I decided to make my Taco Seasoning today for the Freezer Cooking Frenzy, just in case I didn't have all of the spices and needed to add something to my shopping list. But, guess what? I did!
So, now that task is done and out of the way.
I made enough for 5 lbs. of meat. When I looked at my recipe (cause I usually just wing it) I noticed that I've been doing it a little differently over the last year or so. Here is the amounts for 5 lbs. of meat. I could just buy 5 packets of taco seasoning for a couple of bucks, but since I tend to buy bulk spices, as you can see from the picture, I might as well save some money and make it myself.
Even if you are not making a large batch of taco meat for freezing, you can still make up a batch of the seasoning mix and then just add a couple of tablespoons to your meat each time you make tacos.
5 Tbsp. flour
5 tsp. chili powder
5 tsp. paprika
3 3/4 tsp. salt
3 3/4 tsp. minced onion (I now use onion powder instead)
2 1/2 tsp. cumin
1 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 1/4 tsp. sugar
5/8 tsp. ground oregano (I substituted Mexican oregano)
I also started adding garlic powder, so 5 tsp. garlic powder is good.
Of course, you can adjust the amounts to your taste. Some days I add more cayenne pepper when I'm feeling the need for a little more zing.
Whew! That was quite a job, but I've finished the grocery list.
I'll be adding prices to the list as I shop. This is not to impress you, because I've lost the ability to do impressive shopping. Between work, school for me, homeschooling my daughter, church music director and bookkeeper, cooking, laundry and blogging, who has time to read the store ads? I'll do my best though.
This is not to say that you can't do some impressive shopping. I use to live on a $40 per week food, health, and beauty budget for four not too long ago, so I know it can be done. The reason I want to keep track is just to know if it is worth the time and effort as far as saving money is concerned. I know it will be worth it to not have the 5pm panic of "what's for dinner?"
I'll list the non-perishables first, then the meat, produce, and dairy, etc. I tried to be thorough, but I'm human. :) At the end, I've made a disclaimer of what I'm assuming everyone has, or should have, in their pantry already. I'm going to double check my spices, because I always think it's chili powder I'm out of, and then I buy another bottle only to find I have three already and it was something else. Cumin, maybe?
1 bag, Tortilla Chips
1 bag, Fritos
1 jar, Marinara Sauce
1 can ,Ro-tel Tomatoes
1 can, diced Tomatoes
2 - 28 oz. cans, Crushed Tomatoes
1 - 14 oz. can, Crushed Tomatoes
1 can, dice Green Chiles
1 can, Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce
1 jar, diced Pimentos
Beef Stock, 5 cups
Dry White Wine, 1/2 cup (I usually skip this, but thought I'd let you know)
24 oz. Dr. Pepper
3 large cans, Tomato Sauce
3 cans, Tomato Paste
1 can, Pinto Beans
1 can, Kidney Beans
16 oz. bag, Wide Egg Noodles
1 bag, Dried Pinto Beans
Flax Seed Meal, 1/4 cup
1 cup, Walnuts (or Pecans)
Molasses, 1/4 cup
Applesauce, 1/2 cup
1 pkg., dry Spaghetti Noodles
1 can, Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 can, Cream of Chicken Soup
1 box, Raisin Bran Cereal (any brand)
Peanut Butter, 2 cups
Oatmeal, 2 cups
1 bag, Chocolate Chips
Aluminum Pans, if you don't have your own pans to freeze casseroles in
Freezer Ziploc Bags, quart and gallon size
Whatever you plan to wrap the pans in: Freezer paper, foil, plastic wrap (I haven't decided yet.)
Eggs, 3 dozen
Butter, 2 lbs.
12 oz. Mozzarella Cheese
8 oz. Pepper Jack Cheese
24 oz. Cheddar Cheese
16 oz. Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Parmesan Cheese, 1 wedge
2 1/2 cups, Cottage Cheese
1 tub, Ricotta, whole
1 large tub, Sour Cream
2 pints, Heavy Cream
Whole Milk, 1/2 gallon
Buttermilk, 1 quart
2 loaves, crusty Sour Dough or French Bread
Limes, 1 bag
Lemons, 1 bag
Garlic, 2 bulbs
Onions, 1 bag
Green Bell Peppers, 5
Jalapeño, 2 (free from my garden)
Carrots, 1 bag (free from my garden)
Celery, 1 bag
Green Onions, 1 bunch
Turnips, 1 bunch
Blueberries, fresh or frozen
Bananas, 1 bunch
2 - 2 to 3 lb. Chicken Fryers, cut up
5-6 lbs. Chicken Breasts, plus however many more you want to grill
5-7 lb. Pork Butt (shoulder)
18 lbs. Ground Beef
2 lbs. Breakfast Sausage (or Italian)
2 lbs. Chuck Roast for stew meat
The Assumption List
Whole Wheat Flour
Salt & Pepper
Red Pepper Flakes
And...all the other common seasonings, like Chili Powder, Cumin, Italian Seasoning, Garlic Powder, Cayenne, Oregano, Nutmeg, Peppercorn, etc. There are too many to name, though I think I got most of them. The best places to buy cheap seasonings is in the produce section where they have the little packets or at the Asian markets. Even Wal-Mart has a .50 cent section.
I've chosen 20 recipes for my Freezer Cooking Frenzy. Maybe I'm mad, but it seems doable. I will be cooking, assembling, and freezing over a two and a half day period.
I've decided to have my Freezer Frenzy start on Sunday afternoon, September 8th, because I have Monday and Tuesday off from work. That means I have a couple of weeks to get organized, shop for sales on non-perishables, write information on the freezer bags, and then finish the last of the shopping on Saturday, the day before.
So, here is the list. I've added links to the recipes if you want to see them. You will notice that a lot of them are from The Pioneer Woman's website. Her recipes always turn out well, although they are not calorie-free by any means.
The number is parenthesis is how many meals each recipe will make, based on how much my family of four eats in one meal. For instance, The Cowboy Chicken Casserole would normally make a 9x13 pan, but I will be putting it into two 9 inch pans for two separate meals. We are pretty good eaters in this house, so there may not be any leftovers for lunch some days.
When all is said and done, I hope to have 34 dinners, 4 breakfasts, 6-8 lunches, and lots of muffins and desserts. Now onward to sales and shopping. I will post the grocery list tomorrow.
I've decided to take the plunge into freezer cooking. I've always wanted to try it, but never found a book that had enough recipes in it that my family liked. Actually, once, a long, long time ago, I did try out a set of chicken recipes, but I think most of them were so terrible, that I ended up throwing it all out (after I let it freezer burn for a while.)
So, I went through my recipe stash and online cooking sites this week and I found a lot of recipes that I knew we would like and that would also freeze well.
I started with The Pioneer Woman's suggested list of recipes that she used on a Food Network show. From that, I added some of my tried and true recipes, plus one from Emeril Lagasse.
I thought it might be fun to have some company while I'm suffering away in the kitchen, so I'm going to be posting all the info and links to recipes here over the next week or so.
First, I'm going to list all the things I'm going to make and the grocery list.
Second, I'll be watching for sales on the non-perishable items and buy those first.
Then, I'll set up the actual cooking schedule. I plan to be so organized that I'll wonder why I never did this before. My hope is that I won't collapse at the end of the day and vow never to cook again.
I suppose I should clean out my deep freeze before I fill it up again. I'll probably put some boxes in it to put the pans in so they will sit flat while they freeze.
Last, I'll set the two-day time when my calendar is wide open (LOL), then shop on the day before for all of the perishable items like meat, veggies, and dairy.
I plan to recruit my daughter to help with the cooking and assembly and my son to take pictures of all the beautiful food.
Being able to just pull dinner, and some breakfasts, lunches and snacks, out of the freezer will be a wonderful way to save time while I'm going to school online, homeschooling my daughter, working part-time, and most importantly, blogging!
Blogging is such a great way to keep me motivated and accountable. I'm open to all suggestions from the more experience freezer cooking wonders out there. I'm also glad to answer any questions if anyone wants to join me.