Everybody has those days…

Those days where no matter how desperately hard you try to get it together; you’ve overslept, you’re fumbling and dropping things as you try to hurry and make up for lost time only to open your fridge and remember DANG IT! I didn’t prep anything last night – so now I have to buy lunch today just to get out the door.

I’ve been working some time to master the art of being prepared for the chaos. For right now, our household of four includes: me, Josh, and our 2 pups. Don’t underestimate those dogs.. they act like toddlers more than not, but for the time being, I’ll be discussing the concept based on a household of 2 – Josh and I can get ourselves into enough of a bind without the added fun of kids in the house.

We all know that those days, despite our efforts to not have them, happen. That being said, I’d like to introduce a four-part series:

In this series, I’ll discuss (simple) concepts of preparation and organization so that when these days sneak up on you, you’ll have a few tricks up your sleeve.

One of my focuses the last several months, has been to cut costs. I’ve been trying to pay off some credit card debt and in strategizing how to do so, I came to the conclusion that there is no reason for us to be spending as much as we do. Slowly, I’ve progressed from brainstorming a couple of dinner ideas and hitting the grocery store to making a list before I go, then on to developing a couponing system to go with my grocery list, and finally to installing a database to make the whole process COMPLETELY organized and fail proof. I’ll discuss some of these details later in the series.

Part 1 of Be Prepared for the Chaoss: Freezer Meal Options

We’ll buy Lean Cuisine and Stouffer’s meals at the grocery store 4 and 5 at a time, no problem because they’ll go with our busy schedules. But when we’re talking about cutting costs, those are breaking your budget. Instead, make atleast 3 of your grocery list items things that you can double, or just make more than your household will eat. Our house holds 2, but one of us eats for 2.. so we’ll say we’re feeding 3. 🙂

Some of my favorite options:
BEANS! – A whole bag of beans is $1.50 at the store (I shop at Walmart.. it’s not always pretty, but it’s definitely cheaper!) Google a recipe or browse Pinterest for a great recipe, throw that whole bag of beans in the crock pot and BAM – you’ve got stuff to freeze that’ll last the next few weeks for those days when you’re in a bind. One of our favorite bean recipes is black beans and can be found  at It’s a Crazy Beautiful Life Blog. If you’re not just a beans and rice person, put those black beans in a hearty black bean quesadilla found on another of my favorite blogs, Budget Bytes. I wasn’t sure about them because there’s no meat in them, but they’re jam packed with veggies and SO flavorful. Plus the freeze really well for another freezer option you can grab in a flash!

TACOS! – Tacos are an easy, cheap meal pretty much any day. You have to go out of your way to make them expensive. But, courtesy of Pinterest, I found some crock pot tacos (can you tell I idolize my crock pots?) that you can make at night when you’re asleep (which is my method) or during the 9-5 when you’re at work. I sliced two chicken breasts in half, poured half a jar of salsa (we buy generic to save money and it tasted awesome in this recipe), and added 2 generous heaping tablespoons of homemade taco seasoning and turned the crock pot on. In the morning, I shredded the chicken with a fork and portioned all of the contents of my crock pot.

Add some painters tape and label the contents with the “good til” date, so you know what you have in your freezer

Our freezer

I personally love those little Gladware containers that you get at the Dollar Store, 4 for $1. They’re perfect for portioning our individual servings. They have all different sizes that you can get, but I like to portion them out individually so we can each grab something to take for lunch and it’s the perfect amount. These containers are dishwasher safe and if you ruin them somehow, they were only 25 cents.. so no worries!

When you’re ready to consume something from the freezer, a few notes. With all of the recent studies discussing warnings about BPA and toxic emissions from plastic containers in the microwave, I would caution you against fully microwaving your freezer meal in those Gladware containers. I pop them in the microwave for about 30-45 seconds, enough to loosen it.

Then you throw it in a glass bowl and continue to warm the dish. After, get out all the fixins and you’ve got yourself a homemade meal, for pennies instead of several dollars and just as conveniently as one of those box meals you can get in the freezer section of your favorite grocery store.

The next part in the series will discuss the art of meal planning. If you’re curious about a few of the favorites in our house, you can browse my Pinterest page.

 

 

 

 

 

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