Baby Daivy has ARRIVED! If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I had lots of prep to do before she came (as explained in this pic). I had “make as many freezer meals as possible” at the top of the list. I enlisted the help of my friend and the best cook I know, Shandra from Deals to Meals, to help…and BOY did she help!
She came over on a Saturday morning and within 2 hours we were able to knock out enough freezer meals to feed my family of 5 for…wait for it…
(at least) 31 meals, for only $100, in just 4 hours!
(Yes, you read that right.)
My kids are young so it might be more like 15-25 meals for a family with older kids or teenagers. But still, that's a heckalotta goodness going on! Shandra is the mastermind behind the entire operation and recipes, so I can't take any credit. BUT…since you all went nuts about it on Instagram, I thought I'd share how we pulled it off.
Pssst…The best part of all of this? I picked Shandra's brain and we compiled
a 30-page recipe e-book of the best freezer-friendly meals that you can all download for
UPDATE: Believe it or not, I have hit my maximum number of free downloads (over 30k!).
I'm (sadly) unable to offer any more downloads for free. BUT…You can buy this entire Ebook today for the lost price of just $1.29; less than chicken nuggets! The majority of the proceeds go to fund my goal of traveling the country in 2016 to provide classes to YOU, in your HOME CITY! Additionally, a portion of the proceeds to go to help fight hunger through LDS Charities. So you'r not only doing your family good, but supporting me and doing good in your community as well!
Get your Ebook here:
Get the E-Book Here!
These recipes can be made immediately, or frozen for later. And trust me guys, they are UH-MAY-ZING.
Again, get your Ebook here:
Get the E-Book Here!
Now, let me get to the matter at hand and break down exactly how we got 31 meals for just $100:
The misconception about freezer meals is that you would have to make 31 different meals in order to feed your family for 31 meals. Not true! Just pick 5-7 of your favorite go-to meals, double (or quadruple!) the recipe, and freeze them in individual or meal-sized portions so you can pull out what you need, when you need it. Simply rotate through the meals so you're not eating the same thing every time and voila! Easy, peasy, beautiful…feed you for months.
Here are the meals we made:
- Taco meat (for tacos, enchiladas, taco salads, etc.)
- Chipotle Chicken Sandwiches
- Southwestern Burritos
- Asian Sesame Chicken
(Again, read to the bottom of the post to see how you can get the recipes for these and 25 other freezer-friendly meals!)
I always make sure to have bags of frozen veggies in the freezer that I simply steam in the microwave. So between the veggies and the freezer meal, BAM. Dinner is served.
Here's how we stretched these to feed us for at LEAST 31 meals:
- Lasagna – 4 HUGE pans. Each pan will probably feed us for at least 3-4 meals (12-16 meals total). Hind-sight, we could have used smaller pans and made 8 lasagnas, feeding us for 2 meals each. But these will be handy for when we have company over and I don't want to slave in the kitchen all day.
- Taco meat (for tacos, taco soup, ground beef enchiladas, burritos, taco salads, sloppy joes, etc.) – 4 pounds, and I tend to only use 1/2 to 1 pound at a time when cooking, so that's at least 4 meals for us.
- Chipotle Chicken Sandwiches – We froze 2 huge gallon ziplock bags of meat, and 3 bags of large hoagie rolls (about 15 sandwiches total) which would feed us for at least 4-5 meals.
- Southwestern Burritos – we made 34 (stuffed to the max!) burritos, and still had enough filling for another 5 more (ran out of tortillas). My family would probably only eat 3-4 burritos in one sitting so that equates to at least 8-9 meals for us. My husband has deemed these great grab-and-go meals, much better than store-bought frozen burritos. We will often microwave a few and eat them in the car on the way to an outing, or he'll toss one in his work bag for lunch. Super versatile, SUPER yummy!
(these are about 1/2 the burritos we made!)
- Asian Sesame Chicken – 2 Large bags of chicken, 2 bags of extra marinade to dress the chicken, and 2 boxes of pasta for the chicken to go over. Each bag/box would feed us for about 3-4 meals, so that's at least 6 meals.
We tried to be conservative on our final number, so we are aiming low and saying these meals could feed us for at LEAST 31 meals. Again, our kids are young and don't each much so we could stretch these farther than a family of 5 that has teenagers. But still…even if you only got 20 meals out of our 31, that's still amazing!
If you've been reading my blog for longer than 2.3 seconds, you know I've been obsessed with Deals to Meals for years (that's how Shandra and I became friends, actually…because I stalked her blog for so long!).
Their website scours the ads for the grocery stores in your area, then puts their best deals for the week on a spreadsheet, highlighting any FABULOUS deals in red. I basically go through the list, add anything in red that I'm in need of to my shopping list, print it out, then take it to Walmart to price-match (since they match anyone's advertised price within 30 miles of me) which saves me about 1/2 on my groceries each week. To see full details on how I grocery shop see HERE. (If Walmart isn't an option for you, you can just find the store with the best deals that week and shop there and you'd save just about as much on your shopping.).
She also gives you complete meal plans with recipes each week (including sides, main dish, and a dessert!) that help use up the groceries that are on sale that week. Really, it's amazing. Check Deals2Meals out HERE.
So that's how we got all these groceries for just $100!
As for the freezer pans, I get those from the dollar store (see what to buy and what to avoid from the Dollar Store HERE).
First of all, I had to make room in my freezer! See how I inventoried and organized my freezer HERE.
Shandra spoiled me and prepped much of the food before she came over. She said the prep took her about 1-2 hours at home, but she bought the same groceries for her own family meals that week and simply prepped them all at the same time…so it probably took her longer than if she was just doing freezer meal prep only.
Here's what she prepped before coming to my house:
- She blended up the lasagna cheese mixture, and made homemade sauce. (We ended up adding several cans of store-bought sauce to stretch it farther since my lasagna pans were so big.)
- She grilled the chicken for the burritos
- She cooked up the chipotle chicken sandwiches and asian chicken + marinades according to the recipes (which you can get in the Ebook below)
Together, we created an assembly line and assembled the remaining meals.
It took about 2 hours start-to-finish at my house (with lots of chit-chat that slowed us down, but was well worth it of course). Add that to Shandra's 1-2 hours of prep time, and it's pretty amazing that we got over 31 meals completed and frozen, for just $100, in only 4 hours! I'm still a bit giddy about it.
Moral of this story?
This isn't as hard or as complicated as it looks! You can do it, I promise. Freezing meals is a GREAT way to save you money in the long run, because it will bail you out on those days when you're tempted to order takeout.
Grab some girlfriends, get an assembly line started, and make a fun day out of making freezer meals together!
Now…how do I get that 30 page freezer meal recipe Ebook??
So glad you asked! Just click to purchase below for just $1.29:
Again, 100% of the proceeds are going toward my fund to travel to YOUR home town to teach classes to YOU, as well as fighting hunger though LDS Charities. Thanks for your support!
UPDATE: Check out my latest Ebook, 81 incredible Slow Cooker Recipes while you're at it!
Wheew! Sorry for yet another megapost. But I hope this showed you that by taking a few hours (and enlisting the help of a talented friend) you can feed your family for MONTHS, for pennies on the dollar.
If you’re new here, welcome! You can get all my budgeting and finance tips, and my secret sauce in my fun-to-watch video program Budget Boot Camp! You have nothing to lose because if you don't save or earn at LEAST what you paid for it, I'll give your money back. So use the code FCFBLOG at checkout to get an extra 10% off, and give it a try!