Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I am Freezer Mama, hear me roar

Y'all remember our adventure in freezer cooking last month? Despite confusing directions, inaccurate recipe amounts and general late-startedness, Hubby and I survived. Most of the meals were edible. A few needed more cook time. A few that I thought would be great were the exact opposite. Who would have thought that my kids would turn their noses up at mac n cheese made with ranch dressing and lil smokies? Not me.

Over the last month, I enjoyed having those meals to rely on when we had busy days, and made the task of creating a weekly menu that much easier.

But I wasn't sold on an exact repeat. Once Once A Month Mom came out with their July menu and nothing on their list knocked my socks off, I had a thought. I had a few recipes from last month I really wanted to do again and I found another healthy eating blog (80/20) with a lot of things that I wanted to try that were decidedly NOT freezer friendly.

And since I was intimidated by the 4 million-step process OAMM laid out, I decided to make my own rules.

I know, walking on the wild side. It's what I do.

We did breakfast/snack stuff: Breakfast burritos; Oatmeal bars; Honey-Yogurt Waffles and Zucchini cakes.

And main meals: Beef Chimichangas; Mexican Verde Casserole; Squash Mac n Cheese and shredded chicken for 2 meals we're going to do later this month.

The burritos and oatmeal bars were carry-overs from last month. The mac n cheese I have made several times. The others are new and it was fun to make the Salsa Verde for the casserole. I never knew what to do with tomatillos before. Now I know I can make salsa. So even if the cassrole is "eh," I still got something out of it.

I am not completely sold on the chimis. They smelled very vinegar-ey, which we hope will bake out. Our vinegar may have been a "smidge" past its sell-by date but it smelled like, well, vinegar. No harm, right? Well, we'll find out in a few weeks when it comes up in rotation. If not, there's always pizza delivery.

We lined up our ingredients on the dining room table again to allow for more workspace in the kitchen. Hubby did the cooking and assembly-line work and I did the baking, mac n cheese and the bulk of the dishes (not by choice. Grr). I put the chicken into the crock pot with water earlier in the afternoon to cook, but the rest we started at 8 p.m. Sunday and were done by 11.

I am totally hooked. Hubby likes being in the kitchen but doesn't often get the chance and I don't always enjoy cooking unless I have company. Now this is something we can do together that is a project, but isn't nearly as stressful as home improvement. Like our bathroom/laundry room project the week before Leah's first birthday... Ugh. Not gonna go there.

So now I'm telling you to scan through your cookbooks or browse online and find things you can make ahead and freeze. It's fun, I swear!

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