just fall apart after it's cooked and can be served on buns for BBQ Chicken Sandwiches. My husband especially likes this!)
—Stromboli x 4
Brown Sugar Biscuit Twists
World's Easiest Christmas Candy (Used saltines instead of Cheez-Its. These are seriously good!)
Sugar Cookie Dough*
Hot Cocoa Mix x 6*
Slab Apple Pie x 4
*Thanks to C&H Sugar for sending me a little gift card to use to buy some of the ingredients to try out these two recipes. I was planning to make them anyway, so I when they wrote and asked if they could send me a gift card to buy some of their sugar, I was more than happy to oblige!
Things I learned from this month's Freezer Cooking Day:
::It works well to do all the cooking in one day. Splitting it up over two days seems to create more work, less productivity, and a much messier house.
::It is much less stressful to have a babysitter–and I get more done, too! I'm definitely going to be going this route for future cooking days. The girls had a great day, Grandma enjoyed getting lots of time with her granddaughters, and I was able to be much more efficient and focused in the kitchen.
::It is helpful to do the more intensive cooking projects first. By the end of the day, I'm running out of steam so it was good I saved the easiest things for last.
::I need to plan more in advance. Yes, I've been planning for this cooking day for a few weeks and buying groceries with it in mind, but it wasn't until a few days before that I sat down and made a list. And it wasn't until last night that I fleshed out my list. I think it would help if I made my game plan farther in advance and had the recipes printed out. Having to keep looking them up in different places just took extra time.
::I could save time by doing more prep work the day before–having the cheese already shredded, etc. would help speed up the cooking day. This is when more advance planning would also be helpful.
All in all, it was a very successful day and judging by how stuffed both of our little freezers are, I doubt I will need to do much of any cooking or baking this month–which will save me a great deal of time and effort and will also save us money since there won't be a temptation to get carryout because dinner's in the freezer!
Thanks again to FishMama and everyone else who joined us in this Freezer Cooking Day. My family thanks you, too. 🙂
Now I think I'm going to go fix myself a cup of hot cocoa and put my feet up for awhile!
Did you have a chance to do any baking or cooking this week?
If so, post about it
on your blog and leave your link below to your direct blog post. I'd
love it especially if you could share pictures and recipes so we can
get ideas for our next Freezer Cooking Day! And I'm guessing many
others would be inspired as well.
Are you the one who freezes brown rice? Is there any tip to doing it? I made way too much tonight & don’t want to throw it out…
Michelle Cox says
I LOVE this and would love to try it. Did you, by any chance, make a grocery list you’d be willing to share? Also — can you suggest what kitchen “equipment” is necessary?
I’m so impressed. I’d love to try this and write about it on my site and link back her to you. I love your blog. I’ve been a “stalker” for awhile now.
Amanda Creighton says
Okay, I’m a little slow at times, but with the pancakes, do you just make a bunch and freeze them? Can you do that with any kinds of pancakes? Then do you just pop them in the microwave? I know, lots of questions. I really want to put away more things in the freexer,but I don’t know what will keep good in there and what is a bad idea.
Stephanie A. says
With the chicken recipes, is there a recipe to how much dressing to use per chicken breasts? Like 1/2 cup to every 2 chicken breasts? Just curious cause I really love this idea and its so simple!
My Boaz's Ruth says
For Thanksgiving, my sister did something really smart. She arranged all the recipes she wanted so they fit on one page and made a photocopy. Then she cooked with that 1 page of recipes in front of her.
At the end of the day, when I wanted one of the recipes, she just handed the entire thing to me!
I love reading about your freezer cooking success! I really want to plan this one of these days, maybe after the new year after we defrost our freezer.
The Coupon Basics says
I am working full time, so I was not able to participate in freezer cooking day this time. But I am going to take some of these ideas and try them one saturday and let you know how it goes next time you have a freezer cooking day. I really like the idea of it, I just need to start trying it. I never feel like cooking after working all day- it would be so nice to have a wide variety of dinner options in the freezer!
Stylin Binder's says
Another great book is MAKE A MIX you make a mix and can use it for 6-7 different recipes and easy to make a freeze and then just add a few more ingred.
I got a Once a Month Cooking cookbook for my birthday and am so excited to try it out in January! You’ve inspired me!
Custom Essays says
I think I should try this. I’m really eager to try those recipes especially the Tuna Noodle Casserole and Slab Apple Pie. Thanks for sharing.
Christy McCullough says
Do you freeze your sugar cookie dough or just refrigerate to use later?
Great job! I just had a quick question and I apologize if someone already asked, I don’t have time to read all of the comments–when you prepare some of the meals, are you pulling meat from your freezer, cooking it and then refreezing it in the dish that you made? Just curious…I do some freezer cooking meals but usually try to do it when I purchase the meat fresh (which isn’t always convenient) b/c I have heard that is best. But recently I had someone tell me that it doesn’t matter. Just wondering what your thoughts were on that. Thanks for your time!
Charlotte Kirby says
Do you thaw the chicken dishes before you put them in the crockpot?
Jill Bentler says
Just a quick question regarding the Stomboli; do you use meat that is already cooked? Thanks
Money Saving Mom here: Yes, you’ll want to use some sort of meat which is already cooked.
Just a quick question… on the frozen chicken recipes… I have a bunch of chicken breasts, already frozen… would it work just to add bbq sauce the the bag while already frozen? I guess I was reading too fast if I missed that part!
Money Saving Mom here: Yes, I just dump the sauce, and any seasonings I want along with some water into a ziploc bag with some frozen chicken breasts and stick them in the freezer. Then just dump the whole frozen mixture into the crockpot when you’re ready to cook it.
Good job! You inspire me. I love those saltine toffee treats, never tried them with cheezits though.
Question? Is anyone else having problems pulling us Fishmama’s website? I have been trying for two days and I either get redirected or it pulls up a blank page. I have done everything I know to do; clicked on links from your page, typed her url directly into my address bar, cleared my history, did a spyware search, and even tried it on Safari. I really want to see some of her recipes as I am planning a freezer cooking day tomorrow. Any help would be appreciated, thanks!
Ashleigh Bailey says
Hello! I have been following your blog and absolutely love it! I have always wanted to know in your freezing experience, do you ever had food that freezer burns? I notice from your freezer baking days that you are using gallon size freezer ziplocs, correct? We have a Foodsaver vacuum sealer that we use because I have always been afraid that the food would ruin before we could eat it. What are your thoughts/experience on this? Thanks for sharing your tips and ideas..you are a blessing to your family.
extremely cute baby. Great job getting all that done with a baby on your hip!
Hi! I just wanted you to know I am nursing a “Silas” too! 🙂 I love to call him “Si”… he is 3 months old but should be only one… he was born 9 weeks early at 2 lb. 15 oz. and he is about 10 now 🙂 and waking up now ready to eat! Just wanted to share! 🙂
just to double check on the marinated chicken recipes…so you just put it into the crockpot frozen right? or do you sit it in the fridge to defrost the night before? i use my crock pot frequently but have never tried frozen meats. thanks!
Maybe I’m brain dead (lol), but it would be great to know how to fix these once pulled from freezer. Some might be a little more explanatory than others, but I sure do like to have the details as I am also one of those brain dead (on some days) kind of gal with 5 kids! I guess it looks like I have a lot of food in the freezer but then when to implement them and how is where I also become undecided. Maybe I missed the details after pulling from freezer somewhere. I’m trying to figure out how to make some of our favorite meals into freezer meals, but end up at the end as to how to fix after pulled from freezer – since these are meals that are made to be ready right then.
Money Saving Mom here: Well, I’m no expert! I usually just experiment until I get it right. But in most cases, just thaw and then bake according to the directions. Or thaw and reheat in the oven or microwave. It’s really very simple and the more you experiment and practice, the easier it becomes!
If you have specific questions on a recipe, though, let me know and I’ll do my best to answer them!
Did you layer your hot cocoa mix, or just mix it all together. I am thinking of making some for gifts.
Money Saving Mom here: I just mixed it altogether since we’ll be using some for our family and some for gifts.
You inspired me at the last minute and God really showed up big time with the sales and helping me have energy. I hope you’ll take a moment to read my blog post about it because this is so out of character for me and I’m amazed at all the Lord provided. He definitely worked with me! I’m off to cook more today!
Heather's Hiccups says
I belong to a freezer cooking cooperative and freezer cook for that. I will do better with blogging it I promise!!
My link does have some older cooking days complete with recipes, plans and calendar!! Loved it and borrowed some recipes to try!!
Going to do 1 monster batch of muffin mix Saturday.
Karla Caradine says
Can you use meat already frozen for freezer cooking? Can you thaw, then make your dish, then refreeze again?
how did you make that sub bread? I swear I saw a link for it yesterday…??? thanks!!
When I read your blog yesterday morning I was encouraged to do a little cooking/freezing. I cooked two big pots of dried beans — white beans (to use in chicken chili, minestrone, bean soup) and kidney beans (to use in red beans and rice, chili). I have also frozen cooked garbanzos in the past for quick and cheap hummus. Thanks for your encouragement!
Heidi S. says
Wow. I am impressed and loving what you’re doing. It helps me so much. My freezer is stuffed now too. I just spread it out a little more. Some here, some there, but the results are the same. Oh,! Could you please add freezer cooking to your “categories” section? I find myself refering back to these posts most often. Thanks again!.
Noelle Cagle says
Today I just did one measly farmhouse chicken. But the plan tomorrow is making some pumpkin related items such as muffins and pancakes for the freezer, then freezing the other 20+ cups of puree I will still have left over from “puree 5 pumpkins day” I had on Monday. =)
Blaire Ruch says
my daughter and i made Christmas cookies today using that sugar cookie recipe you posted. so yummy and we had a blast!
That is such a great idea! I have never thought of cooking and putting it in the freezer to use later. It seems it might make life simpler on hectic days. Thanks so much for the recipes!
Claire at Saving Money Plan says
Oops – I just posted the wrong link! Ugh!
Thanks for the inspiration!!! We make that candy, too, with Saltine Crackers! We call it ‘Almond Roca.’
Stylin Binder's says
I have been doing a freezer group for a little while now. We have 4 people in our group. We divide up duties. But the day before we divide up duties to prep for the next day like cutting up chicken, carrots, cooking hamburger etc. It saves alot of time for the big cooking day.
WOW! you did great- go get yourself a Pampered Chef Apple Corer/Peeler- on ebay for about $20.
I didn’t do an “official” freezer cooking day, but I did make a quadruple batch of pancakes and froze them and a batch of homemade macaroni and cheese. I didn’t blog about them since my blog is more financial in nature, but I thought I’d add it to the comments!
By the time dinner rolls around I’m pretty much brain dead every day! The temptation to pick something up is huge if there isn’t a really easy solution at home. Thank you for sharing these recipes; I’m definitely going to try a few!
I love that Christmas Candy…I’ve made it every year for the past 4-5 years. I use Saltines, too…people can’t believe that the crust is crackers. It’s too yummy!
Looks like you had a very successful day. :))
Thanks for sharing your tips! I did realized after two days of trying to get a good chunk of time in that it would be better to wait until Daddy could take the kids on Sunday for a long chunk of time. After all, they come first 🙂
Reading the #oamc was so helpful!
We love that candy too. At our house they’re called “Chocolate Crackers”.
I try to take advantage of meats that are reduced in price for a “quick sale” because of a sell before date. I freeze it the minute I get home from the store, but have never put the sauce in the bag with the meat before. Don’t know why I didn’t think about, it but I’m going to try and do that next time! Thanks!!!
Just curious how you managed to do all of this in 8 hours with a 6 month old? I have a 13 month old, and after awhile, she wants attention. How do you do it? I would appreciate any advice!
Amy @ Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free says
I love your ‘what I learned’ section – that’s so important. I am going to try to do it all in one day next month, too. And, I need to be more realistic about what I can do. I packed way too much in one day, so I have a few more things to do tomorrow or over the weekend. All in all,though, it was a great start to the month.
Thanks for hosting the Linky! BTW – ordered the FREE Christmas cards…they should be here soon. Thanks!
I’m not really getting the advantage of pouring bbq or dressing over chicken and then refreezing it. Why not just pour that stuff over it in the slow cooker when you’re ready to make it? It would have all day to marinate anyway.
I think I’m missing something here. Can you explain?
Money Saving Mom here: You’re not missing anything. 😉 It’s just that some days, it’s just easier for me to dump a bag into the crockpot and go. I have days where I just don’t have brainpower for a few extra steps (anyone else have those?), so having it all ready to go is really nice. Yes, I’m sure I’m just weird, but it’s true.
I have, however, done it like you mentioned. I was just trying to make it super easy for myself this month.
@Carrie, When it is all frozen, do you peel it out of the bag and dump it into the crockpot or do you use the kind of bags that you would then line the crockpot with? Or do you thaw it first? Thanks!