Monday, November 30, 2009

Stocking the Freezer

I've always thought the idea of cooking ahead to have meals in the freezer was a good one, and I actually did a bit of that right before Benjamin was born. I've just never seemed to get it together enough to plan something like that on a regular basis. When I saw what Money Saving Mom and Fish Mama accomplished last month with their giant cookfest, I got excited about the possibilities. So when I heard they were going to give it another try for December, I promised myself I'd make a plan and jump in with both feet.

As with many of my wonderful ideas, I may be setting myself up for failure, but there's only one way to find out. I've spent the last couple of days trying to take note of what I already had on hand and brainstorming meals I'd like to get a jump on. I made lists and did most of my shopping today, although I may need to make a quick run in the morning. I begged and pleaded with kindly asked my husband to occupy the little ones since one of them seems to interpret my stepping foot in the kitchen as a signal to attach himself to my leg. As it turns out, they are excited because they get to trek to the airport to collect Grandma anyway.

I have to admit that I haven't been as organized as I would like with it all, but it looks like things are coming together pretty well. I'm eager to see the fruits of my labor and even more excited to think about having to cook less in December since there always seems to be one more thing that needs to be done this time of year. I'll be keeping up with everyone's progress and hopefully reporting some of my own at the Facebook event page and mostly via Twitter (#oamc).

Here is a list of what I hope to accomplish tomorrow and Wednesday:
Cranberry Pumpkin Muffins
Blueberry Muffins
Pumpkin Pancakes (maybe)
Granola
meat for carnitas
seasoned beef and sausage for meat sauce
Hawaiian Chicken
Chicken Pot Pie filling
black beans (cooked from dried and frozen)
pinto beans (cooked from dried and frozen)
meatballs
pizza dough
Chicken, Broccoli, and Rice Casserole (with adaptations for the cheeseophobe)
macaroni and cheese (por moi)
chicken tetrazini

I honestly have no idea how far I will make it with this list. I am prepared not to finish everything on it, and I have other things that can always be done if I surprise myself. I think it will be a fun experiment either way. And it will be wonderful if a day or two in the kitchen now saves me several hours in the kitchen later.

Do you ever work on cooking ahead to have meals in the freezer? Do you have tips for cutting down on time in the kitchen in general? I'd love to hear your ideas!

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