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Monday, January 6, 2014

Frozen Meal Prep

     I've been so excited to share my meal prep with you! Last month I went on a rampage of mass prepping before Taylor arrived. Along with deep cleaning and organizing every square inch of the house, I also did some meal prep. Warning: addicting! I'm slightly obsessed with this and am definitely going to make another set of meals before I head back to work in a few weeks.
     I made a total of 14 bagged meals, each meal consists of four individual servings, which comes out to 56 individual servings total. One individual serving feeds one person, so 56 servings= 56 meals!  Each meal cost exactly $2.67 at that rate. Not too shabby! With the help of my friend, we were able to prepare all of the meals in two hours! I was pretty excited about the whole ordeal. Here's how I did it...
 Step 1: Recipes
Below are the 10 recipes I used to prep. Although it's 10 recipes, the BBQ Chicken and Veggies makes 2 meals and the Minestrone Soup makes 3 meals. They're all slow cooker recipes, so when I'm ready to cook them, all I have to do is let them thaw for 24 hours in the refrigerator and then throw it in the crock pot and smile.

Tortilla Chicken Stew
·      1 ½ lbs. chicken breasts
·      1 (12 oz) jar of salsa
·      1 lb frozen corn
·      1 lb mixed bell peppers
·      6 corn tortillas, ripped or shredded by hand
Cook in slow cooker for low for 8-10 hours.
Recipe adapted from The Gracious Pantry

Chicken Taco Chili
·      1 onion, chopped
·      1 16 oz. can black beans
·      1 16 oz. can kidney beans
·      1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
·      10 oz. frozen corn
·      2 14.5 oz cans of diced tomatoes
·      1 packet taco seasoning
·      1 tbsp. cumin
·      1 tbsp. chili powder
·      3 chicken breasts
·      Chopped cilantro
·      Chili peppers (optional)
Cook in slow cooker on low for 10 hours or high for 6 hours.
Recipe adapted from Skinny Taste

BBQ Chicken and Veggies
·      2 green peppers, chopped
·      1 red pepper, chopped
·      1 zucchini, chopped
·      3 onions chopped
·      6 red potatoes, chopped
·      4 garlic cloves, chopped
·      4 chicken breasts
·      1 15 oz. can of tomato sauce
·      1 tbsp. brown sugar
·      1 bottle of BBQ sauce
Split ingredients into two bags (yay for two meals!)
Cook in slow cooker on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours
Recipe adapted from Mama And Baby Love

Minestrone Soup
·      1 red onion
·      4 cloves of garlic
·      1 small bunch of chives
·      1 medium bunch of basil
·      3 15 oz. cans of tomato sauce
·      1 28 oz. can stewed tomatoes
·      2 32 oz. cartons of vegetable broth
·      6 large carrots
·      1 lb. zucchini
·      1 small eggplant
·      2 15 oz. cans of kidney beans
·      1 lb. frozen peas
·      1 lb. frozen corn
·      ½ lbs. mushrooms
·      5 stocks of celery
·      2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
Chop vegetables and herbs. Add all ingredients into bag. This makes tons of soup and had to be divided into 3 bags (yay for 3 meals!) Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Add dry pasta noodles during the last 30 minutes of cooking.
Recipe adapted from The Gracious Pantry

Southwestern 2 Bean Chicken
·      4 chicken breasts
·      1 15 oz. can pinto beans
·      1 15 oz. can black beans
·      1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
·      1 lb. frozen corn
·      1 12 oz. jar of salsa
Cook on low for 5-7 hours.
Recipe from The Gracious Pantry

Turkey Chili
·      1 lb. ground turkey
·      10 oz. frozen corn
·      1 yellow onion
·      28 oz. diced tomatoes
·      16 oz. tomato sauce
·      4.5 oz. chopped green chilies
·      15 oz. red kidney beans
·      2 tbs. cilantro
·      2 tbs. chili powder
·      1.5 tsp. red pepper flakes
Cook on low for 4-6 hours.
Recipe from Once A Month Meals

Teriyaki Chicken
·      6-8 boneless chicken breasts
·      1 cup teriyaki sauce
·      1 cup water
·      2/3 cup brown sugar
·      3 cloves of garlic
Cook on low for 4-6 hours.
Recipe adapted from Ashley Noel Barnes

Sweet BBQ Chicken
·      4-6 chicken breasts
·      12 oz. bottle of BBQ sauce
·      ½ cup brown sugar
·      ¼ cup vinegar
·      1 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
·      1 tsp. garlic powder
Cook on low for 4-6 hours.
Recipe adapted from Ashley Noel Barnes

Lasagna Soup
·      1 lb. ground turkey
·      1 onion
·      1 bell pepper
·      3 cloves garlic
·      32 oz. chicken broth
·      2 tbs. seasoning combination (basil, oregano, crushed red peppers)
·      1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 3 hours. Thirty minutes before done add dry pasta (2 cups) and garnish with Parmesan cheese.
Recipe adapted from Guide 4 Moms

Super Food Rotini
·      1 ½ lbs. lean ground turkey
·      1 tbs. olive oil
·      2 medium zucchini
·      2 medium carrots
·      1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
·      1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
·      ½ lb. whole wheat rotini
·      1 tbs. onion powder
·      1 tbs. garlic powder
·      1 tbs. cumin
·      2 cups raw spinach
Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Thirty minutes before done add ½ lb of rotini noodles and top with Parmesan cheese.
Recipe adapted from The Gracious Pantry

Step 2: Label bags
Once I settled on the recipes, I wrote down the recipe and the cooking directions on a gallon freezer bag.
Step 3: Grocery List & Shopping
After deciding exactly what to make, I complied a mass grocery list of everything I needed and headed off to the store. Here's my grocery list for the 14 meals.
Grocery List
Green peppers-2
Red peppers- 1
Zucchini- 7
Onion- 5
Red potatoes- 6
Garlic cloves- 14
Chicken breasts- 30
Tomato sauce- 7 cans
Pinto beans- 1 can
Black beans- 2 cans
 Diced tomatoes- 6 cans
Frozen corn- 5 lbs.
Salsa- 2 jars
Kidney beans- 4 cans
Taco seasoning- 1 packet
Ground turkey- 5 lbs.
Yellow onion- 1
Green chilies- 1 can
Cilantro- 1 bunch
Mixed bell peppers- 2 lbs.
Corn tortillas- 6
Red onion- 1
Chives- 1 bunch
Basil- 1 bunch
Stewed tomatoes- 1 can
Vegetable broth- 2 cans.
Carrots- 8
Eggplant- 1
Frozen peas- 1 lb.
Mushrooms- ½ lb.
Celery- 1 bunch
Raw spinach- 1 bunch
Chicken broth- 1
Crushed tomatoes- 1 can
Teriyaki sauce- 1
BBQ sauce- 2

I didn’t include spices, vinegar, oils, sugars, etc. that you most likely already have at home. If you don’t normally stock your pantry with these essentials, go back through the recipe list and double check for extra items you may need.

Step 4: Prepare meals
I prepared the meals just as the directions indicated. I poured everything into the gallon freezer bags and then put them flat in the freezer. 24 hours before you cook a meal, put the bag in the refrigerator and let it thaw. You'll quickly realize that it's impossible to put a frozen, square meal into an oval crock pot so thawing it is really important. When I'm ready to cook, I simply throw them in the crock pot!

Again, here's the final breakdown:
-56 meals
-$2.67 each
-2 hours (with two people)
 Pretty darn excited about this wonderful experience and it has been a lifesaver so far! It even motivated me to prep some healthy smoothies...post coming soon!