Thursday, January 10, 2013

Thrifty Thursday: Be Prepared

The Boy Scout motto says to always be prepared which are words to live by.  I try to have many meals in the freezer ready to pull out at a moments notice in case more people show up for dinner or I need to make a quick change based on the schedule changing. What things do you keep in your freezer so that you are ready?  If you have something ready, then you won't have to resort to going out to eat or ordering in.

I usually have frozen pizzas and one skillet cooked meal from the store when I get them super cheap (under $3) but I try to have a few other healthier things stored in the freezer like homemade pizza dough, enchilada sauce, and chicken broth.  It is best to take a slower day (like a weekend) to stock the freezer for the busier days.

My recipe for pizza dough is a double recipe so I usually make one pizza and freeze the extra in a labeled zippered bag.  It is easy to take out the next bag without having to make dough from scratch right before dinner (even though the bread machine is doing all the work).  I am going to make a few dough packages ahead so that I have them in the freezer to set out in the morning before I am going to need

I had some ingredients leftover from Christmas dinner to make a big pot of chicken broth.  On Saturday, I put some chicken pieces, onion, celery, carrots, bay leaves and pepper in the pot to simmer.  After straining, I poured the broth into a container and refrigerated overnight.

I have a ton of chicken broth in the freezer already so I decided to use the majority of it for making brown rice. On Sunday, I made a big pot with 2 cups of brown rice and 5 cups of chicken broth.  I froze the other two cups from the broth to add to the freezer. 

After cooking the brown rice per the package directions, I packaged them up in zippered bags to freeze.  I made 9 servings and split it into three bags for a normal serving for our family.  This can be adjusted based on your family size to fit your needs.  These make super easy bags to microwave for dinner at the last minute.

Now that I have a clean freezer, I plan on making some homemade rolls, more pizza dough, and more rice to fill it up.  I also need to get some ground beef and chicken to complete those meals.  I hope to make a bag of sloppy joes and sloppy chicken joes which are easy to reheat.  I am going to be trying out a few more freezer meals in the coming months to see what else works for our family.

Being prepared helps make some healthy home cooked meals easier during the week with items already prepared in the freezer.  I hope that these ideas help you do your menu planning and make more home cooked meals for the new year.

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