Wednesday, March 2, 2011

the day i cooked

first of all, it took 3 tries to upload these pics, this top one especially. so i would adore it if you'd take the time to click on the top and bottom one as they have details.
now...on with it...
last time at five mockingbirds, the mama bird was ranting a little bit, she noticed, as she read back over what she wrote...after posting it.
who cares?
anyway, i spent my friday researching, folks. i read blogs and took suggestions tried to come up with some sort of plan. a dear friend of mine from my childhood actually does the once a month cooking with a friend of hers so i can't wait to get some recipes from her. until then, i took some pointers about freezing.

let me start by saying this. while i surely am not one that has anything against anything generic...there are sometimes you need to spring for name brand. i hear that is the case with freezer bags (if you don't have one of those food saver things.) and i also hear double bagging is a must on some things. we will see and report back later on that.

so...after getting an idea of what i wanted to freeze this first go 'round, i made my list and set out to buy my meats. let me just go on record as saying this...i am starting this at a particularly insane time in our lives. i mentioned the baseball practice, right?? well, the need for something quick that we could eat after 7 on those nights was really what dictated what i chose this month. there are basically 2 weeknights that i'll be able to cook what i call a "real meal". you'll see what i mean.

folks, i headed out to walmart on a friday night, because i'm an idiot even though i know better. i didn't want to drive to sam's and i at least took the time to look at the publix and kroger ads to know that there wasn't anything i would be missing out on with meat deals.

y'all, they had boneless/skinless chicken breasts for 1.78 a lb. i admit that i have totally neglected haven't been good about comparison shopping and couponing for the last year lately because time is precious and i just wanna snatch and go. however, in my awakening, i'm going to be smarter than that. it's part of my job as house manager, right? (i'm assuming the only thing that hasn't gotten me fired as of yet is the fact that i can cook well and am kinda funny...sometimes.) anyway...people, i left there with 12.5 lbs of chicken and 6 lbs of ground beef. now, normally i don't buy the ground beef. i buy the ground turkey b/c it's cheaper and b/c i feel like it's healthier, but they didn't have it (fresh). like i said, this was sort of spur of the moment. i'll plan better next time.

i got my meat and a few other ingredients home to plan out what i'd be cooking the next day. micah would be gone a few hours doing field clean up and otherwise it was our last free saturday until the end of may. it was do or die. (i'd like to take this time to mention that i nearly died in the doing...but it was done and i'm glad i did it!)

the next morning, i realized that i forgot the veggies that i was going to add to the ground beef to bulk up our good-for-you-foods-but-the-kids-won't-eat quotient. i also needed to finish off the grocery shopping (which i never do with the kids unless someone is holding a gun to my head) at some point and i figured since i'd already be there...


i looked at the three kids. i said a prayer. i grabbed a sippy cup. i slapped a pull-up on the sis (just in case 'cause i WAS NOT stopping in the middle of publix to take her to the potty, but i didn't want an accident either. she's good and trained now thankyouverymuch) begged the boys not to fight, and set out to finish up so that i could get home and get to cooking.

three kids club cookies, 3 boxes of barnum and bailey's animal crackers, a bottle of water and some money saved later...we were home. i only had to say "get out of the middle of the aisle" and "if you touch anything else i'm going to cut your hand off" and "don't even look at those toys" 100 times. so about two-thirds less than i normally do. not bad.

finally, at 1100...i started cooking (which included lunch preparation.) i'd also like to go on record as saying that you should make sure your kitchen is clean and all superfluous dishes are put away before starting. i was armed with my ziploc bags and my aluminum foil and my sharpie marker and my 3 crock pots and my food processor and i was ready to go.

and i call these meal starters, by the way. cause you'll need to add to it, but for me the hard part is in remembering to get meat out and thaw it or "what else can i possibly make with this lb of chicken?" so, in one pot i put chicken, salsa and fajita mix. in another, chicken, bbq sauce and a little DP, and in another i put just chicken that i seasoned with house seasoning (salt, pepper, onion & garlic powder). oh, and i rinsed and defatted alllll of that ahead of time.) for the ground beef, i mixed 2 lbs with taco seasoning, corn and black beans. the other 4 lbs i mixed with carrots, bell peppers and onion that i chopped in the food processor. 3 lbs went towards spaghetti stuff and the other one towards meatloaf fixings. (i should have done some plain...but hey, next time. trial and error.) i also bought those little sweet rolls, you know the rectangle kind in the little aluminum pan that people put ham and cheese in and cook them for baby showers and pot lucks at church and the like? well, i bought those and made some for lunch that day and then just put the ham and cheese inside (no sauce) of another batch and have frozen those. i'll let you know how they turn out. i also had a few other ideas of things i already had to add into the mix.

i started around 1100 and finished around 5pm. that also included some dish washing time in there as well. so far this week i haven't once said, "let's just go grab something." and that is one of the main purposes to this whole thing. saving time and waist and money. trust me when i tell you that if i can do it, anyone can. next week i'll give you the menu...weekly and hopefully the month at a glance.
like i said, click on the pictures to make them bigger to see how things got divvied up and for my comments on what the kitchen looked like afterwards!!


Rachel said...

Good gracious! You did an awesome job! You have tons of meals to choose from now. I am dreading the day I have to go to Publix with Jack when he can walk and talk. Oy.

Unsinkable Kristen said...

Um, wow.

I'll be needing to hear about some of the specific recipes you used.

For instance - spaghetti sauce. Homemade? Or jarred with beef added?

And sloppy joes. Are we talking Manwich? Or PW? Because friend, I could rock either one of those.

You are my hero. We start soccer here in the next two weeks, and I'm going to need to up my game.

Tara said...

That is great! Like I said the other day, you may have inspired me to restart this because it does save a ton of time later!

It all looks yummy!

Ivy said...

I'm wanting to jump on the bandwagon! I make frozen casseroles (Tater Tot, Spagetti, Enchilladas, Chicken & Rice) and we usually have at least one of those a week. Such a time saver. I absolutely hate the daily "what's for dinner" question. I want to have a weekly menu plan!! What's sad is im only feeding myself and Troy....but soon Paisley will be joining the dinner table! I cannot believe how BIG your babies are. When I read that AC was wearing a pull up my mouth dropped!

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