…get your mind out of the gutter. I wasn’t talking about that.
As a super-busy lady (for the most part… I have my I’m-not-showering-or-getting-out-of-my-pajamas-I-don’t-care-what-you-say-husband-days) I am trying to figure out ways to save some time in the kitchen. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE to cook. I find it therapeutic. Relaxing. That also could be because when I am preparing dinner, my husband tends to migrate to the livingroom. I think his rationale is “If I mess with her, she might mess with my dinner.” Either way, it works for me. But with summertime coming to an end, the weight of impending holidays, social gatherings and back-to-school traffic sits heavily on my shoulders. So I asked myself where I could make up some lost time when it came to dinner, without sacrificing budget or taste? Enter that web-scouring I mentioned in my previous post. I came across this post about crock pot freezer cooking. Freezer meals are an awesome idea for so many reasons.
- You only have to food shop once a week. Eliminate all those trips to the grocery store to “pick up something for dinner”. Go read a book, get a manicure or learn to rain dance. Imagine the luxury of your time saved.
- It helps you stick to your budget. Since you’re planning what you’re going to purchase (and going to the store with.a.list. WITH A LIST, PEOPLE) unexpected expenses tend to not arise as much.
- Prep time is small. Cook time is even smaller. Once you have everything portioned, you throw the ingredients into a gallon-sized zip-lock bag and into the freezer they go! Before you leave for work, take one out, toss it in the crock on low. 8 hours later – freaking dinner baby. This is the important part for me, because I can barely function in the morning, let alone chop and dice. Finger a la mode, anyone?
So I decided to give it a whirl. I got ingredients for salsa chicken, ham and au gratin potatoes, pepper steak and Hawaiian chicken. Four different types of dinners, 8 meals total. Chopping and separating everything took 30 minutes. Which, divided by the 8 separate meals that they are, is 3.75 minutes of prep time. Besides ordering pizza – it doesn’t get faster than that.
Here is my Salsa Chicken:
- Package of chicken with 5 boneless chicken breasts
- 2 cans of dices tomatoes with green chilies
- 2 cans of black beans
- 1 jar of salsa (store brand, baby. alldayerrrrryday)
- 1 packet of taco seasoning (I use light sodium because my insides like to re-enact the American Revolution when I hang out with salt)
- 1 bag of shredded cheddar
- 1 large bag of frozen corn
First, I labeled each zip-lock bag with the name of the dinner, and directions/additional ingredients. Much easier than taking out my phone the morning of and trying to find the recipe real quick for cook time.
I sliced the chicken breasts (hamburger-style?) to thin them and then cut into halves, so my 5 whole pieces of chicken ended up as ten chunks in each zip-lock bag. After that, I emptied half of each ingredient into one of the two zip-lock bags over the chicken. I didn’t drain the beans or the tomatoes because I wanted to have enough liquid in the crock pot the day of. So I opened the can, and in they went.
And voila! Two dinners. No prep time when it comes to the day of. I will just take one bag out, put it in the crock pot, set on low and go on my merry way.
Maybe I’ll even come back and eat it.