I randomly get in these moods every few months, where I bake and cook a few things every day (in bulk) and stock up my freezer and pantry. I find that if I have already prepared meals that I can take out and bake we don't eat out as often. It saves us money and is a better alternative to fast food. Which we all pay for later ;)
It really doesn't take any more time than preparing one meal, you just do it in an assembly line and use foil pans to freeze in. I write all the baking instructions on the top of the foil with a permanent marker, that way I don't have to look anything up and it's idiot proof, LOL! I really like doing this b.c when I've had a busy day of 10 loads of laundry, floors to clean, a kid to run back and forth to preschool, baths to give, a house to clean and breakfast and lunch to make and clean up from....sometimes by dinner I'm just wiped out! At least I know I can grab a GOOD meal from the freezer, steam some veggies and throw crescent rolls in and the family will be happy.
I LOVE http://www.stolenmomentscooking.com/, not only is everything made from scratch (SO EASY), you usually have everything on hand! I found 3 desserts/snacks I'm going to make today and I have all the ingredients already in the house. So far, I have found that we like every recipe we tried! Seriously, my kids have NOT turned their little noses up to anything!
Yesterday, I made Pizza Stuffed Meatloaf (http://stolenmomentscooking.com/pizza-stuffed-meatloaf/). Just double (about 2 1/2lbs of beef) the recipe and you can get 3 full size loaf pans of this meal made. What I like about this particular recipe is I make my stuffing supreme! I add a TON of veggies and my kiddos eat it up like it's going out of style. On a busy day I can just grab one out of the freezer that morning to thaw and toss it in the oven for an hour. I just make some bread & butter with this and we are good to go.
I also made breakfast burritos. We are not a cereal family. My kids think cereal is a snack, then ask for breakfast, LOL! I guess that's really my fault! I love making breakfast items and freezing them. It's cheaper, super easy and always something yummy a step away. I use whole wheat burrito shells, I try to pick better items if I can, plus they were on sale for .99 a couple weeks ago...I have a FULL stock! I just cook up some breakfast sausage, use the peppers & onions I sauteed from my above meal, and scramble up some eggs. I just stuff them with whatever ingredients I have on hand and toss some cheese in there, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and freeze. Just toss in the microwave from the freezer and you have an instant hot breakfast.
That day, I was in the mood for blueberry pancakes...yummy!!! Make whatever recipe you desire. I use packaged blueberry muffin mixes and convert them to pancakes (http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090221085601AAlwRKH). I had blueberries that I had to use, so I smashed those up and tossed them in. I find they freeze better not whole. Anyways, I made a TON of pancakes (a few dozen). Just let them cool (warm to touch so you seal in the freshness when you freeze them) stack them in a Ziploc bag and freeze. I put about 6 or so per bag, since it's just the kiddos and I at breakfast during the week, nothing goes to waste when I thaw. I do this same technique for waffles. If you want those crispy put in the toaster. Oh, and french toast freezes very nicely too!
So, on my agenda today is Buffalo Chicken Spaghetti (http://stolenmomentscooking.com/buffalo-chicken-spaghetti/), so so good!!! I use a Chicken leg quarter put it in the crockpot frozen with some water and cook all day until it's falling off the bone. I also save my juice in containers for chicken broth for cooking! I love my own and stock up when I do this. You can just cook a chicken breast like the recipe calls for, however, I find dark meat is so much tastier in this recipe, plus I like my chicken stock :). To stock up on this sometimes I'll cook 2 quarters and make my sauce, add my chicken and freeze in large storage containers. Then when we decide to have this I can just cook some noodles, bake french bread and warm this up in the microwave. Simple!
I'm also going to make Ranch Cheesy Potatoes with Ham (http://stolenmomentscooking.com/ranch-cheesy-potatoes-ham/). I find this freezes well. For the ham you can buy already diced ham for $3 a container. I buy 2 and just make a few 9x9 foil containers of this recipe. Again, an easy recipe to pull out with and bake! It's also a nice change from always having beef or chicken!
If I make it this far, then I'm baking some items and freezing some cookie dough. On my list of wants:
Doughs to freeze, so I can make homemade cookies anytime, without a mess everytime!
Apple Jacks Cereal Cookies - you can use any cookies really! Great way to use a box before it goes stale - http://stolenmomentscooking.com/apple-jacks-cereal-cookies/
Snickerdoodles - http://stolenmomentscooking.com/snickerdoodles/
I'm going to make and freeze these (most likely over the next few days - a week):
Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Brownie cups - http://stolenmomentscooking.com/chocolate-chip-cheesecake-brownie-cups/
I have brownie mix (bought in bulk when I got it cheap) so I'll use a box on that part, vs. the homemade recipe.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffles (basically, no bake cookies) - http://stolenmomentscooking.com/chocolate-peanut-butter-oat-truffles/
Dreamy Jam Bars - http://stolenmomentscooking.com/dreamy-jam-bars/
Honestly, it really won't take much time to prepare the very first 2 meals. I just make more and freeze it. It will be like making my families dinner early tonight, but I will have 4 extra meals on hand! The cookie dough is a matter of mixing, which we all know doesn't take long. It's the baking and waiting to cool off part that does!
If you don't freeze meals, you should try it! I bet it will cut down the cost of you dining out and the frustration on dinner when you have been running all day, don't have any food in the house, or just need a night off!