I’m a planner. And not a “I make a grocery list” kind of planner… more like 3 rough drafts of a grocery list in a color coded notebook ONLY for grocery lists so if I ever needed to know what my list looked like 3 months ago I would know where to look. Yes, it is that bad. I also have one for budgets/lists and Beachbody. Don’t judge me.
So, as you know, our life is about to be super hectic in a hot second. And I am planning on it 🙂 My biggest concern about our limbo routine is that we will not have much of a kitchen in the camper and I am not sure how soon our cabin’s kitchen will be up and running. Therefore, I spent my entire morning planning almost a months worth of freezer CROCKPOT meals to get us through. Here were my requirements:
- They needed to be completely prepped ahead of time. I wanted to be able to pack up all pans, mixing bowls, and cooking supplies and not need any of it. Aside from maybe adding water, a can of chicken broth, or beer, I wanted to be able to just drop it in the crockpot and go.
- They needed to be “clean” – meaning no cream of unknown soup mix 🙂 I know there is a recipe to make it yourself, but unfortunately I really don’t have time for that right now. Or what I have said so many time this week, ain’t nobody got time for that. This also includes pre-packaged marinated mixes or sauces.
- It has to be good. Like will not persuade me to throw it to the dogs and grab mexican food because it’s been THAT kind of a day. Let me tell you how I always have an excuse to go to Walmart or Lowe’s… and there is a yummy mexican restaurant over there that I always end up at (it’s called Los Mochis if anyone truly wants to know!!).
I only duplicated/tripled 5 of the meals on the list. I need variety, and unless it’s mexican food I really can’t eat the same food twice in one week. Here is our menu for the next month:
Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos
Beef Stew from Clarie’s Healthy Home, x2
- I did not use a packet of dry onion soup mix. Instead of used this recipe from The Gracious Pantry: Clean Eating Onion Soup Mix
Minestrone Soup from The Gracious Pantry (this recipe actually splits into 3. And BTW, I did not cook mine ahead of time)
Chicken Tortilla Soup from Loving My Nest (we LOVE this recipe) x2
Creamy Farmhouse Chicken Soup from Loving My Nest, x2
Rotisserie Chicken (a whole chicken in the crockpot with rosemary and garlic rub)
Cranberry Pork Roast from Newleaf Wellness
Matt’s Famous Pork BBQ (basically 2 lbs pork loin, brown sugar, 1 diced onion, and a beer)
Matt’s Even More Famous Chili x2 (you can use any chili recipe here)
Tropical Turkey Meatloaf from Once A Month Meals (this calls for ground chicken but I used ground turkey)
Cranberry Apple Pork Loin from Once A Month Meals (this calls for cherries which I couldn’t find at the store so I just added more apples)
Marinated Chicken Thighs
Marinated Split Chicken Breasts
Is it weird that I thanked God for Pinterest? I also thanked Him for an amazing husband who not only cooks, but makes amazing food that he doesn’t follow a single recipe for. Which makes it difficult to buy the right ingredients. But the food is SO good. I just love him.
How I prep – remember how I said I’m a planner? I also get super overwhelmed with things like this. For a planner, having almost a month’s worth of meals ready is gold. However, it is a pretty hefty task. It takes up almost an entire day (when you have a 3 year old singing Christmas carols around Walmart and an 8 month old who really doesn’t care that you are making dinners for everyone but her. Again, thanking God for sisters who are willing to run around the store 3 times occupying children so I can shop. I am so blessed). After getting all of my groceries and drinking a Starbucks Double Shot (slap my wrist, I can’t believe I actually drank one of these sugar filled yummy goodness drinks), I laid everything out on our kitchen table. I wrote on each freezer bag the meal, what (if anything) needed to be added when putting it in the crockpot, and how long to cook it and at what temperature. This is crucial as a first step because it allows you to see what you have left to prep, just in case you spill tomato sauce on your list and can’t quite see what you have made so far (words of wisdom). Is it weird that I LOVE writing with permanent marker on freezer bags? I could write on those things all day… it’s almost soothing.
Okay so I read a blog like 2 years ago telling me when prepping freezer meals to cut all of your veggies and meats at one time so you only have to bring out the knives and cutting board once. IF YOU ARE ANYTHING LIKE ME, DONT DO THIS. I’m serious… I followed this rule ONCE, and I had a smorgasbord of veggies and meat that had no home and I ended up just throwing random items in bags out of frustration (is anyone singing the Charlotte’s Web song yet?). I prep each meal individually. It keeps the brain focused, and Cassie needs to be focused. I pull up the website on my computer, go down the list adding those items to the freezer bag, seal, and set aside to be put in the freezer once completed. Now if you are a multi-tasking crazy person, I envy you. You will probably be able to finish your freezer meals in half the time I did.
Now the important part… make your meal calendar. You would think that just having the freezer meals all ready to go in the freezer would suffice, but it doesn’t. I promise, you will forget to take a meal out then end up driving to get pizza (bleh). Make it a habit to look at your calendar each night and know what is for dinner (I go ahead and set the bag out the night before, so in the morning when I start my crazy morning routine I can just pour it in the crockpot).
Another thing I just discovered… crockpot liners. YES! That means I don’t have to clean the crockpot every night. I can’t believe I just bought these things today for the first time. You know you’re a grown up when you get excited about crockpot liners.
No new updates on the cabin right now… wouldn’t you know we have been in a severe drought throughout the entire summer, and this week it has poured all day twice!? Thank you Jesus for this much needed rain! Now cue the singing, “Oh Mister Sun, Sun, Mister Golden Sun. Please shine down on me!”
Something God taught me today: We read to Isaiah every night, mostly from Jesus Calling (the kid’s devotion). God really speaks to Matt and me through this devotion, which is funny since we are reading it TO Isaiah. Today’s devotion was from 2 Corinthians 4:17, “We have small troubles for a while now, but they are helping us gain an eternal glory. That glory is much greater than the troubles.”
What an awesome reminder to thank God for our problems, I love how Sarah Young describes it as lifting us up into heavenly places where we can see the situation from God’s point of view and how small it really is compared to His eternal glory. If you don’t have this book, I would really encourage you to get it.