Freezer Meal Practice: My Game Plan

I’m now 23 weeks pregnant. I’m starting to plan my maternity leave more carefully. And one thing that has been worrying me is finding time to eat and feed my family without wasting too much money on takeout. Luckily, the Internet is full of super moms who love sharing the best, quickest, and cheapest ways to do just about anything in the kitchen. I could seriously waste hours just browsing through mom blogs.

Now that I’ve gotten over my distaste for leftover food, I felt ready to attack the “freezer meal” phenomenon that has taken over Pinterest in the last few years. But I tweaked it in my own way.

My Rules
First of all, I don’t own a car. So it wouldn’t be too realistic for me to buy $200 worth of groceries at once, even with the hubby holding all the bags. We also don’t have tons of freezer space. So I couldn’t store more than 2-3 weeks worth of meals in my freezer without overcrowding it and rendering it completely useless.

Second of all, the hubby and I are trying to eat healthier. So the challenge is trying to find tasty recipes that involve more vegetables and less meat.

Third of all, I’m afraid of being bored of leftovers and getting stuck with a bunch of freezer meals I don’t want to eat ever again. That’s why it’s just as important for me to find super tasty recipes.

Lastly, I don’t want to spend a whole day prepping and chopping. I’m willing to spend a little bit more time to prepare more servings than I usually do, but I’m not wasting a whole day on it. It’s just not how I want to spend my weekend.

So that is why I’m attacking the “freezer” meal phenomenon three weeks at a time, using first the food I have already in hand, and spreading the work over a couple of days, so that for the first week, I’m always preparing a meal in the morning in the slow cooker and prepping the following day’s cooking in the evening.

Day 1 – Sunday, June 1

I spent the morning picking out 7 different recipes, including one breakfast. We walked to the market on a beautiful sunny day and bought $100 worth of food. I made 7 servings of pork satay in the slow cooker (Recipe available in French only), two of which we ate right away for dinner (and prepped a freezer bag for another 7 servings for easy-dumping into the slow cooker for another week). Plus, I made 12 breakfast servings that will last us a week. It took me about an hour and a half in total. I always feel happy when I can have lunch ready for myself and the hubby for the next day, but it makes me feel even better when I have 3 extra meals in the freezer. This meal was so good, I practically licked my plate clean! Plus, I got to use my label maker to tag my tupperware. Yes, my name is Annie and I’m a label making addict.

What made me even happier is when I broke down how much it cost me per serving. I made sure to pick recipes that would allow me to use up some ingredients I already had on hand. And for all the extra ingredients, including fresh meat, it cost me $19.07. That comes to a total of $1.36 per serving for a total of 14 servings for the pork satay. I like the sound of that! I think next time, I’ll buy more meat at once and prep more freezer bags. This recipe is a winner!

For the breakfast English muffins, I swapped the bacon for hotdogs I already had in the fridge, and the eggs and English muffins only cost me $4.33. So that comes to only $0.36 per serving for a total of 12 servings. I’m not going to freeze this meal, so that’s why I only prepared a week’s worth. I think we can all agree that soggy English muffins is no good.

Tomorrow, we’re eating out for my dad’s birthday, but I plan to prep the ingredients for a vegetable soup when we get back so that I can cook the soup in the slow cooker on Tuesday morning.

Basically, I’ve made myself a schedule for cooking and prepping for the first week, and relying mostly on my slow cooker for the actual cooking. We’ll see how it goes! I’ll keep you posted on my progress day-by-day. I think I deserve some kind of medal for being so efficient on day 1. But I’ll settle for an ice cream sandwich.
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