This time I focused solely on on chicken meals, since that's what was on sale ($1.59/lb). I packed the kiddos in the car one morning and headed out to the store, and came home with over 20 pounds of chicken. I might have told the wide-eyed cashier that we "were just hungry for chicken". I paid $32.45, made 18 meals (9 different kinds to be sure we had a lot of variety), and froze 1.5 lbs of chicken plain, because after doing all the other meals, I was pooped. Oh, and no....this does not mean my family will be eating only chicken for the next 19 days. I will definitely space these out over the course of a two or three months!
19 meals for a total of $32.45 (chicken price only)....averages $1.71/meal for a family of 4! Not too shabby! Ok, so the actual meal costs a little more....these are only the main dish, so I will add veggies, fruit, rice, etc to balance it out a little. And yes, there are ingredients in those bags along with the chicken....but they are mostly marinades or other inexpensive things like beans in the chicken chili....so the overall cost for the amount of food in each bag is still definitely less than $2 each. Even if it wasn't a money saver already, it ends up being a huge time saver and soooo convenient!
Again, the book I typically use is Once-A-Month Cooking and it's one I definitely recommend, especially if you are new to freezer meals. If you already have the book and are curious, here's the names of the recipes I made this round.... Mandarin Orange Chicken, Herbed Chicken, Chicken Chili, Chile Verde, Karen's BBQ Chicken, Sweet Soy Chicken, Cranberry Chicken, Asian Chicken, and Southwestern Chicken Soup. My favorites are the ones like Sweet Soy Chicken, which is a "dump recipe," meaning you just dump all the ingredients in the bag. The chicken marinates as you freeze and then thaw it out, and when it's ready to cook, it's already soaked up lots of deliciousness!!
Here's the super simple "dump recipe" for Sweet Soy Chicken....(I made a few minor adjustments)...
Warm marinade ingredients (1 c honey, 3/4 c low sodium soy sauce, 2 tbsp crushed garlic, 1 tsp ground ginger) until honey is melted. Pour over 2 1/2 pounds of boneless skinless chicken pieces, label and freeze. When thawed, pour into baking dish, cover with foil, and bake for 30 minutes at 350. Uncover, turn chicken, and bake an additional 30 minutes. I would serve this with rice, some veggies, and applesauce....makes a great meal.
Easy, right?? That amount of chicken is way too much for our family, so I split this and it makes two meals (plus leftovers for the next day's lunch!) The amount of cooking time seems a little excessive to me, especially if you are using chicken tenders like I do, so you may need to adjust.
Anyway, I heart freezer meals. I love the feeling of accomplishment and knowing I don't have to take time cooking each afternoon to provide a meal for my family that evening. This is also a great option if you know of a family in need of a meal....maybe they have been sick, or busy, or you just want to bless them! Every mom loves a night off from cooking now and then!
Here's a glimpse into my (now packed) freezer...
Ahhh....glorious! Do you have a go-to freezer recipe you'd like to share? Let me know in the comments!
Looking for more freezer-friendly recipes? Check out my other OAMC/freezer cooking posts here!
Linking up to a few of my favorites!!