Someone gave me a book several years ago called “The Occasional Cook” by Cyndy Salzmann. And for the life of me, I’ve never successfully figured out how to do it! Even with step by step instructions.
If you are anything like me, carving out 8 hours in one day to cook 21 meals just doesn’t work. Especially adding in the shopping time as well!
But this month, I had an idea. No one said I had to do ALL of the cooking in one day! So I worked for an hour or so a couple of days and ended up with several meals that I can pop into the crockpot before we head out to football and cheer. It worked so well, I may continue doing it! I’m going to walk you through what I did…and maybe you’ll be inspired too!!!!
Day 1: Step 1: Go shopping! I went to Sams and got everything I could on my list. (I’ll put the list at the end of the post). Step 2: Before I went to bed, I put 2 pork roasts into my crockpot, sprinkled onion flakes on it, and set it for 8 hours. When I woke up – it was done!!!
Day 1 took 2 1/2 hours.
Day 2: Step 1: Put the roast in the fridge to cool.
Step 2: Chunk 1 1/2 onions and chop 1 1/2 onions.
Step 3: Put 3 whole chickens into a giant stockpot. Sprinkle with garlic salt. Add 1 of the chunked onions. Cover with water. Simmer for 3 – 4 hours or until chicken is falling off the bone.
Step 4: Chunk 1 carrot for each person in your household.
Step 5: Put Roast, carrots, and broth made from cooking roast into a 1 gallon freezer bag. Seal bag, remove as much air as possible. Label and Freeze.
*Note about labeling. I write on the ziploc bag the directions for cooking – that way I don’t have to search out the recipe when I want to pop it in the crockpot or oven.
** Pot roast Label: Heat roast and carrots in broth with potatoes. – this is a great crockpot set it and forget it meal!
Step 6: Remove chicken from heat and allow to cool. Take meat off of bone, stick meat in fridge to cool over night.
Day 2 took the longest, 6 hours, but most of that wasn’t active cooking…..just hanging out around the house. We used the heat from the stewing chickens to help some homemade bread rise! 😉
Day 3: Step 1: Assemble Chicken Divan. (This is now a family favorite!) Spray 2 13 X 9 X 2 baking dishes with cooking oil. Put frozen broccoli in bottom of pans. Top with shredded chicken. Combine 1 huge can of cream of chicken soup, 1 1/3 cup of mayo, and 2 t. lemon juice. Spread over chicken evenly. Top with 1 cup of shredded cheese – per pan! Sprinkle both pans with bread crumbs.
This looked so good – we had it for lunch! Bake at 350* for 25 – 30 minutes. If freezing. Cover tightly with foil and label, then freeze.
Step 2: (We did this while the Divan was cooking) Assemble Chicken and Dumplings. Place shredded Chicken, 2 16 oz. package of frozen mixed vegetables, poultry seasoning, and onion powder in 2 1- gallon freezer bags. Make sure you double bag this! Label this way: Place bag contents in crockpot, add 6 to 7 cups of chicken broth. Cook on low for 8 hours. 30 minutes before eating, add 2/3 cup milk, drop favorite dumpling mixture in and push down into broth. Each bag made 1 meal for us – with a salad.
Day 3 took 1 1/2 hours.
Day 4: Step 1: Assemble Basic Ground Meat Mixture (uncooked). Mix 4 pounds ground beef, 2 eggs, 1 1/2 bread crumbs, 1/2 cup chopped onion, 1 cup shredded carrots, 1 t salt, and 1/2 t pepper.
Step 2: To 1/2 of above. Add 1/2 cup milk and 2 cloves crushed garlic (or more to taste!) Mix well. Shape into 2 inch meatballs. Bake at 400* F for 20 minutes.
Step 3: To other 1/2, add 1/2 cup milk, 2 tsp sage leaves, and 4 T catsup. Place mixture into 1 gallon freezer bag and flatten. Label and freeze. Label should say: Thaw. Shape mixture into loaf pan and bake at 350* F 45 – 60 minutes. During last 10 minutes, top with a mixture of 1/3 cup catsup, 1 T mustard, and 3 T brown sugar.
Step 4: When Meatballs are done, cool . After cooled, transfer meatballs to 1 gallon freezer bag. Pour 2 cups marinara sauce over the meatballs. Double bag. Label and freeze. Label should say: Thaw. Warm in crockpot on low for 8 hours. Use for spaghetti and meatballs or for Italian meatball subs!
Step 5: Brown 4 pounds ground beef, the rest of the onion, 4 t minced garlic, 2 t salt, and 2 t pepper. Drain fat.
Step 6: Assemble Cheeseburger Casserole. Mix 1/2 of ground meat mixture with 16 oz. cubed velveeta, 2/3 cup catsup and 16 oz cooked package of elbow macaroni. (Macaroni should not be cooked all the way through). Place in 2 1 gallon bags. Double bag. Label and freeze. Label should read: Thaw. Place mixture in baking dish. Heat in 350* oven for 30 minutes.
Step 7: Assemble Popover Pizza. Mix other 1/2 of ground meat mixture with 6 cups pasta sauce. Put in 2 1 gallon freezer bags. Double bag. Label and Freeze. Label should read: Thaw. Put meat and sauce in a 9 x 5 in baking dish. Top with 4 cups mozzarella cheese. Unroll 1 tube crescent rolls and fit on top of casserole. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Bake at 375* for 30 – 35 minutes until crust is golden and filling is hot.
Day 4 took 1 1/2 hours.
Total shopping, cooking, and assembling time: 11 1/2 hours spread over 4 days. Total meals cooked/assembled/frozen for my family of 9: 8. It would be way more for a smaller family.
- Bread crumbs
- Hoagie Rolls
- Mozzarella cheese
- Parmesan cheese
- Refrigerated crescent rolls
- frozen mixed veggies
- frozen broccoli
- big bag of carrots
- 9 pounds ground beef
- 3 whole chickens
- 2 pork roasts
- chicken broth
- bisquick for dumplings
- onion flakes
- cream of chicken soup
- pasta sauce
- elbow macaroni
- gallon size freezer bags
- baking dishes (aluminum foil ones)
- heavy duty aluminum foil
- brown sugar
- lemon juice
- cooking spray
- poultry seasoning