Sheer Willpower = More Freezer Meals

Hubby’s pay day was yesterday which meant another round of grocery shopping today followed by another round prepping some freezer meals.  I didn’t want to just duplicate everything I did the last go round so I changed it up some.  Unfortunately, today didn’t run nearly as smoothly as last time around and it took every ounce of willpower I possessed to keep going!  Last time around I used all of the recipes but one from the same blog and her step-by-step directions were incredibly helpful!  (Side note – check out that particular blog entry here – The Test Kitchen of Melissa Fallis.  I didn’t do the BBQ recipe but made all the rest!  Believe me, I will repeat those recipes again!)

Every time I got close to saying “chuck it”, I remembered the complete lack of stress when it came to meal time this past week and I kept going.  As I type this, I have a batch of sloppy joe meat all cooked up – it’s my mom’s homemade concoction – that will get defrosted and reheated on Friday night since there is a home football game which means marching band responsibilities for my son and uniform responsibilities for mom!

I also have a double batch (translated: two casseroles) of cheeseburger and fries casserole frozen and ready.  The steak marinade from the Melissa Fallis blog was a HUGE hit last time around so I did that one again.

I have four more recipes that I will take a go at tomorrow, all of them new.  One of them will make individual servings of calzones, another will make a double batch of  Baked Penne with Chicken and Sun-dried Tomatoes casserole, then there is Sausage and Spinach Pasta Bake as well as Upside Down Fettuccini Bake.  With the holiday on Monday, we are grilling out – burgers – and we are doing “breakfast for dinner” one night this week.  Still have two Chicken Pot Pies in my freezer and one of those will get pulled for supper on Wednesday.  Tomorrow’s dinner is a Marinated and Baked Pork Chop recipe from the blog I mentioned above.

I wasn’t planning to do any more twice baked potatoes but there was a sale at the store we couldn’t resist – $2.99 for a 15 lb. bag of potatoes.  No, that’s not a typo.  So I did two or three more meals worth of twice-baked potatoes (still had one of those in the freezer that we’re using for dinner tomorrow).  We’ll throw some fried potatoes on the menu with the burgers on Labor Day to use up another significant portion of the tatoes.

The butcher counter at our local grocery store does “meat bundles” and we purchased one of them this week – 100 servings of various meats for 100 dollars.  The box included pre-done burger patties (Labor Day cookout!), brats, pork chops, boneless pork chops, steaks, cube steaks, ribs, . . . lots of tasty stuff!  Between my freezer cooking and the meat bundle, we are well on our way to having most of the entrees for the month of September taken care of!

I’m absolutely exhausted and my feet hurt.  But I’m soooo glad I accomplished at least half of my freezer cooking today, especially since I didn’t get the grocery shopping started until after lunch!  Feeling very blessed that the freezer cooking thing (and the deal on potatoes and the meat bundle from the store) have stretched our grocery budget to crazy lengths!

Keeping it Together

I had a friend ask me recently how I’m “keeping it together” with three part-time jobs, three kids still living at home who have commitments of their own to keep me running so I thought I would take a moment to post some of the same information I gave her.


I use two different calendars to keep my life together – both of them send notifications to my smart phone so I don’t forget any voice lesson, meeting, marching band event, etc. creates a calendar for the entire family and lets you assign each family member a color so that you can tell at a glance whether the event is for the whole family, just a few people or only one.  Each family member can use their own login name and a family-wide password to add items to the calendar.  On Cozi, you can also create a to-do list for each family member.  I especially love that feature because I can then send each list to the cell phone of the family member I made the list for!  With the smart phone app, my twice-monthly grocery list can be carried around on my phone and each item “checked off” as it is added to the cart. Just click on the link above to visit!

Google calendar will also send notifications to your phone if you choose that option.  Hubby and I each have a Google calendar that we have shared with each other so his information shows up on my calendar (color-coded again for easy visual discrimination).  The reason I maintain both calendars is due to the fact that the choral department at the local high school uses Google calendar as well and the director will share his calendars with parents as well so the entire choir schedule is there at a glance!  I run a summer youth theater and maintain a separate calendar for that which I have shared with my hubby and my personal calendar.  Just go to Google and click on the Calendar tab on the top bar.


I have learned the joys of freezer cooking!  Hubby gets paid on the 15th and at the end of the month and I am able to spend a few hours on two different days putting up at least two weeks worth of meals.  Don’t know how to freezer cook? Just do a Google search.  Or, if you are a “pinner”, you can find LOADS of great ideas on Pinterest!  I’ve even taken some recipes I’ve inherited from my mother and turned them into freezer recipes (best example – I make the sloppy joe recipe that my mother concocted and then simply freeze it in a freezer bag until I need it for a meal).


This may sound a little silly, but I make sure to do fun things on a regular basis – usually every day.  Reading a book (I keep a running list of books I want to read and make use of my local library or head to Books Should be Free to download the classics for free – just click on the link to visit.), cross-stitch, a favorite game of solitaire, etc.  It may be something as simple as painting my nails or going out for Starbucks, but I take moment for myself just to make sure I don’t completely lose my mind!

The other thing I do is ask for help!  I have three able-bodied children and a husband.  They can load a dishwasher, get a freezer meal out to defrost and get it going in the crockpot and all of my kids can do their own laundry (and are expected to do so!)

Okay, so this isn’t all that profound.  But I’m fairly certain that I would already be losing my mind if I hadn’t stumbled on these tips and ideas (and it’s only one week into the school year!).  Happy cooking . . . organizing . . . staying sane!