Our months run from the 10th to the 10th of each month due to Jason’s pay schedule at work.  Which is fine by us, but it makes us a little different than others.  So while other ppl had great freezer cooking days last week, I am just gearing up for mine next week.  I did enjoy the Jan pantry/freezer challange and we were able to use up a lot of odds and ends that I had stashed all over the house.  And we saved money in our food budget… which never happens! I am good at couponing for hygeine products and finding great deals on clothes, but our food budget is another story!  Anyway, our second car needs about $350 work done this next month so thankfully we have a head start on that.  I am hoping to post before and after pictures of my pantry and freezer next week once our month is officially over so you can see how much we used up!

While using up odds and ends and leftover frozen fruit and veggies from this summer was helpful, I am WAY excited to get some freezer meals made up again to ease the strain of that 4-5:30pm time for my family.  Like many others have said- it is stressful! Kids are needing attention (and as soon as Johnny sees any food on the counter he assumes it is dinner “Ninner” time and pulls at my jeans for 45 min to get food) AAAHHHH!  If however, I can just pop something in the oven and heat it up several times a week…. well, that sounds like my cup of tea.  I am also speaking at Parkview Church early next month on frugal living and the once a month cooking concept is going to be something I touch on.  I decided that before I speak about it, maybe I should try it out again (I’ve only done this once back in the fall) to work out all the kinks and figure out what I like about it and what works for me.

D-Day is next Thursday, Feb 11th.  Jason won’t have to leave the house till 7:15am that day so I plan to get up at 5 am and cook for a solid two hrs and see what I can get done.  Then I will have some activities planned for the kids and perhaps a video or two throughout the day to see if I can finish my list.  Here is what I have:

-Two meals of Pumpkin pancakes (I have some organic pancake mix and some canned pumpkin left in my pantry that didn’t get used this month- AND I’ve decided that pancakes at dinner time is crazy and hectic and a no go. So I figured if I made them up early and froze them that would make for a piece of cake dinner! )

-Two – Three meals of Lentil nachos (I plan to make up a bag of lentils and mix them with a homemade taco seasoning mix that I found, freeze them in smaller bags and pull them out to put on tortilla chips and top with cheese- yum!) Here is my homemade taco seasoning mix that I found this week that has flavor but not a lot of sodium, fat or calories: 1/4 C salt – free chili powder, 1 TBSP each dried oregano and ground cumin and 1/2 tsp garlic powder (I will not use all of that in just one recipe though 🙂

-Two loaves whole wheat- low sugar zucchini bread (yes I still have zucchini left from this summer!  4 plants was TOO much!)

Batch of brown bag burritos – should be 2-3 meals worth for our family

– Two meals of Marinated Chicken (from Money Saving Mom) Pour Italian dressing over frozen chicken tenders and freeze. You can add in extra seasonings or sliced onions or peppers if you like. When ready to cook, you can throw it in the crockpot on low for 6 hours or bake it in the oven for 30 to 45 minutes. Serve over brown rice.

-Two meals of Cheesy Broccoli/rice/chicken casserole (also from Money Saving Mom- not sure why my links are not working)

-Two meals of Cheesy Spaghetti Pie –

8 oz. spaghetti noodles
-Boil and drain very well, place noodles in a buttered dish(1-9×13, or 2-8×8)

Next combine:
8 oz. cream cheese (softened)
1/4 cup sour cream
8 oz. cottage cheese
-Layer this on top of noodles

Lastly, combine:
2 jars of spaghetti sauce (your choice)
1 lb. meat-browned (ground beef,turkey, or veal)
-Layer this on to of the cheese mixture
-Bake at 350 for 45 minutes OR FREEZE!!!

So, that is only about half of the meals that we will need for a month.  But it is half of the month with  NO cooking and still feeding my family healthy food!  Woo hoo! I will post updates/pictures/end results later next week!