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My Best Time and Money Saving Tool In The Summer...

Bulk Batch 'Cooking'. AKA: Meal Prepping.

Let's face it... Time and Money are two commodities we mama's hate wasting. So after some research I decided to give freezer meal/prep work a whirl to see if I could shave some wiggle room into the grocery budget and free up a few hours of my day. To say it helps a lot is an understatement.


For our crew, I did find that the 'traditional' super saucy, crockpot dependent variations of meals caused meal option burnout super fast and actually left us spending more money to curb that than we had hoped. So my remedy for this? I only batch prep meals that can be prepared in the crockpot and/or oven. This means I didn't do full dump and slow cook meals. I will prep meals like casseroles, soups, roasts, chicken dishes that will be served alongside a SIMPLE and fast prepared side dish (think salad, dinner rolls, rice, fresh steamed veggies, ect.)


It also begs for mention that in the peak of our Southern Heat months, I do use my crock pot more to avoid turning on the oven and heating the living area. This will also help cut on utility costs overall. Maybe not a TON, but enough to notice. And in this day and age, any and all money saving methods are being implemented in my house.


I recently did a 'freezer restock run'. For me this looks like restocking meats, frozen veggies (I only get enough to last until and our summer harvest time frame. At which time we are hopeful to be able to harvest enough to cover summer produce and well into fall/winter), aluminum casserole pans with correlating lids, freezer bags, frozen juice concentrates and frozen fruits for smoothie packs. Currently where I am at, a 48lb case of boneless skinless chicken thighs is $160, a 40lb case of Boneless skinless breasts are $104, a 10lb pork loin is about $20, a case of ground turkey that is roughly 20lbs is $60, and a 10lb roll of 90/10 ground beef runs me about $45. Because we are not heavy beef and pork eaters, I am able to purchase just one of those 10lb rolls each and portion them out into our meals. Because of the size of the cases I just restock those every 4 months or so. Now keep in mind, our family consumes heavy amounts of produce compared to meat, and there are 8 of us eating now. So if you follow this method you may need to adjust the quantities. But for now, I can spend roughly $350 on meat, and about $100 on supplies to create the meat base of our meals for on average 12-16 weeks if we ONLY ate from the freezer. I find in the cooler months this can last far longer because I enjoy baking more frequently when my house isn't the temperature of hades. Now this is NOT my final number for a freezer restock, we're working that way so hang tight.


Now I will pick 10 meals, that are comprised of those meat choices, and I will make each one to repeat 8-10 times; depending on the meal. I also factor in the season of the year, and how busy we anticipate being over the next 3-4 months. So this process does require a bit of planning, but I do keep in mind that life is flexible, and the meals should be too.


This current restock meal list is as follows:

1: Taco Meat (I use the ground beef for this); x5

2: Spaghetti Sauce (Here I'll use a good bit of the ground turkey); x10

3: Lasagna (Ground Turkey again); x6

4: Italian Chicken Thighs for the grill; x10

5: Creamy Chicken and Kale Casserole (this will use breasts); x8

6: White Chicken Chili (This is breasts as well); x8

7: BBQ Pork (This is breasts and will be used for sandwiches & stew)x5

8: Chicken Fajitas (Thighs on this one, just trust me) x8

9: Cashew Chicken (Breasts); x10

10: Orange Chicken (Whichever there is left on the Chicken) x8


So as you can see, the list isn't anything extravagant. The taco meat, I'll go on and full cook that then once cooled package into 2lb bags and freeze. This will be a grab and go for tacos, or even be added to a quick taco soup. Spaghetti sauce is one I'll also fully cook the meat first, and once cooled add my sauce fully seasoned then freeze. These will be one I most definitely dump into the crock pot and let simmer all day. It'll have the option of being served on pasta or some form of veggie 'pasta'. It also is good for me to note that I will cook the lasagna meat at this time as well and while I've got the red sauce going, I'll just go on and whip out those 6 lasagnas so they're ready to bake once I've thawed them out. The only other meal on that list in which I will precook the meat for is the Creamy Chicken and Kale casserole. Those will get diced and sautéed, then put in with the sauce portion of the casserole. Here you can, should you choose, to precook the penne pasta and mix/freeze so it is over ready like the lasagna, but for us, I will typically thaw the 'sauce' then cook the past and stir together the day we eat it. It does well either way, but that is just the way our crew prefers it! Literally every other meal, I will add meat and seasonings/marinades to the freezer bags and freeze since they will either be turned into sammies, rice dishes or used to top a fresh produce. SUPER easy.


Since Walmart is pretty much universal, I added all the items I would use to accomplish this restock (minus the meat and listed items from Sam's Club) to a cart to get TODAYS prices. 'Cause God knows those prices are changing by the day. If I take every single thing I listed and treated it like I had nothing in the pantry to pull this off, my total would ring in to the tune of $341 At Walmart, and again roughly $350 at Sam's, for a total of $691 for 78 meals to feed our family of 8. That is also the cost of what it would be if I had to buy allllll the seasonings down to salt and pepper. Which I don't ever have to do. So it's cheaper that that for us. Upfront that feels like a lot, because again, this is a restock. This isn't including my weekly shopping, however, when I look at what pizza or take out on one of our busy nights or days I just don't feel like cooking would cost, this is going to be SIGNIFICANT savings over this summer.


If you're super into numbers I'll break it down further for you:

78 Family Dinner at a total of $691 after tax

Family of 8= $8.85/ nightly dinner

Individual Dinner Cost= $1.10/person (*+what ever the sides served end up costing factored on top)


So for us.... I will not find anywhere that each of us could eat for under $2/person


I'll note, I pull about $75/two weeks from our grocery budget to be able to do this every 4 months. Some folks can go and drop this without blinking, I cannot. So I plan for this. But I plan for this so I can have time away from kitchen duty or the freedom to do more over the summer without worrying about dinners for our crew. That makes this worth it for me.


If there are recipes from the list above you'd like to see that aren't already on the food section, be sure to message me the name of the ones you'd like and I'll be sure to add them!


As always, you mamas have a blessed day. Love those babies well and know you are ROCKING it!





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2 comentários


Convidado:
30 de mai.

Is the lasagna you mention here, the same recipe as the one in the food section? Or do you change it to be freezer friendly? My children love eating lasagna and if I can make a good one I'd like to try :]

Curtir

Convidado:
30 de mai.

Would LOVE to see the Cashew Chicken Recipe!

Curtir
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