Sunday, January 6, 2008

Here's what I did on Saturday

For some time I have been wanting to stock my freezer with a few meals that are ready to cook. I thought this would be really nice on days I work, especially if I am working late. I have heard another reason to do this is to have meals in the freezer to bring to others when someone is sick or needs a meal for any other reason. Another benefit to this is: there is less waste - is you are making multiple meals you are more likely to use your fresh ingredients and not have them rot later. The clean up is also a little less since you are able to use things like measuring spoons, cups.. several times, and things like hamburger can all be browned together. Anyway - I have been collecting recipes from magazines and other blogs for a while. I had Saturday off and thought it was a good time to try this out. I found 4 recipes that had good reviews and started cooking. Before beginning the cooking I started defrosting my freezer. I wanted a nice clean shelf to stock my finished product on.

Here is my first dish:

This is Spaghetti Casserole. I have made this before and my family likes it. It does freeze well and tastes great after freezing.

I then put together these packages of Orange Teriyaki Chicken. This one was really quick and easy. It will need to be grilled when we are ready to try it.


This is called Crowd Pleaser Casserole. It didn't make quite as much as the other recipes but will give our small family 2 meals.


While I was working on the other recipes I started this soup simmering. It is called Cheesy Chicken Soup and it smelled really good.

Here is my nice clean freezer - it is now stocked with 8 meals that are almost ready to eat!

I was surprised by how quickly these meals went together. Because you can often have more than one thing going, it only took about 4 hours to get these done.

After finishing the meals I made some peanut butter cookies and added some chocolate kisses that were left from Christmas. I thought this was a good way to get rid of those kisses!


All the recipes for these meals are linked to their names. Hopefully they will be a hit with my family, but you never know. After we try them I will post a review with the recipes to let you know if I will be making them again.




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28 comments:

Melissa said...

mmmmmmmmm..... I just ate but you're making me hungry Mari! All that food looks great, don't be surprised if you find an extra body at your dinner table! :)

Bonnie said...

I have done this before. I have done it with friends too ... we cook together and then split the meals to take home. FUN ! Makes the four hours seem like no time at all !! Your meals look great. I'm just about to head over to your recipe blog ...

Megan (FriedOkra) said...

Great approach to feeding the family, Mari. I'll definitely follow your lead and get my freezer stocked up before the Peanut arrives!

Jennifer said...

Do you KNOW how much I love the way your freezer looks? If that were mine, I would be opening that door constantly, just to gaze and admire. Great idea. I've heard of this before, of course, but I never could imagine an entire day of cooking (plus I don't have a standing freezer!). But four hours is quite manageable. You will enjoy the fruits of your labor, I'm sure!

SharonB said...

Mary I used to do that kind of stuff all the time when my kids were younger and I was Homeschooling. It just made it nice on those days when we were so into projects/field trips etc...
And you're right! If anyone needed a meal I'd have one!
I should do that again! Then I'd have meals available when I didn't really feel like creating a meal!

SharonB said...
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Perri said...

I like to try to make extra when I cook for that very reason. Less time, less waste and less cleanup. A good deal all around.

You'll be so glad you did this!

The Birds Nest said...

That's great! The freezer looks so organized. What a good feeling. I have a friend who cooks every Sunday for her week. For example: grills chicken, makes soups, grills pork tenderloins, etc. She says it really works for her. She is able to take lunch to work with her and have something ready to go when she gets home from work late without having to cook too much during the week.

The Birds Nest said...

By the way, where are your recipes and how do I get a live traffic feed?

Diane said...

I think I'll try your spaghetti casserole - I've tried another recipe I found but wasn't overly impressed with it. Jen H has a recipe too - is this hers?

Beth said...

What a great idea! All of these look delicious and I love how clean your freezer is!

Terri said...

Looks goot. Seriously, we do have to do this together sometime. What fun!
Did you buy 1/4 cow sometime? I noticed all the hamburger wrapped up.

Short Stop said...

These all look wonderful! And your organized freezer...I'm jealous! :)

Have I ever told you about the Dream Dinners cookbook. I use it for all of my freeze ahead meals. The recipes are FANTASTIC and the layout of the cookbook is awesome.

Just Another Day In Paradise said...

What!!!!!!!!!!!
We were supposed to be doing this together!
I'm thinking those meals would be great for you to have Mark and the kids over for supper a night next week!!!!!!

Laura said...

Yum! They all look really good and that's a great idea. I might have to do that on one of my weekends.

A Stone Gatherer said...

Wow! What a productive day you had! I wonder if I could be that productive. I don't know if my mind can wrap around that right now!

Cherdecor said...

I MUST try these recipes! But first I'll have to clean out the freezer. There is no place to put them. . . but I am GOING to do it. You have inspired me.

Nancy said...

What a good doobe you are to have all the food ready. I don't have a large freezer so can't put a lot away. Sure looks good tho & good idea to have on hand for meals to share if needed.

Pat said...

That's my kind of meal planning! I love it when life is so organized - it does away with a lot of unnecessary stress. They all sound yummy, but that soup really got my attention - I'm making a grocery list right now!

LeslieW. said...

Great job! I made Mexican chicken corn chowder this weekend...loved it! I want to make your "Happy Casserole" too!

Dena said...

can you say YUM!!! We have a place that SELLS casseroles that are ready to heat - it's like shopping in your freezer - that's of course where I go or to Leslie's! YUMMY!!!

Melissa said...

I just might take you up on that offer. I have to work tomorrow :( I'll call you if I need a ride :)

Melissa said...

they built new cabins! they're really really nice. i'll tell you about it next time i see you! :)

Jennifer Partin said...

What great meals for those "harried" days! I wish I had a freezer half that size---I'll have to post a picture of my tiny freezer, you'd laugh!

It looks so wonderfully clean and organized too. You must feel such a sense of accomplishment too! Great job Mari.

Rebekah said...

I have a big freezer in the garage that is just about empty. I have made a couple lasagnas before and froze them. It is such a help on busy days. I have wanted to try making meat loaf and freeze it. I like your chicken idea.
Im off today, maybe I'll prepare some meals for the freezer.

Lori4squaremom said...

Ok, Mari, I've been inspired! I've been saying for a couple of months that I want to get some meals into the freezer, but life happens, and I don't get it done. I used to ALWAYS have meals in the freezer, and it was such a blessing! It isn't difficult to double or triple something that you are making for dinner on any given evening, and freeze the extras for a future meal. My biggest "issue" is that I really need to defrost my freezer, but with it being in the garage now, I'm not quite sure how to do that....we used to have it in the kitchen, and it was easy to do and still supervise the kids....it takes an hour or so to do. Anyhow, thank you for showing pictures, because that is what REALLY inspired me! Next weekend I will figure out how I'm going to defrost my freezer, and get it defrosted, and then start working on getting some meals in there! YAY, thank you Mari :)

Blessings!

Mel's World said...

Holy Smokes Mari that all looks AMAZING!!!!

Yummy!

The Birds Nest said...

I've already commented on this post, but I had to mention the seasoned stone. I used to sell Pampered Chef, so I appreciate that!!