The Pantry Challenge, though wearisome at times, seems to have renewed my overall interest in cooking and in being more creative in the kitchen. It was certainly a fun ride in January. But, rather than cook everything from scratch every night, I know that preparing a lot of food at one time and storing it in the freezer for later use is a fantastic way to buy me some time. That’s where freezer cooking can save the day. I’m excited to get cooking tomorrow along with Crystal and at least 200 other home cooks.
Even though this week we’ve been still eating from the pantry, I’ve done some prep work for #oamc. I know that life is picking up speed for us here, especially with my trip to Nashville scheduled for next week. So, preparation is necessary. Earlier this week I was able to defrost my empty freezer, wipe it down, and get it running again. I’ve got my freezer alarm ready to go, my plastic containers and freezer bags all lined up, and a low-key day of school work and educational films planned for my kiddos.
I also printed out my freezer cooking worksheet and mapped out a plan. This month I decided that rather than prepare a lot of casseroles that tend to be high fat and high carbs, I would prep proteins that I could later combine with fresh veggies and rice, pasta, or corn tortillas. I stocked up on chicken breast, both bone-in and boneless($1/pound), as well as pork strips ($1/pound) which I will grill, cook and shred, or marinate and freeze.
I also plan to make a bunch of baking mixes. This was so helpful during the pantry challenge. I found that baking from scratch is a really economical option for our family. The more I did it, the easier it became. But, I know that having mixes already in the pantry will make my life go even more smoothly and help us stay under budget.
And since we are trying to step away from processed foods, I’m also throwing in some other snacky type items like granola, applesauce, and breakfast cookies. And, yes, I’m holding myself back. On past freezer cooking days, I’ve gone a tad overboard, so I’m exercising restraint this time.
What’s Cooking at the FishHouse
- Nutty Granola
- mixes: biscuit, pancake, muffin, scone, and cornbread
- crockpot applesauce
- Trail Mix Cookies (going to healthify this a tad more – stay tuned)
- shredded chicken
- marinated chicken
- marinated pork strips
- grated cheese (for tacos, chimichangas, pizza, etc.)
Got a plan for February Freezer Cooking Days? Share it over at Money Saving Mom on Friday.