Friday, December 4, 2009

Meal Planning {SeRieS}: First Baking/Freezing Day

Today, I (Leigh Ann) had my first baking/freezing day. A few weeks back, I posted about a new way of cooking meals one month at a time. I know, that sounds like a lot to tackle, so I started slow by only cooking a couple meals.

Today I made:
  • Lasagna (doubled)
  • Taco Soup (doubled)
  • Banana Bread
  • Gingerbread Muffins
  • Granola Bars
  • Berry Cool Pie

See the recipes on the left sidebar or here.

Ways to be more productive next time:
  • A second large pot would be helpful if I am making doubled recipes of soups or sauces.
  • Make sure the meat has plenty of time to thaw out.
  • Read all recipes fully, and if some call for items to set for x number of minutes, then do that first when starting that recipe.
End results:
  • 40 Gingerbread Mini Muffins
  • 2 loaves of Banana Chocolate Chip Bread
  • 2 pans of Lasagna (9 x9)
  • 1 loaf pan of Lasagna
  • 1 serving of Spaghetti Sauce (leftover sauce from Lasagna recipe)
  • 2 loaves of Blackberry Granola Bars (Slice when ready to eat. I did not use the 8 x12 pan only because I did not have one, so I use 2 loaf pans.)
  • 6 containers of Taco Soup (5 cup Rubbermaid Take-Along containers, 1 container = 1 dinner for our family of 3)
  • 1 Berry Cool Pie

Overall, I had a great first experience cooking all day. I was organized and had all the ingredients I needed for each recipe, which I think is KEY. It would have been so stressful to not have something in the middle of cooking, especially since I was doing all my cooking during my son's naps today. He naps twice a day still for about 2 hours a piece, so I had a morning cooking session with all the baked goods and an afternoon session with the taco soup and lasagna.

Here is the spreadsheet I created called 'Freezer Cooking Day- Blog Edition' to help me organize my cooking day.

**The spreadsheet includes more meals and ingredients then I cooked today. I wanted to start slow, but also already had a couple Broccoli Rice Casseroles and Chili made up in the freezer. I still am planning to make the waffles but I am going to have to borrow a waffle maker from a friend.**

I am also working on an expanded spreadsheet of the one above to include the estimated cost per meal. I would love to know how much each meal costs to make, because I think it would give me more motivation to cook and eat at home more often. The thought of having food, already made, in our freezer, is so exciting to me and I am ready to see how our grocery budget will reflect the savings of not eating out when I do not feel like cooking one night.

Here is a helpful inventory sheet from Once-a-Month-Mom.

What do you think? Are you going to try it? If you are or have, then let me know what you think, if you saved money, ate out less, and any tips to be more productive. Let's help each other out to be better home managers.

-Leigh Ann

No comments: