» October 2012 «


Freezer Meal Schedule & Planning: Month #3


Hello friends. Let’s jump right into our third month of freezer meal schedules, grocery list and tools for planning (if you haven’t read Freezer Meal Schedule & Planning: Month #2, check it out first). Our schedule for month #3 worked out to be even better than the month before. This is getting easier and easier each month because we always have a few meals leftover so I don’t have to add as many new recipes to the mix and yet we still have much variety to work with.

Here is the link to our shopping list for this month. Our total store amount added up to $93.10. We decided we would allow an extra trip for milk each month since our freezer isn’t big enough to buy 2 gallons and freeze one. So our extra expenses for this month added up to $18 with one extra carton of eggs, milk and produce.

See our month #3 meal schedule.

Monthly Meals:

Dinner:

Chili over rice–leftover from last month (2 meals for 2)
Curried Carrot Soup–leftover from last month (new batch-8 meals for 2)
BLT Sandwiches
Tomato soup & Grilled Cheese sandwiches
Burgers–leftover (2 meals for 2)
Sloppy Joe Chicken Sandwiches (6 meals, new twist)
Taquitos (24 individual-6 meals for 2)
Potato Corn Chowder (2 meals for 2)
Hawaiian Chicken and Carrot slaw (8 meals for 2)
Spaghetti (5 meals for 2)
Baked Potatoes (5 lb bag, about 8 meals for 2)

Sides:

Oriental Chicken Salad
Homemade Cornbread
Rice

Lunches:

PB&J
Tuna
Small Baked Potatoes

Breakfast:

Toast & Jam
Eggs
French Toast
Oatmeal

Snacks:

Bananas
Apples
Yogurt
Grapes

Sweet Sloppy Joe Chicken:

I used the same sweet & sloppy joe chicken recipe as last month but we decided to use a rotisserie chicken at Ingles since they were on sale for $4.89 instead of chicken breasts. The rotisserie chicken proved to be a bit less expensive and yielded the same amount of chicken as the chicken breasts. Click link above to see recipe at “Freezer Meal Schedule & Planning: Month #2″ post.

Curried Carrot Soup:

I cooked up a double portion of our curried carrot soup this month because, well, it’s delicious! Click the link above to see our recipe.

Taquitos:

Since I used the last of the shredded beef in last month’s taquitos, I decided to go for simple rice and bean taquitos this month. We used brown rice, kidney beans, green onions, cilantro and a bit of cheddar cheese to fill the tortillas along with a sprinkling of adobe powder and pepper.

We bought a 40-pack of small flour tortillas, which were $.05 cheaper/unit than smaller amount packages.

Hawaiian Chicken & Carrot Slaw:

We bought our usual large package of chicken breasts and a bottle of Hawaiian marinade. When we get home from the store, we always cut the chicken into 8 oz portions (4 oz = 1 single serving). This makes it easy to quickly thaw a bag for dinner. You can choose to marinade the chicken before freezing or after it thaws.

Warm up your pan and get your chicken cooking. Now peel one large carrot with a potato peeler. Then chop your shavings into smaller pieces and combine in a bowl with chopped sweet onion, a dash of pepper and garlic, 1 tsp balsamic vinegar and a dash of red wine vinegar. Combine, chicken, carrot slaw, and rice in your tortillas and enjoy!

I love this recipe, it tastes very light, flavorful and fresh. We used the leftover tortillas from our 40-pack that was bought for taquitos. Ours lasted all month long but they freeze well too if you are worried about them staying fresh.

Spaghetti:

Kielbasa was on sale this month so we changed up our usual spaghetti recipe (which uses ground sausage) and substituted kielbasa. Yummy! I purchased some pasta noodles, diced tomatoes and tomato paste last month when it was on sale so I thought I should use up those items this month. Of course, I recommend sticking with what you know best and use your favorite spaghetti recipe. Divide the sauce into meal-sized baggies to freeze and when you’re ready for spaghetti, just thaw your sauce and cook up the noodles. My recipe yielded 12 cups of sauce.

Cornbread:

Simple and quick golden sweet cornbread recipe from all recipes. We poured our batter into muffin pans, which left us with 12 large cornbread muffins.

Snacks:

For our snacks this month, we tried to eat the bananas first, as they expire more quickly, the apples last us pretty much all month long. Yogurt Jack can space out with his lunches for about 3 weeks. The grapes, we separated into individual baggies and froze to be eaten later. They taste just as wonderful when you pull them back out.

I hope you found some helpful recipe ideas in this post. If you have any questions about recipes or amounts please leave a comment or shoot me an email. Be sure to check out the rest of the posts in this series:

Lowering Your Grocery Bill (Part 1): Many tips for lowering your grocery bill with once-a-month grocery shopping and freezer meal preparation and schedules.

Lowering Your Grocery Bill + Monthly Shopping (Part 2): A few more tips to help you make the most of your food purchases along with our first month of freezer meal planning and recipes.

Freezer Meal Schedule & Planning: Month #2: Our second month of recipes, grocery lists and planning.


Freezer Meal Schedule & Planning: Month #2


Hello Friends! I have two months of freezer meals, schedules and recipes to share with you today. You can link directly to Freezer Meal Schedule & Planning: Month #3 here.

Our second month of once-a-month-shopping and freezer meals was a little haphazard due to my lack of diligent planning on the front-end with meals, however, we made it through the month with only one extra trip to the store for a special dinner we hosted for a couple of friends. At the end of Freezer Meals: Month #1 we still had about six burger meals leftover, four carrot soups, and five servings of chili. Those meals were then incorporated into the next month’s meal schedule.

Here is a link to my groceries for month #2. I only included the food groceries for a general guideline and left off the detergents, lunch baggies, etc. There weren’t as many BOGO deals at Ingles this month but I took advantage of some of their discounts on chicken broth, kitchen bags and tomato sauces for the following month. Our total grocery store trip (between two stores) cost $102.47. Throughout the month, we also spent $12 more at the produce stand down the street.

Month #2 Meals:

Dinner:
Chili over rice–leftover from last month (5 meals for 2)
Curried Carrot Soup–leftover from last month (4 meals for 2)
BLT Sandwiches
Burgers–leftover (4 meals for 2)
Sloppy Joe Chicken Sandwiches (5 meals)
Taquitos (24 individual-6 meals)
Potato Corn Chowder (5 meals)

Sides:
Oriental Salad
Roasted Red Potatoes
Homemade Dinner Rolls

Lunches:
PB&J
Cheese Sandwiches
Tuna
Rice and Beans

Breakfast:
Toast & Jam
Eggs
French Toast
Oatmeal

Snacks:

Bananas
Apples
yogurt

Check out our first month of freezer meals for recipes that were re-made or leftover (carrot soup, roasted red potatoes, homemade dinner rolls, Chili)

Grilled Corn and Potato Chowder:

Since the weather was starting to cool down a bit, we decided to make another soup, and this time a bit heartier one. We chose this grilled corn and potato chowder from MyRecipes–it is awesome! I was a bit skeptical, especially as I was making a corn paste with our food processor, but it is really a treat. We ended up adding in more of the corn paste, because it added such a good flavor, and a bit more milk (1%). I did not use fresh thyme, just the ol’ dried stuff, and instead of actual corn ears, I used canned (cause it’s what I had) and grilled it with salt and red pepper before throwing into the food processor.

Taquitos:

We also bought a package of those mini flour tortillas, great for making taquitos. I pulled out my last bag of plain shredded beef from a roast we made last year and placed rice, beans onion, and the shredded beef into the tortillas, rolled them and lined them up in a casserole dish to freeze. Every time we wanted taquitos, we simply pulled out the dish, broke off four taquitos and baked them in the oven for about 35 minutes. We typically ate these with a side of rice and a salad. I used about 3 cups of shredded beef and 3 cups of rice and 2 cup of beans to make 24 taquitos (we adjusted this for the next month if you don’t want to use the meat).

Our last addition to month #2 of freezer meals was an experiment by me for sloppy joe chicken. I love normal sloppy joes, minus the grease and I wanted to at least pretend I was making a slightly healthier version by using chicken (we really like our chicken). I basically just started throwing things together to see what I could come up with and this sweet & sloppy sauce hits the spot every time. Seriously, it’s our favorite meal now, and yes, we continued it into the next month.

Sweet & Sloppy Joe Chicken:

4 large chicken breasts
2 cups ketchup
2 tbsp Worchsetershire
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp ground mustard
1 tsp pepper
2 tsp garlic powder
salt

Since it was our first attempt at this sauce we started off with a small batch and only used four large chicken breasts (the next month we tried it with one rotisserie chicken from the store ($4 and same amount of meals). Put the chicken in the crockpot, let it cook through, add the rest of the ingredients, allow to cook on low in the crockpot for one hour. Voila, sweet and sloppy chicken. We toasted wheat hamburger buns and piled on the sloppy joe chicken.

Hope you are able to find some helpful recipe ideas in this post. Be sure to check out the rest of the posts in this series:

Lowering Your Grocery Bill (Part 1): Many tips for lowering your grocery bill with once-a-month grocery shopping and freezer meal preparation and schedules.

Lowering Your Grocery Bill + Monthly Shopping (Part 2): A few more tips to help you make the most of your food purchases along with our first month of freezer meal planning and recipes.

You are reading Month #2 of freezer meal planning and recipes.

Skip ahead to Freezer Meal Schedule & Planning: Month #3


Baby’s StoryTime Quilt


A couple weekends ago I attended a baby shower for the most stylish mom-to-be I have ever known. Seriously, she’s so classy I wish I was her. Anyways, the invitation I received asked if I would contribute a children’s book for story time, I decided to continue the story time theme and also make her baby girl this pretty quilt to snuggle into while mom reads her favorite tales.

This little quilt was very simple as it was my first and didn’t take much time to piece together as I stuck with simple strips instead of squares. I cut 2 pieces of fabric the size of my large rubber cutting mat (a simple and easy measurement to make). I also cut one piece of batting the same size. Next I took one of the pieces of fabric and cut it into 4-1/2 in. strips.

Once all my cutting was complete, I placed two strips together, right sides facing each other and sewed up the one long side, 1/4 in. from the edge. I unfolded those two strips and aligned a third strip next to the second strip, once again with right sides facing each other and sewed 1/4 in. in from the edge. Now unfolded, I have three connected strips of fabric. Continue to join strips until all are combined into one piece. Iron flat.

Place a piece of batting on the wrong side of the pieced together square of fabric. Pin together. Now sew along the lines that join each individual strip of fabric. This is how we are going to get a quilted look (see below).

batting sew lines

Once you have sewn down all the lines, lay the untouched piece of fabric (the back piece with no stitching) right side up, then place the pieced-together fabric with batting right side down (batting up). So the batting is on top, attached to the wrong side of the front of the quilt and the right side of the front of the quilt is facing down and touching the right side of the back of the quilt. Confused yet?

Now pin the pieces together. Your top piece will most likely be a bit smaller than the other two pieces so once pinned, take your rotary cutter and trim the edges to match the size of the top piece. Now comes the sewing. Sew around all 4 edges of the fabric pieces, leaving a 4-5 in. opening on one of the long sides. Make sure you capture all the layers as you sew around the quilt.

Now, reach into the opening and pull the opposite corners through the slit, essentially turning your blanket inside out or in reality, right side out. Once this is done. Iron all the edges and iron under the small section that was left open. Sew a 1/4 in. from the edge all the way around the blanket making sure to catch the fabric at the opening in your sew line (see below).

quilted edges

That’s it. You should now have a very sweet little baby quilt. Now that you have the general idea you can make another attempt and add ribbon along the edges, switch up the fabric strip patterns and textures, or switch to squares instead of strips. Good luck!