SoBo Mama's Tips & Tricks

{November 16, 2013}   Fall Freezer Cooking Session

It has been so crazy in the House of Cheaptitude since school started back in early August.  We’ve dealt with work stress, school stress, Pioneer Woman coming back from Cuba (YAY!!!!), a death in the family, a major realignment in our social circle, and a lot of illness.  Sometimes, with so much going on, it feels like life is completely out of control.  And when life feels out of control, I lose focus.

Last week, I experienced a shift. To make a long story short, Grizz had to have his gall bladder out, and I spent three days at the hospital with him while trying to maintain the house, the monkeys, and prep for sub-of-the-day for my sweet 8th graders.  Somehow, this got me re-focused!  Go figure.  He was discharged on Friday and I spent Saturday shopping and playing in the kitchen.

Remember, when I do my groceries, I arm myself with my coupons and I hit the dollar stores along with the grocery store.

I spent a little more money than I typically would because I needed to re-stock so much, and I wasn’t being too picky about the sales.  Note – I am back to ten boxes of cereal in my pantry and paid less than $1.50 per box.  But I did have several ideas for my freezer in mind.  And I have 9 crockpot meals in my freezer.

I used several different websites to locate recipes, and modified them based on what I had on hand.  Some amazing sites I can suggest are Sidetracked Sarah (my personal favorite), Six Sisters’ Stuff (Real Chick SWEARS by their recipes), and Just A Pinch, just to name the main ones.

Unless otherwise instructed, I just dump everything in gallon-sized freezer bags and smoosh (technical term, Jack!) to mix well.  So this is what all I’ve ended up stocking now:

Potato Corn Chowder (I made 2 of these – been craving corn chowder lately)

  • 2 small bags of frozen corn
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • 1 can cream of potato soup
  • 1 can creamed corn
  • 1/2 bag of skillet potatoes (the little cubey ones)
  • cooked bacon – to taste

Most of my “canned” items came from the dollar stores.  I’m a total flop cooking bacon, so I put it on a rack in a pan and cooked in the oven at 400 degrees for 15 minutes – perfectly perfect in every way!

Freezer Beef Stew

  • 1 package of beef stew seasoning ( store brand is fine)
  • 1 package dry onion soup mix
  • 2 cans cream of mushroom
  • 1 bag frozen mixed vegetables
  • 1/2 bag skillet potatoes
  • 1 pound beef stew meat (mine was pre-cut/packaged) – I’ve actually used both antelope and deer lately, but this package is full of store-bought beef
  • 1 cup of water

Some of the sites I viewed said to brown the meat first, but I didn’t bother.  8 hours in the crockpot will cook it!

Creamy Ranch Pork Chops

  • 1 package boneless pork chops
  • 1 package ranch dressing mix
  • 1-2 cans cream of potato or cream of celery

Crockpot Chili

  • 1 lb browned ground meat
  • 1 package chili seasoning
  • 1 big can tomato sauce
  • 1 small can rotel
  • 2 cans chili beans
  • 2 cans light red kidney beans

Taco Soup

  • 1 pound browned ground meat
  • 2 cans chili beans
  • 1 bag frozen corn
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 can rotel
  • 1 package taco seasoning
  • 1 cup of water

I like to serve this with tortilla chips and lots of shredded cheese.

BBQ Chicken (for sandwiches)

  • 1 package boneless, skinless, chicken breast tenders
  • 1 bottle bbq sauce
  • water – I fill the bbq bottle with water, shake, etc.

After this is cooked, shred the chicken and serve on buns.  It’s excellent with baked beans and mashed potatoes.

Chicken & Rice Casserole

  • 1 package boneless, skinless, chicken breast tenders
  • 1 package frozen mixed vegetables
  • 1 package frozen broccoli
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 cup grated cheese
  • minced garlic to taste

Notice I don’t include the rice in the freezer package.  I tried once and the rice got weird in my crockpot.  Honestly, give it a shot and see how it works for you.  I just cook the chicken concoction and add the rice at the end.

Tater Tot Casserole

  • 1 pound browned ground meat
  • 1 bag frozen green beans
  • 1 can cream of mushroom
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 chopped onion
  • salt & pepper to taste – I actually use garlic salt and pepper as I cook the meat.
  • 2 cups shredded cheese
  • 1 bag tater tots – keep this separate from your freezer bag

When you get ready to cook this one, spray your crockpot with a no-stick spray.  Layer your tots on the bottom and then pour your concoction over the top.  I also add some more cheese.  I’ve subbed corn for the green beans before and tend to leave out the onion because of Grizz and the monkeys.

So 9 meals in the freezer and I was feeling productive and nested for a bit.  I also have a huge new stash of aluminum cans for projects….

And I’m totally excited today because my Aunt Sus messaged me her cookie clay recipe for salt dough ornaments. So much more fun than grading papers or cleaning the house!

What is your nesting routine as the temperatures drop?

~ Katie





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