Friday, October 19, 2012

My first attempt at freezer meals

During this last summer we had a niece and two nephews stay with us. That took us from a family of 5 to a family of 8. Boy did that increase our food bill, especially since two of them were teen-agers! I got on board with the couponing train and honestly did pretty good, I love saving money :) I felt like I was cooking all day though, like once I cooked breakfast, everybody ate it, and I cleaned up for it, I had to start on lunch. It was exhausting! We were taking FPU (Financial Peace University, AMAZING!! Like Live. Changing. Amazing. You can get info on it HERE) at church along with a lady who had a family of 8. I started asking her questions about how they afforded to feed them all and how she cooked and still had a life. She turned me to Deborah Taylor-Hough. I went to the library to do some research and loved what I found. I purchased a couple of her books on Amazon (See one HERE) and think it's just so smart! We are going on a road trip soon to see my father. He lives in Georgia and we are driving there. Wanna hear a story? A great story of how AMAZING God is? Ok. So I got an email that my father is sick. They thought he had a tumor and were going to get it checked out. I got a follow up email that it was not a tumor, it is brain cancer, they gave him 3-9 months to live. He has stage 3 brain cancer, it is in the stem of his brain, totally inoperable. They were going to start him on radiation and chemo, but were unsure if that would work. He is going in front of the board of a specialist unit in Atlanta to see if he qualifies for an experimental treatment plan, they have shortened it to 3-6 months. I have not seen my father regularly since I was 12 years old. I want my children to meet/know him. I want my husband to meet/know him. I need to see him before... We were looking at how we could all get over there and I started with airfare. I entered all the info and the price came back to be less than $500, I was ecstatic! I realized the next day that that was not total, that was per person, and my ecstasy was totally deflated. I started looking at driving, maybe renting a vehicle so we didn't put so many on ours. Whew! With gas, we're looking at over $1500. Add in the rental car, hotels, food, and I was getting discouraged. I switched gears and started looking at renting an RV, thinking that would cut down the cost of hotels. O.M.G. Have you ever looked into that? $3,000 PLUS $0.30 PER mile!! That is so out. I am committing part of this story for my morals sake.... So Michael was working on a ladies fence and his phone was set to "car mode" meaning it reads text messages to you so you don't have to look at your phone while driving. A nasty text came across and she heard it. Michael felt like he had to explain the back-story of the text so he did (it ties in with us trying to borrow an RV). The next day, the woman came to Michael and said that her and her husband prayed all night about it and had come to a decision. They want to bless us with the use of their motorhome!!! God is AWESOME! So now we are planning a trip to drive back to see my father. I am trying to do this on a very strict budget. I have mapped out the Wal-Marts that are along our route that we can sleep in their parking lots; I have a few books from the library "Doing (certain cities we'll hit) on a budget"; and shopping/cooking at home with coupons to make food instead of eating out. Hence the freezer meals.
I made all of these (plus 2 that didn't get pictured) in one day. For my first attempt, I'm ok with the outcome. I did ZERO pre-prep work, it was all day-of. Most of this is chicken (I roasted 2 whole chicken for these meals) and sausage (both in and out of the casing). My plan is to freeze them flat (as pictured) so I can stand them up in the freezer on the motor home. These are all crock-pot freezer meals (or one-pot, however you wanna look at it) to limit the items that I will need to take with me and clean up while traveling.
Day two of cooking I made over 250 meatballs, add spagetti sauce or BBQ depending on mood, and a couple of roasts. The carrots were extra, so I chopped them all up to freeze for when I need them. For some breakfast options while traveling, I made over 60 waffles and will freeze them to use in the toaster on the road, or for a quick breakfast while mommy sleeps when we return ;) Most of the recipes I used can be found on my pinterest board "ROADTRIP"
My kitchen was TRASHED when I finished. Seriously. I am a clean as you go kinda gal so this cooking batches of stuff but leaving it out because you're going to need it for the next batch, wow. It sucked. Worst part of the system was having a kitchen that was gross for 3 days. What I've learned: Next time, I'll get a babysitter. Next time, I'll pre-cook the chicken. Next time, I'll start earlier in the day. Overall though, I'm pleased with the outcome. Over 30 meals in two days?! I'll take it!

1 comment:

  1. you are incredible! I have read about doing that before...but never tried. wow.