As we prepare to have our baby (He’s due in just 5 days!!) I realized that to save my housemates from shouldering all the cooking, to protect our health and wallets from the late night taco bell runs, and to satisfy my insane nesting urges it was time to do my first major freezer meal prep session. I’ve done it here and there before but this is my first time doing 6 week’s worth of dinners at once. If you are responsible for cooking every night I recommend doubling up on several of these recipes/plans. All recipes and meal plans here are for feeding a family of 6 twice a week, which works out to 12 servings a week plus some leftovers. Yum leftovers…
I’ll be going shopping later this week to finalize everything we need for Christmas and for the newborn to be, Mr. Sora Papineau. I’ll update this post with my actual costs and shopping and such when I do that, as well as what I did to save even more money. Ideally everything would be organic, local and homemade from scratch but realistically as two full time, working students preparing to have a baby on an extremely limited budget- we compromised on the things where the savings were minute. Frozen lasagna is my perfect example – It costs me just a tiny bit more to buy it ready made than to make it and it saves me a crap ton of time to just buy it. Yes we could eat something cheaper – but we love lasagna and enjoying your food is something that’s important to us. Plus it will help us keep our sanity with the new baby.
Anyways, here’s the plan for dinners.
Next week, after shopping, I’ll post the entire month’s meal plan, budget, and how shopping went. Because we live with another family we don’t have the space to stock up for the entire month. But planning ahead and creating a very specific, easy to follow list means I can send someone else to the store part way through the month without risking blowing the budget or starving to death.
Freezer Meal Prep: Dinner
Store-bought items in the Freezer:
- Pot pies x2 meals ($
- Frozen lasagna x2
- Frozen broccoli x2
- Shredded cheddar (8oz) x3
- Sliced provolone (8oz)
- Sliced Swiss cheese (8oz)
- Tortillas x24
- Sliced olives
- Frozen green beans
- Crock pot chicken chili – This will provide two nights of dinner; one night with the chili and the second as burritos the next day. And it’s already done and in the freezer from two weeks ago.
- Philly cheese-steak
- Crock pot taco mix
- Frito casserole mix
- Swedish meatballs
- Crock pot Cranberry-Orange Chicken
- Crock pot BBQ Chicken
Pantry Items to Accompany the Plan:
- Cornbread mix x2
- Egg noodles
- Hoagie rolls (8 pack)
- Red potatoes (2.5 lbs)
- Hamburger buns (8 pack)
This plan provides for 12 meals for my family of 6 (not including baby-to-be), which since my husband and I only cook 2 nights a week, is actually over an entire month of dinners for us. All of these are foods I can easily cook, I can easily instruct the husband on (he’s a great cook he just likes clear instructions) or we can easily do together.
Here’s what the month will look like…
Week 1 – Chicken chili with cornbread; chicken burritos with cheddar cheese.
Week 2 – Frozen lasagna with broccoli; BBQ chicken sandwiches with provolone.
Week 3 – Cranberry-orange chicken with green beans and red potatoes; beef pot pies.
Week 4 – Frozen lasagna with broccoli; crock pot tacos with olives and cheddar cheese.
Week 5 – Swedish meatballs over egg noodles; Frito casserole.
Week 6 – Philly cheese steak hoagies with Swiss cheese; chicken pot pies.
I had very few ingredients in my pantry already for this, but there were a few like basic seasonings, olive oil, salt, pepper, brown sugar and balsamic vinegar. I spent $62.13 at the grocery store on items for these 12 meals. I got $7.50 in cashback from iBotta to be cashed out later this month, saved $3 with coupons from the paper, and saved $4.35 with WIC. Before these savings the grand total was $76.98.
That means, after savings, I spent $5.18 per meal and $0.87 per serving. That’s amazing!!