I’ve tried taking supplements, I’ve tried medications, I’ve tried exercising.
I’m still tired.
What you ask does that have to do with batch and freezer cooking?
Well when you’re so tired you don’t feel like making a nice dinner for your family that’s what it’s got to do with it.
We’d spend $80.00 (that is my grocery budget to feed 5 people for a week and it’s not easy – but I also know it’s more than others have) a week and I’ll plan a menu but come time to make them I can’t. Hubby could, but then that means he’d have to follow a recipe, and he’s more of a throw it together and see how it tastes later kind of guy. So we usually turn to eating out – keep in mind we have no extra money for this it comes out of other things that we actually need.
Now before anyone jumps all over me and begins saying “well I’m tired to but I still make dinner”, or “just get over it”, etc. I believe my tiredness doesn’t come from just being tired – I believe it’s a medical condition and I will be seeing a specialist – today in fact – to see if maybe we can get to the bottom of things.
After reading Kathi Lipp’s new book, The What’s For Dinner Solution I decided that that is what I’m going to do. Hubby was all on board – yes we spent more than usual, about $100 but I also came home with enough stuff to make 12 meals, some breakfast items, and a dessert! I don’t need to go shopping until late next week or maybe even the following week!
I spent Monday and Tuesday making the bulk of the dinner meals and freezing them. Tuesday was also the day I took 2 loaves of bread and turned them into French toast and froze what we didn’t eat that morning (leaving me with 2 – 2 gallon freezer bags of French Toast). Wednesday was pancake morning, but apparently I needed to make a batch bigger than triple as I only have 1 – 1 gallon bag of frozen pancakes. Thursday I made breakfast burritos, beef and cheese burritos, chocolate chip cookie dough and pumpkin chocolate chip muffins.
When it comes to cookie dough I use my handy dandy Pampered Chef scoop and scoop out balls of dough onto a pan lined with wax paper and freeze. Once frozen I pop them into a storage bag and when I need a cookie or two I just take out what I need and put them in the oven. I also make a double batch but save money by only putting 1 bag of chips in – yes there are plenty of chips and I used Stevia to cut back on carbs.
Muffins I bake ahead of time and leave in the paper wrapper, set out to thaw the night before or a couple hours before dinner and you have an easy, no mess, no warm up needed breakfast or dessert. Add a little flax seed and give it an extra kick of fiber. I double bag these and they stay good for up to 3 to 4 months. Also using Stevia to cut back on the carbs.
Kathi Lipp has given me permission to share a couple of the recipes that are in her book and that I’ve made. Please know that I have tried the baked ziti and the dreamy spaghetti and both were a big hit with my family.
Baked Ziti: (this is for one, if you want to make double, double the amounts)
1 pound ground beef
1/4 chopped onion
16 ounces penne pasta, parboiled and drain
6 cups spaghetti sauce
6 slices mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
Prepare: brown ground beef and onions together. Add spaghetti sauce. Combine sauce and cooked pasta, mix well.
Freeze: spread pasta in 9 X 13 pan and cover with foil. Attach two small freezer bags to pan, one with the mozzarella cheese slices and one with grated Parmesan cheese. Freeze.
Serve: Thaw casserole and cheeses. Place mozzarella cheese slices over casserole. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over casserole. cover and bake 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly. Remove foil and bake for 5 more minutes. Serves 4 (I was able to feed all 5 of us and had some extras left)
Dreamy Spaghetti: again double or triple as needed
8 ounces spaghetti
15 ounces tomato sauce
8 ounces cream cheese
1 pound ground beef
1/2 pound cottage cheese
1/4 sour cream
1/3 cup green onion, minced
Prepare: Cook spaghetti and drain. Brown ground beef and drain. combine spaghetti, ground beef and tomato sauce and season to taste (I used some Kroger brand no salt added Italian seasoning). Remove from heat. Combine cheeses, sour cream, and onion in another dish. In casserole or 8 X 8 foil pan, spread one half of the spaghetti; cover with cheese mixture. cover with remaining spaghetti. Spread tomato sauce all over it (I skipped this step as I didn’t have any left over tomato sauce, but when I do the next one I will maybe add some spaghetti sauce to the top as my son said the top noodles were too dry, but he also had a sore throat).
Freeze: Cover pan with aluminum foil, spray foil with cooking oil so that acid from tomato sauce doesn’t touch the foil. (I skipped the oil step – oops)
Serve: Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Serves 4. (I was able to fee all 4 of us plus two DD’s, DH and I all had enough for seconds)
I’ve also got Taco Soup, Amish County Casserole and Chicken and Chips in the freezer – so I’ll do another post when we have taste tested those. I have to admit this has been a lifesaver both in regards to my energy level and also knowing that I have saved us some money. The only thing we’d have to get at the store is milk, and other staple items until it’s time to do big shopping again.