Friday, January 17, 2014

Freezer and Pantry Cooking and Prepping-

I find freezer and pantry cooking therapeutic and one of the best things to keep me in the frugal
For you see- it is the cheapest source of fast food :) 
I may not always make up 'whole meals' but I try to make up frugal, healthy foods that can easily be put together for a quick, healthy meal.

Last weekend the kids put on their new aprons (Christmas gifts) and we got to work in the kitchen.
The two bigger boys made Gingerbread Pancakes and Kefir Pancakes.
The younger two rolled out pizza crusts for breakfast pizzas and personal pizzas for lunch, while I baked them. 
We allowed them to cool and bagged them all in meal portions and froze them.

We then began a double batch of Laura's famous Breakfast Cookies!
(I cut the butter back by 1/4.)
We love these and always include them on our freezer cooking list!

Then we switched our focus to breakfast for the pantry and we made the following granolas:
Graham Granola
Chocolate Granola with Almonds

The day we got groceries, I came home and prepared all the meat I bought like this;
-cooked 4lbs ground beef and froze in 5 meal-portions
-boiled and shredded chicken breasts for 4 meal-portions
-boiled 2 whole chickens for 4 meal-portions and about a gallon and a 1/2 of broth frozen in portions
-made and cooked ground turkey meatballs for 5 meals
-boiled oxtails for about a gallon of beef broth and froze in portions
(fed cat and dogs the fat scraps from chicken and oxtails)
-divided roasts for 2 meals and diced up some for 1 meal of stew
- bought enough pollock (fish) for 2 meals for a little over $6
(fish is very high in protein so your servings can be smaller!)
-divided pepperonis in meal-sized portions and froze

This week I also prepared a double batch of Brandy's Spaghetti Sauce and froze it up in meal-sized portions and some for the meatballs.  I had a little left over and spread it across some chicken strips that I had in the freezer and baked them and served them over rice with a spinach and chard salad.

Before I go to bed tonight, I plan on soaking up several kinds of beans so as to pressure cook those tomorrow and freeze them up for quick meals and sides. 
(If you've been reading my FB, you'll know that I discovered electricity, well- I felt like it, when someone gave me a pressure cooker a few months ago and I cooked dried garbanzo beans in 7 minutes! 
Totally amazing!)
We also might make up some bean and cheese burritos for the freezer over the weekend once I get some saucy beans made up.
I'm also making good use of  these soup starters and other goodies for quick meals:
With the clear-broth veggie-soup mix, I usually add frozen shredded chicken, a teaspoon of bouillon, and a shake of thyme, rosemary, and parsley.
The tomato veggie-soup is good plain with frozen shredded chicken or with beef (with or without pasta or rice) and some marjoram, parsley, garlic, salt, and pepper....or with beet and Italian herbs.
Then there's the potato soup mix that's just a reheat and add milk beaten with a little flour or cornstarch.
The canned pumpkin soup is a simple reheat and top with sour cream.
The apples make a great side with eggs for breakfast or a quick lunch and I often heat them in a little butter.

All of this helps me keep on the frugal track and focus these days on school and other work. It also helps me on those days when errands pop up out of nowhere and we have to grab our Breakfast Cookies and go!

The kids also enjoy 'cooking classes'!   - Beats fractions and times tables! :)
But- be sure to warn your boys that pancakes do NOT need to be flattened with a spatula to cook through!

Prov 31:15  She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.


Felicias Red Door Life said...

I love batch cooking for the freezer and pantry. We have finally decided to work on making a large garage
'pantry' to stock up things in. Which means I get to do lots of batch cooking really soon. I find it exciting to see so much going back.

Donna said...

Would love to see pics of your progress Felicia!

My pantry isn't so big so my jars get tucked everywhere from under beds to closets- but I do have 3 freezers and a spare fridge :)

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