Thursday, April 29, 2010

May Freezer Cooking Days: Cooking list

Time once again for May Freezer Cooking Days, hosted by FishMama at Life as MOM and Crystal at Money Saving Mom.

When I plan out my freezer cooking, I don't just decide what I want to make and then go buy ingredients for the recipes.  That would be just as bad as doing that each night for dinner!  Instead, I ask myself a few questions:

What do I need to use up?

I check my cabinets, refrigerator, and freezer to see what's in there and what I want to use.  For instance, right now there's a huge jar of applesauce in the refrigerator.  But my kids aren't as enamored of applesauce as they used to be, so it would be a good candidate to use up in some baking.

What can I get in bulk cheaply?

I often see produce marked down dramatically, but I don't buy it because it would need to be used up quicker than our family of 5 could.  But freezer cooking is perfect for buying produce in bulk, then preparing it for the freezer.  This week, I found 5-lb. bags of white potatoes and sweet potatoes at a local supermarket, marked down to 99¢.  I bought a bag of each, and they'll be featured.

What convenience items are we out of?

My cold cereal stockpile has been running low, and I don't want to spend a lot of money to add to it - I'd rather wait until a great sale comes around.  So I'll be making granola to fill this void.  Also, we are pretty much out of canned beans.  But a couple months ago I discovered how easy it is to make dried beans in the crockpot and freeze them for future use, so I'll be doing that.

How much time do I have to cook?

When I don't have a lot of time for cooking, I'll try to plan items that don't need as much hands-on time - in particular, items for the crockpot.

So here's what I plan to make:

Blueberry waffles
Applesauce pancakes
Oven-roasted potato wedges
Oven-roasted sweet potato wedges

Crockpot Chicken and Olives
Kidney beans cooked in the crockpot
Black beans cooked in the crockpot
Chocolate fudge cookie dough

This is quite the list for me, so I am hoping I can accomplish all this! 

Please follow me on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook to follow my progress throughout the weekend.

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Anonymous,  April 29, 2010 at 12:20 PM  

My children are grown up and I have altered my freezer habits. For years, my freezer was packed with meals on the spot.

Now, I am enjoying freshly cooked meals and my freezer is not so full.

I do keep extra baked goods in there for that last minute guest. I would sat the baked goods take up the majority of space rather than dinner items.

Julie April 30, 2010 at 10:08 PM  

My plan usually has to do with what I need to use up too. It is a great way to use up items that were found on sale.

Christa May 3, 2010 at 10:25 AM  

These are great questions to ask yourself! You're so right about running out to buy everything at full price -- too many people do that, and there go your savings.

I never thought about taking stock of convenience items (like cold cereal) and planning to make the homemade versions. I used to make granola quite a bit, but our cold cereal stockpile is pretty built up at the moment. But thanks for the idea ... When we get low, I'm going to remember this!

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