I have gotten a great response since I posted last night about my recent adventures in freezer cooking. So this post is to give some more info and answers. First, here I what I now have on hand for dinners through February 19th (February 19th!!!!!!!):
- Chicken Helper
- Tuna Helper
- Hamburger Helper x 2
- Split Pea Soup x 2
- Rice and Beans x 4
- Spaghetti x 5
( These are all pantry based meals…I precooked and froze the chicken and ground beef in 1 lb quantities.)
- Chalupa x 2
- Italian Sausage Soup w/ Tortellini
- Sausage-Egg Bake
- Pozole Soup
- Turkey-Cheese Chowder
- Turkey Pot Pie
- Two-Bean Turkey Chili
- Jerk Chicken
- Jerk Pork
- Italian Slow Cooker Chicken
- Southwestern Chicken
- Chicken Supreme
- Garlic Cheddar Chicken
- Hot Open-Faced Sandwiches
- Barleyburger Stew
- Chili Cheese Bake
- Minestrone Soup
(all of the above came from this cookbook…this is the book that taught me how to do the OAMC process)
- Meatloaf x 2
- Vegetarian Chili
(these are family recipes)
- Hearty Beef Stew
- Pork Marengo
- Slow Cooker Enchiladas
(these are from this cookbook)
Okay now here are some tips and tricks for doing this method of cooking:
1) Start small. Try making a week or two at once, especially if you are making your own plan instead of following someone else’s.
2) Soups, casseroles, and most slow cooker recipes are GREAT for adapting to OAMC. Just prepare all the ingredients, assemble, freeze, thaw, and then follow the cooking instructions the day you want to eat the meal.
3) Mark all your meals with the name and date. They will be good for about 3 months. Use a sharpie!
4) If a recipe calls for pasta, fresh potatoes, cream, or half and half, wait to add it until the day of cooking. These don’t freeze well. An exception to this is lasagna. Lasagna is a great candidate for OAMC!
5) Make these lists as you plan: a meal list, an ingredient list, and a prep list. I use excel for the ingredient list. I type in all the ingredients for each recipe then sort alphabetically so I can figure the total quantities. I also have a column to note if an item needs to be processed before assembling the meals (chopping, cutting into strips, etc). This helps with the prep list.
6) I do my prep in this order: chop all vegetables, process all meats as needed for recipes, assemble meatless dishes, assemble chicken dishes, assemble beef dishes, and assemble pork dishes. MAKE A LIST!!! This will be your road map to get you through the day!
7) Shop the day or two BEFORE you plan to cook. The only thing I buy the day of is the meat. Go early in the morning and you may be able to get markdowns. Since you will be using the meat that day, this is a great way to potentially save a lot of money!
8) Put every non-refrigerated ingredient on a counter. Also place a trash can, measuring cups, mixing bowls, measuring spoons, cutting boards, and bowls to put chopped veggies in near your work space. This will save you time.
9) Clean up as you go. This is so important both for sanitary and SANITY reasons!!
10) Make it fun! I love blasting my favorite music as I work.
11) Keep your eye on the prize. About 2/3 of the way through you will be exhausted and ready to quit. But keep going!!! Trust me, the next month or more of stress-free dinners is sooooooo worth one long day in the kitchen. Also, it gets significantly easier each time you do it!
Phew that’s a long post! I hope this helps…let me know if you have any questions!