As I’ve said before, a great way to save money is to eat meals at home. I don’t mean eat Take Out at home! 😉 I mean cook it yourself. Sometimes that seems nearly impossible because of how hectic our lives can be. I have been spending a lot of time in the car driving, usually at times when I should be cooking or eating dinner. Instead of going through a fast food drive through I’ve been cooking simple quick meals. Or premade frozen meals.
At the same time, I’ve been staying up late and pinning a tremendous number of recipes to my “Recipes to Try” board on Pinterest. Some of them I’ve pinned twice! I blame that on a desire for better or more elaborate meals. Many years ago I used to do batch cooking. Once a month, or every two weeks I bought a bunch of groceries and spent the day cooking meals and then freezing them. Most of the recipes just needed to be defrosted and reheated. Pulling the next night’s dinner out of the freezer and setting it in the fridge to thaw is a wonderful feeling! Unfortunately this method requires hours of free time to do the shopping and cooking. I’m short on free time right now.
One of the items I pinned recently links back to this site, Six Sister’s Stuff. The pin is for preparing 8 crock pot meals in advance and freezing them. Because you are simply doing the prep work in advance, not actually cooking the meals, it’s quicker than batch cooking. Since this seems to fit my current hectic lifestyle I decided to try all 8 meals. Here’s how it went.
Love the fact that she provided a printable shopping list separate from the recipes! Keeping it simple for busy people is a big plus. I already had some items in my pantry. I checked those off my list before going shopping.
I started cooking with an empty dish washer, an empty trash can and empty kitchen counters. I went so far as to remove the toaster. Because I’ve never made any of these recipes I didn’t know that I’d need a LARGE bowl to mix the Taco Soup. The soup will NOT fit into a gallon size bag, I used a Tupperware container in addition to the bag. You will also need a medium bowl to mix up BBQ sauce. And if you have a juicer you should get that out too. Now you know!
There was much more chopping of vegetables than I expected. Instead of one hour it took me just under two hours to make all 9 meals. (Pork Ribs were BOGO so that gave me a ninth meal.) I cleaned up as I went along and I took the time to get each meal into the freezer quickly. If I had done all of the chopping for all of the meals first it might have gone faster.
The real test of how worthwhile this is will be how the recipes taste. But clean up was easy, it definitely didn’t require a weeks worth of kitchen clean up! 🙂