Monday, March 5, 2012

Meal Plan Monday - A Freezer Cooking Experiment

As I was browsing Pinterest this weekend, I came across a fabulous food blog, What's Cookin' Chicago?. I spent the better part of Nolan's afternoon nap clicking through recipe after recipe. The blogger's ideas for freezer cooking really caught my eye. I've been interested in the concept for a while but have found recipes that just don't match my cooking style. What's Cookin' Chicago? changed that.

All of the recipes on What's Cookin' appear to feed four or more people. I only need to feed two adults and baby. I'm planning to make the dishes as directed in the recipes, not cutting them in half. I'll cook half  for dinner on a given night and freeze the other half for a future meal.

I know that this isn't exactly how many approach freezer cooking - spending a few hours on one day, cooking up a storm and freezing everything that's made - but it seems like a way to build a little stock pile of meals, while testing to see if freezer meals work for us.

After surveying the fridge and pantry, I picked out a few meals that would minimize the groceries I'll need to pick up. I've planned more meals than I'm likely to make in one week, but I like to have backup plans incase we don't go out for dinner on Friday or Saturday. Here's a look what's for dinner at our house this week. The freezer meals have been starred.

Meal Plan for the Week of March 4th

Sunday's Meal - Chicken Cacciatore - I threw this crock pot meal together during Nolan's morning nap. I knew I wasn't going to feel like cooking come dinner time, and crock pot cacciatore was a simple solution using ingredients that were already in the house.

*Smothered Pork Chops - This recipe uses bacon and mushrooms, which I happened to stock up on during sales at Harris Teeter and Aldi. You can pick up Oscar Mayer Bacon for $0.49 at Harris Teeter (until Tuesday evening) by linking a $3.00 e-vic coupon to your store card.

*Spinach Stuffed Shells - I bought a few bags of spinach at Aldi, where's it's on sale (at least in Durham) for $0.69/bag. I also have Italian blend cheese and the ingredients to make some sauce, but I'll need to pick up jumbo shells and ricotta. I plan to skip the Italian Sausage and make this a meatless meal.

* Balsamic Fig Chicken - This is a freezer recipe that heats in the slow cooker. I have the ingredients in the house, except for dried figs. Honestly, I'm not sure what a dried fig looks like or exactly where in the grocery store I'd find one. In the produce section with the nuts??

Spinach and Bacon Pasta - This seems like an easy way to use up the leftover spinach.

Fajitas - I have everything in the house to throw this meal together.

Tofu in some form - The recipe that's linked is more or less the way I often prepare tofu, but I might try something new and pair it with quinoa and greens as suggested. I'll be using tofu that I stocked up on during Harris Teeter Super Doubles.

*Moroccan Chicken - The picture of this meal was drool inducing...and it's made in the slow cooker. Even better. I'm thinking about pairing this with roasted cauliflower (on sale for $0.89 at Aldi).

Reader Response: What's for dinner at your house this week?

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