Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Prepping Food for the Month!

Today I posted a picture of my latest grand idea and you all seemed to want MORE so here's my brain dump on it!

For the 3 years leading up to Ironman I went to Dream Dinners.  John and I both loved the concept! They provide several meals from which to chose. You go to their store and prepare everything in an hour.  They do the hard work in organizing, chopping, and laying it all out for you.  You just assemble your meals the way you want them, go home, stick in freezer, then pull out as you need them!  Problem for me is once I started training really hard, I wasn't eating enough of the 'meals' to warrant the minimum required purchase.

*note if you stop in the Framingham store, tell them I said HI!

I loved meals for my crockpot, but not all of Dream Dinners went in the crockpot, some were saute, some oven, etc.  Most were simple but just not what I need right now.

I have been trying to collect ideas and recipes on how I can create a bunch of paleo-ish recipes for my CROCKPOT and today I took my first whack at it!

First I collected recipes in Pinterest. I started a board for crockpot and/or Paleo recipes that I intend on modifying or just using. I spent a week or so just collecting recipes when I had a free minute.

Yesterday I went through those recipes and copied a dozen or so into MS Word.  I put a page break between each so I could print it out and stick into the bags.

Next, I went through the recipes and outlined the ingredients into excel. I tallied up all the things I needed from each recipe (including Dill Weed, which I still giggle at writing or saying).  This is probably the most important part. You want to have ALL of your ingredients ready before you start.

Make sure you get good 'freezer' bags. You'll want quart, gallon and some 2 gallon ones. You will also want to get a large open mouth container that can hold a freezer bag open for you while you dump things into it! Otherwise you're messing with the edge of a plastic bag trying not to spill!

Next, the grocery store!  Ugh, I don't shop for a family of 18 but buying this much made me think I was doing just that!  WOW!

I had originally intended on also prepping the meals last night but I had ENOUGH once I collected, and organized the menu for the month then went shopping!

I personally love crockpot meals, but you can do this with LOTS of different meals and preparation styles!  I am also hesitant to post ACTUAL recipes for two reasons:

  1. I haven't tasted any of these yet and more importantly 
  2. I'm a 'non-measure' person.   

I modify recipes, eyeball spices and such.  For example one recipe called for Chinese 5 spice. John hates cloves, so I just threw in some other spices instead. I LITERALLY threw them in,  I couldn't tell you how much! I will continue to collect recipes on Pinterest, I've found that to be a great place to just tag what might look good, or what might be a good base for me.

I pulled out all ingredients and worked off one recipe at a time.  This was a mistake. Next time I will add more prep to my excel sheet so I can have things like veggies cut up appropriately before I start. You will mostly 'prep' the food prior to putting them into the bags. You will rarely cook anything before you freeze it.

If you do try this, you'll want to put your protein in one ziplock.  If that protein has a marinade, just go ahead and add it to the bag.  If it's a 'rub' or other dry spice ingredients put that in a separate small bag to be 'rubbed' before you cook it.   You'll want to put things like 'liquids' together into a ziploc, you may have a 'meal' with 3-4 ziplocks inside.  Put your recipe and directions INSIDE the bag, and write the date on the outside.

I will get better at this and will post some pictures of the step by step next time, but this should get you started!  I do have 4 more meals to do tomorrow night!

**UPDATE: check out my new blog post, it shows a little detailed explanation  of one recipe.

Thanks for reading!

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  1. I just invested in a FoodSaver vacuum sealer and got some ziplock bags and tupperware stuff that goes with it... It's made a bid difference b/c used to have stuff that went bad - or just seemed "Blah" after getting out of the freezer. I like the vacuum ziplock bags b/c it sucks all of the air out, and things stay uber-fresh.

    1. JoAnne, I was looking at the foodsaver and was trying to weigh the cost of those specialty ziplocks vs the price of regular ones. I had luck for 3 years with Dream Dinners and was doing just the ziplocks.

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