Wednesday, July 22, 2009

DeAna Answers

I had no idea what to title this post. But I had a few comments to the post about my July freezer meal day that I wanted to answer. I started to respond by adding my own comment, but it quickly turned into a 5 paragraph essay, and then a short story, and before I knew it, it looked more like a 300 page novel! That's what I get for having an English degree.

So I thought I could best serve you by responding in a post instead. :)

Melissa said...
I have the Old World Manicotti recipe that I got from you a long time ago and we make it often. How do you make it without cheese, though??
Hey Melzie! I'm so glad you've been able to make that recipe. I should have been a little clearer on the caption for that picture. I took the pic before sprinkling cheese on top of the sauce. So the manicotti is stuffed with cheese, but there isn't any visible cheese in the picture. I love using feta cheese in lieu of ricotta. My M-I-L made it one time for us, and she used ricotta. It just wasn't the same, and even hubs wasn't crazy about it. I don't know how I would go about making it without cheese, but the thought just occurred to me that I might be able to improve it by adding some spinach, like you might find in a lasagna. The wheels are already turning...

Debbie said...
I think it's brilliant that you do this. Do you have a big spare freezer that you put all these meals in? How long does it usually take you to do all the cooking, and the cleaning up afterwards?
Thanks, Debbie. It has been a real blessing for me ('cause I'm able to maintain some level of sanity b/c I'm not so stressed out in the evenings ;). And hubs has commented several times about what he's observed--we're eating more fresh fruit and veggies, overall the meals are healthier, we're eating earlier in the evening (like 6 or 6:30 instead of 7 or 7:30 like before), I'm not so stressed out in the evenings, and I can spend more time with my family. It's those observations from him that help reaffirm that the freezer meals are a good option for our family.

I do have a small chest freezer. Friends of ours were moving and sold it to us. It was too good a deal to pass up, and we had been talking about getting a chest freezer for a few years.

However, I use it for surplus type stuff, like when I made strawberry freezer jam, extra loaves of bread (I freeze until we need a new loaf), vegetables from our garden that I've chopped & frozen. All my freezer meals are actually in our refrigerator/freezer.

Loaded down with freezer meals.
I start cooking about 11am. That's after getting home with my AFM order, taking pics, and finally getting to a starting point. I'll cook until about 9 or 10pm. Some people will plan on making double batches of everything, planning 10 meals, but actually end up with 20. That would save a lot of time on freezer meal cooking day. But, other than cereal, I simply can't eat the same thing over & over. And I want to try new things, so I try to plan a new meal for each day of the month. I also will plan some non-freezer meals, like the ham steak & eggs we had Tuesday night. Otherwise, I'd spend 2 days cooking instead of 1, and that would not be cool! :)

As for cleaning up, I try to stick to the "clean as I go method." I reuse the same pots & pans, mixing bowls & utensils. I just give them a quick wash inbetween meals. That way, at the end of the day, I just throw everything into the dishwasher, and clean-up is a cinch.

Simply Things Family said...
That is great! I will have to get organized and try sometime.
Simply Just Things,
I highly recommend you invest in some freezer meals, whether it's a full month or just a week's worth. Like I mentioned, it has been such a time saver for me. I work full-time, and I used to dread having to cook when I came home because it took so much time away from my family. Even the quick 30 minute meals never really took 30 minutes because my kids, especially the little one, are so demanding and vying for my attention when I get home. What helps me to continue doing freezer meals as well is having a set day each month--the 3rd Saturday.

Thanks everyone for your questions & comments--keep them coming!

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