Ahhh … Fall is in the air! It is one of my absolute favorite seasons! There are many reasons for why I feel this way, however, the one that stands out the most to me is the desire it brings me to Cook & Freeze. Although I do this all through out the year, this season always seems to stir the excitement in me more than usual. I think it’s because it lends itself to more “freezer friendly” recipes.
As I talked about in my last post Back to Basics: Cooking & Freezing I do everything in manageable steps. Due to the amount of information I share on this topic I have broken the blog down into 3 posts. The title of this series is September C&F (Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3.) I hope this will help make it a little easier to follow and implement.
It’s a busy season of life in the Yarnell home so this time around I used the “short-cut” method for my freezer meals. What’s a “short cut” you ask ? This is where I use more pre-package ingredients. Normally I like to make everything from scratch however there are just times in life where time doesn’t allow for it.
Besides …. I would rather spend more time with these guys! They all need me right now in very specific ways and that’s my priority.
Day One: Planning
Inventory, Meal planning, Shopping List
I started the day by taking inventory of what ingredients I already had on hand. (I always want to try to use what we have before I purchase more.) I noticed I had lots of frozen broccoli, white beans, jarred pasta sauce, panko crumbs, onion soup mix, broth, and spices. I knew I already had a lot of the staples I needed for several of my families favorite meals. I began my “Meal Plan” and wrote the meals down. (White chicken chili, white bean kale soup, meatballs, french dip, chicken cordon bleu, and broccoli cheese soup). I then filled in the ingredients that were still needed to complete those meals. Once that list was done I doubled them! That’s 12 meals on the list right there!
First step of planning finished!
Now it’s time to look through my favorite cook & freeze cookbooks for more ideas. My personal favorite is Girlfriend on the Go. I’ve been using this cookbook for years and every recipe I have ever tried has been fantastic! After looking through my cookbooks, I carefully chose meals that share similar ingredients and use low cost proteins. I wasn’t looking for anything complicated this month. I was also looking to make this as cost effective as possible …. hence the “low-cost” proteins.
Once the menu was finished I wrote out my grocery list. Some people use fancy programs or apps. I just use good ‘ol fashioned pen and paper. It’s really a personal choice. I have never been able to convert over to digital in this area of my life.
I knew I would shop at Sam’s, Aldi, and Walmart. So … I made three lists to help me stay on track and more organized at each store. (Shopping at 3 stores work for me because they are all within a couple miles of my house and I save enough money to justify the time it takes. This isn’t always the case for everyone. You have to evaluate what’s right for you)
I was now ready to shop …. but not in that moment. That was for another day!