I don’t love to cook dinner anymore. I haven’t loved cooking dinner ever, really. I don’t think I have even really liked cooking dinner. I do love anything that makes a mundane and necessary task easier. Especially as a mom. And even more now as a new mom of two. There are two things that make cooking dinner really great: Advanced preparation & a crockpot. Have I ever mentioned how much I love a good crockpot? Seriously, if I could marry my slow cooker, I would. Over the past few months I was enlightened with the brilliant phenomenon that are freezer meals. Fully pepared, uncooked, frozen bags of food that you simply place in a slow cooker for 6-8 hours and have dinner with little to no effort. To make things even easier on myself I make sure that I always have slow cooker liners on hand. I did a gigantic batch of freezer meals today and while I made a lot of new recipes I haven’t tried yet, I thought I would share them here in an effort to save YOU time as well.
The first thing I did was scour the internet for some new recipes. In recent months I have made teriyaki chicken, tortilla soup, and other various meals, but this time I wanted to branch out to other sorts of meat too.
I wrote out 8 different recipes and then compiled a shopping list for all of the items I didn’t have on hand (which was most of the items, obviously). I then went “grocery shopping” (ordered online at Harris Teeter & let them gather my things for me, of course). I picked up my groceries today and set to work putting all of the ingredients in gallon-sized freezer bags.
In total, 14 meals cost around $75.00 - this is an average of $5.35 per meal for a family of four (three eaters, but I eat enough for two people these days, so go with four). Not only that, but our meals will be easy and, for the most part, well balanced. A couple of tips I have if you plan to embark on a freezer meal journey:
- DO NOT buy store brand freezer bags. Go with Hefty or Ziploc. I made that mistake one time and had SO MANY bags burst. It was infuriating to have fully prepared meals exploding out of bags.
- Make a list. Stick to it. Also, use your recipe list to group all of the items for each meal together before you prep anything. This way, you wont use all of the pineapple for one meal when it is supposed to be used with three different meals, for example.
- Always put in your meat and loose ingredients first, then pour the sauce overtop - it just makes things easier.
- Prelabel your bags before making the meals. Seems obvious to me, but you never know ;)
Onto the recipes! Here are 8 different meal options that I made today. Recipes that make more than one day’s worth of food are noted as well:
This is for you Wendy!
Since everyone’s doin it
This is always one of my favorites gift guides to do and I end up having to cut items out because I find too many things! Anyway, I narrowed it down to a few splurges, several gift card options and other affordable treats.
P.S. I’m adding the numbers on the end of the item description because the numbered lists aren’t displaying properly on my blog theme.
See the other guides coming up here.
- ZARA Biker Jacket, $90 (1)
- Clare Vivier Messenger Tote, $380 (2) - I know this is so expensy, but if you need a great quality tote that will last you for years, Clare Vivier is KILLING it right now.
- H&M Knit Turtleneck Sweater, $79.95 (3) - I should have saved this for the slug guide but couldn’t wait.
- AllSaints Theon Shawl, $245 (4)
- Anthropologie Cheska Wallet, $78 (5)
- C. Wonder Cashmere Chevron Gloves, $58 (6)
- Chick Lit Designs Book Clutch, $155 (7) - This store has tons of other options, including tablet and iPad covers—all with book facades.
- J.Crew Pajama Set in Gingham Flannel, $95 (8)
- Yuni Kelley Crystal Teardrop Necklace, $27 (9)
- Paula Bianco Chunky Infinity Scarf, $62 (from $85) (10)
- Michael Kors Oversized Lexington, $275 (11) - Ahhh! The new Michael Kors watches that have come out the last few months have been so good.
- Tarnish Chunky Knit Beanie, $24 (12)
- Maybooks Monogrammed Book, starting at $19 (13) - You can choose what you want inside the book too, whether it’s an agenda, pregnancy or fitness journal, blank lined pages, etc.
- Carnet de Mode Pyramid Stud Earrings, $19 (14)
- ZARA Plaid Scarf, $39.90 (15) - Okay, so I need to talk to you about this scarf. I got in the mail a few days ago and it is a behemoth of a scarf and I love it so much. So so much. It’s enormous, soft and looks like it’s eating my face. (I mean that in a good way.)
- Rifle Paper Co Gold Dots iPhone Case, $36 (16)
- Need Supply Co Twilight Sleep Cuff, $42 (17)
- Superga Pony Hair Sneakers, $140 (18)
- Yosi Samra Croc Embossed Flats, $75 (19) - Step away from the Tieks!
- French Sole Classic Ballet Flat, about $105 (20)
- Found My Animal Buffalo Plaid Pouch, $32 (21)
- Madewell The Zip Pouchette in Calf Hair, $78 (22)
- Graphic Image Python-Embossed iPad Mini Case, $115 - Add $10 for monogram (23)
- Mango Leopard Fur Pointed Toe Flats, $90 (24) - You can’t tell from this photo, but these have a perfect pointed toe. A good pointed toe design can be hard to find, especially at an affordable price point.
- Next Issue Digital Magazine Subscription, from $44.97 (25) - So this is really cool: you can gift someone a subscription to Next Issue and it allows them access to over 100 magazines on their tablet, iPad/iPhone, etc. Magazines include Allure, bon appetit, Dwell, Elle, Fitness, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, Lucky—ALL THE MAGAZINES.
- Drybar Gift Card, $10-$250 (26)
- Erin Condren Gift Card, starting at $25 (27) - Because a $50 planner doesn’t seem as dumb if you have a gift card!
- MUK LUKS Slipper Boots, $40 (28) - I have some Target slipper boots from last season and they are all I wear around the house. They are magnificent.
- Club W Gift Card, starting at $50 (29) - The next two items are kind of a set. Club W is a wine subscription club and…
- Crate & Barrel Camille Wine Glasses, $13 each (30) - …these are the wine glasses that Olivia Pope drinks from on Scandal. That’s fun, right?
Great Christmas list! I will take everything please!