Once. a. month. cooking.
I'm not sure if I have much more to say beyond that (but you know I always end up blabbing about something or another, so bear with me).
I'm pooped. I just spent the day grocery shopping and then making 10 meals to stock away in my freezer (four recipes, multiplied). Amazingly, the giant bag of onions I bought this morning is half gone, and the smell lingering in my house right now is proof.
But I do think this will all be worth it in the end. If all goes as planned, by the end of tomorrow there will be 29 dinners in my freezer, waiting for my hungry family to devour them at the end of each day.
There should also be enough for some lunch leftovers, too, but to convince Bo to eat anything other than the school's hot lunch is difficult these days. I think she likes the element of surprise--will it be corn dog day ... or chili and cheese with a giant cinnamon roll (my favorite)? Yes, I realize the school gives us a calendar each month that should take the surprise away, but I always forget to look at it.
Has anyone else done the freezer meals thing? As tired as I am right now, I might be hooked, especially since I just calculated the cost:
Our 29 dinners will end up costing us a total of $249.06. That's about $2.08 per serving, which, by the way, is cheaper than hot lunch at school.
I don't even want to tell you what we've been spending at restaurants over the last few months (read: ever since I got my teaching job). An embarrassing amount. I'll leave it at that.
So what's on the January menu?
1. Sausage and bean casserole. We ate one portion of this for dinner tonight--DELICIOUS. I know Martha Stewart has a reputation for complicated recipes that don't taste good, but I can honestly say that everything I've made from her has been very good. And I didn't take any pictures tonight, but I swear mine came out just as pretty as hers. I think we even used the same dish.
(image from Martha Stewart)
2. Deceptively Delicious' meatloaf, which is our favorite meatloaf recipe. Seriously. I know people have strong feelings about that book, but it's another source that I turn to a lot. I skip the deception, though. Like tonight, the girls were on their chairs at the kitchen counter and Bo asked if she could be the one to put the carrot puree in the bowl. She doesn't care ... as long as there's ketchup involved.
4. Enchilada lasagna.
5. Risotto con pollo (you know, risotto, chicken and frozen peas. It doesn't get any easier, but it's more fun to give it a fancy name).
6. Spinach pie, which is what our family calls something that is really more like a spinach calzone with turkey pepperoni, olives and mozzarella cheese inside. Roll up, bake and slice like stromboli. The kids go nuts for it, spinach and all.
7. Chicken-tortellini soup. This is one of those semi-homemade things, where you toss in some pre-made tortellini from Costco.
Speaking of soup, we made this one from Sunset magazine last week.
(image from Sunset magazine)
We've made it before. I go crazy for it. What is better than bread and tomatoes? Oh, bread and chocolate. But still ...
9. Baked penne with chicken.
And then we bought two ready-made things that looked really good:
11. Butternut squash ravioli.
12. Another pasta bake sort of thingamajig.
Do some doubling and tripling and you get 29 meals.
Will we get tired of repeating meals two or three times? Probably. But I will get through those moments by daydreaming about how to spend the money we're saving (hmm ... paying bills ... so sexy).
In other news ... how were the holidays for all of you? We had a lovely, quiet Christmas with the girls, thank you. I crafted up our Christmas breakfast table, but it was tough to get good shots of it.
I cut some branches from trees in the yard (is that bad? are you not supposed to do that during winter?), stuck them in clear vases and hung birdie ornaments that I made from brown paper grocery sacks and glitter.
I used burlap coffee bean sacks from a local roaster (Doma Coffee--great coffee!) as a table runner.
Next to them there cinnamon rolls is maple frosting, a little trick I saw on the Pioneer Woman website. Amazeballs. J and I were dying. I think I'm going to put maple frosting on everything from now on (including on my hips, which is where the maple frosting from Christmas now resides).
Magpie contemplates whether to eat the whole cinnamon roll or just lick off the frosting. She's 3. I'll let you guess which option she chose.
Red and green fruit for Christmas (I have serious guilt over how many miles those strawberries and kiwi had to travel to reach me in the middle of winter, but I couldn't resist the color scheme):
I did manage to give the girls a couple of handmade gifts, but I haven't taken pictures yet. In the meantime, here are a few other shots from our holiday vacation:
Paint-a-Nutcracker kit was one of the favorite Christmas gifts ...
Out for breakfast at (a fantastic restaurant here in Spokane called) Sante before seeing the Nutcracker ...
Remember my old rants about Disney princesses? Um, yeah, I'm responsible for this ...