With Rick back at school and our fast approaching due date, I've been trying to get a lot done around the house to prepare. Right near the top of my little To-Do List was to make and freeze a bunch of meals in order to ease the load a when Baby Thames is born (just as my mom had done with a few meals for us when Riley was born). With my limited menu of meals to make, I asked for my mom's help in the process.
I decided to pack up the kids on Tuesday morning for a quick 48 hour trip to the Tri-Cities for a day of cooking, some great family time, and probably my last little road trip as a mother of only two children! Rick has also been busy at work, so it gave him the opportunity to stay late a couple of nights to get organized and not feel guilty about not being home with us.
The kids did AMAZING on the trip down- thank goodness for the van's DVD player! :) I got a chance to listen to "Cars" and a couple of episodes of "Little Einsteins" on the way and the kids were great for both rest area stops their pregnant mommy had to make (not bad for a 3 1/2 hour trip, right?)! :) We arrived just in time for lunch on Tuesday and my incredible sister, Robyn, stopped at Bruchi's to get me my favorite chicken cheese steak so it was waiting for me at the house! We fed the kids lunch and then Robyn bought some bread to feed the geese at Columbia Park. Considering how aggressive the geese were, the kids did pretty well... well, Riley was convinced more than one of them were going to bite her, they would just rip the bread right out of the kids' hands if it wasn't thrown fast enough, and at one point I was holding both kids because they were scared... But, overall it was a fun time! Of course I had just taken the camera out of the van and got zero pictures to document the experience.
After the ducks, the kids stayed back at the house with Robyn, while mom and I were off to grocery shop for our big day of cooking today. After two big bags of frozen chicken tenderloins, five pounds of hamburger meat, three large jars of Prego, four kinds of noodles, many types of cheese, and some other random stuff, we were able to make 17 various sizes and 6 different types of meals to freeze... 17! I still can't believe how economical, easy, and fun it was to whip out so many meals that we'll be able to enjoy in the months after the new baby... I think this will be something I continue to do every few months now that I know how crazy easy it is! Here's the breakdown of what we were able to make:
2 large and 2 small pans of Lasagna
1 large and 1 small pan of Stuffed Shells and cheese
3 small-medium pans of a Spaghetti-like Goulash
2 small pans of Tuna Noodle Casserole
1 large and 1 small pan of Chicken Chalupa (a sort of chicken lasagna- one of my all-time favorites!!)
1 large and 2 small pans of Chicken Divan
and 1 Peach Crisp
The small pans equal about a 2-2 1/2 person meal (perfect for us when leftovers aren't needed) and the large pans could easily feed 6-8 people or give our little family at least a dinner and lunch the next day. And we did it all for around only $75.00!! We started cooking around 1pm and finished around 4:30pm, with a few little breaks and kids waking up from naps to tend to... not bad at all. Tomorrow morning, I will pack up the kids, all our stuff, fill a huge cooler with all the meals (and some dry ice), and hit the road back to Gresham. I can't wait to fill our garage freezer with all these yummy meals!
My only question now would be- Does anyone have a good recipe or two they would be willing to share for a meal that freezes well and/or is extremely EASY to make?? I would love to add new recipes to the mix every couple of months. Keep in mind that I'm a very visual person who has a difficult time following recipes unless I've seen them done before. :)
Thank you mom for all the hard work you did today to help me cross this biggie off of my pre-baby To-Do List!! I appreciate all of your time, patience, and instructions! Now I'm off to bed to get some much needed rest for our trip home in the morning... here's hoping the kids do just as well for the car ride home!