Monday, August 29, 2011

Warehouse Deals and Freezer Meals

What a weekend I had!  I was very excited to make my first trip out to Sam's Club to use my new membership.  I know what you're thinking... what on earth could a single gal need from a warehouse store?  Well, I'll be honest... I only go there to buy a few items.  But when I go, I get a great deal on things that make sense to buy in bulk/last me a long time.  Toilet paper, deodorant, Fiber One bars, canned cat food, 12-pack of Greek yogurt, freezer bags, etc.  Another thing they have at Sam's Club that I love is the MEAT.  This time I stocked up on some beef short ribs (to make Korean kalbi), ground beef, top sirloin steaks, and chicken breasts.  The chicken breasts come in a 12-pk., with two breasts each in individual plastic bags, so you can easily freeze everything and use at your convenience.  If you eat a lot of chicken, this makes so much sense; I can thaw two breasts at a time, without continually buying it from the store.  (Sidenote: I ALWAYS treat myself so some delicious snacks at Sam's Club's cafe... you can get a soft cinnamon-sugar pretzel for less than a dollar, and their hot dogs are amazing.)

My friend MC is going to have her baby TODAY, and I decided I would make some freezer meals for her family so they don't have to work too hard when they bring the new baby home.  So it made sense buying all of that meat this time, since I spent almost all of Sunday cooking.  I decided to make small portions of the meals for myself, and larger portions for MC's family.  By the end, I was EXHAUSTED.

I have two freezer meal books, Fix, Freeze, Feast and Make-Ahead Meals Made Healthy.  I ended up using recipes from Fix, Freeze, Feast (the other book uses more obscure ingredients) as well as some I found online.  Fix, Freeze, Feast makes HUGE portions, that is it specifically uses the trays of meat you get from warehouse stores to make three of the same meal at a time.  If you have a big family and a chest freezer, this totally makes sense.  I really, really like a lot of the recipes in this book, and I can see myself using this in the future.

But you don't need a cookbook to make freezer meals.  Just use Google!  There are a ton of resources out there, and if you push yourself to spend a whole day cooking, I guarantee you can make a couple weeks' worth of meals to just thaw/cook whenever you need them.  Put in the work up-front, and your weeknight dinners will be a BREEZE afterwards.  It's like using the slow cooker, but even better since you have a ton of meals lined up.

Recipes I made...
Cherry Skillet Chicken from Fix, Freeze, Feast
Habanero and Chili Hamburgers adapted from Fix, Freeze, Feast
Garlic Mashed Potatoes from Fix, Freeze, Feast
Cheddar & Cracker Chicken
Spaghetti Casserole

Another great website for freezer meals:  What's Cookin, Chicago?

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