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.