When I saw that all-natural, antibiotic-free chicken breasts were buy one, get one free at the grocery store, I knew I had to make some freezer meals. Meat is the most expensive ingredient in freezer meals, so buying it on sale is an easy way to save money. In fact, I used 16 pounds of chicken in these recipes and got 8 of them for free (a savings of $47.92!!).
Here’s what I made:
- Peanut Lime Chicken
- Cherry Chicken Mole Tacos
- Mediterranean Chicken
- Chicken Philly Cheesesteak
- Chicken Cacciatore
- Red Pepper Chicken
- Chicken Soup with Mexican Seasonings
- Chicken Artichoke Marinara Sauce (recipe in printable below)
- Chicken Alla Vodka Sauce
- Sweet & Spicy BBQ Chicken
In our house, freezer prep sessions are typically full of new recipes that I am creating for our cookbooks. This was the first time I was planning to share my recipes in a blog post, so I decided play it safe and choose 10 of my family’s favorite chicken recipes. I already know that the recipes are top-notch so I can easily pull one of the bags out of my freezer and serve it to guests (which is exactly what I did with the Chicken Alla Vodka).
Here were the highlights of making all 10 at once:
- I only spent $106 on groceries, which is incredible considering I bought so many all-natural and organic ingredients (it works out to only $10.06 per meal!).
- I made all 10 meal in three hours (18 minutes per meal). I’m not nearly as fast as Kelly (yet!) AND I was entertaining my 3 year old, so this was a leisurely prep session for me, but I’m certain that minus distractions this would take no more than two hours.
- I was able to stock our freezer with healthy and delicious meals in one single afternoon.
I made a promise to myself that next time I take on a prep season I will have someone else occupy my children, but here are a few other shortcuts I plan on taking next time:
- Start with a clean counter, sink, and dishwasher. It is so important to me to have a clean kitchen all of the time, but especially when I do a prep session. I need as much counter space as possible. Utensils, bowls and empty cans add up in my sink pretty quickly. I even recommend starting with an empty dishwasher so that you can rinse everything off, load it up and call it a day.
- Get out all of the necessary ingredients ahead of time. There is nothing worse than getting out of your prep session groove to fish through the spice cabinet. Therefore, I like to have all of my ingredients (except for the meat) out (another reason to have a clean and clear counter!).
- Buy peeled garlic and frozen diced onions. I love, love, love garlic and onions, but mincing and dicing is definitely one of the most time consuming elements of prep sessions. I always knew that grocery stores sold pre-peeled and even pre-minced garlic, but I actually had no idea that you could buy diced onions in the freezer section. These items may cost a tad more than conventional garlic and onions, but they will save oodles of time…totally worth it!
Although it took most of my afternoon to make these meals, they saved me a lot of time in the long run. We already ate eight of the 10 meals and loved them, and I didn’t have to cook at all on those days. Yay!
Thoughts or questions? Please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you.
Jill Petrush Rogers is an artist and former bookbuyer/seller. Jill recently moved back to her hometown of Pittsburgh, PA with her husband, Tom, and their two energy-filled boys. Jill loves to channel her creativity by coming up with recipes as a contributing writer for New Leaf Wellness.