Anyway, I read online a blog from a lady (we will call her Crockpot Mama) who shops and cooks for her family ONE TIME a month. Crockpot Mama has her method down to a science (I'm so jealous of her). Since I HATE to cook and HATE to grocery shop, it sounded like a great plan. So, I tried it. She recommended trying cooking using her method for one week to see how it went (This is sound advice for zealous beginners like myself who would get in WAY over our heads trying to do a month on the first try). She mentioned as I get used to it, I can move up to cooking and shopping ONE TIME a month!
So basically if you want to be a Crockpot Mama, you begin by picking foods from one genre at a time. I chose stews as my genre. I wrote these meals on my meal calendar. This saves money because, for example, you buy one celery bundle and a little bit of it goes in each meal for the week. We bought several pounds of free range chicken, and a little bit of it goes in each meal for the week. You get the picture. As a result, I only had a few items on my list to shop for: Organic veggies, organic tomato chunks, organic chicken, salsa and organic broth. This was SO EASY and SOOOO much cheaper. My whole bill for an entire week for SIX people was around $100. I could NOT believe it!
|My adorable volunteer help chopping the onions|
Next, you prepare the food and place the meals (minus liquids) in freezer gallon-sized zip lock bags. You freeze your meal bags until the day you cook it in the crock pot and you will add your liquids (ie water, broth, salsa or tomato chunks) that morning. I spent only about 2 hours cutting up the meat and veggies (I could have been much faster without my "volunteer help," but hey, we made memories that day. Haley burned her eyeballs out on the chopped onions and inadvertently cried for the next hour...I didn't say they were GOOD memories). So basically meal preparation for the WHOLE WEEK was prepared in 2 hours flat. You can't beat that, Busy Moms (or dads if you are the family cook)!!!!!
|Cut up veggies & meat ready to bag|
|I had 7 meals prepared in 2 hours|
What are my thoughts about Crockpot Mama's method? LOVE IT! Pros: Saved money. Saved time. I got to sit down to a healthy, home cooked meal every night without having to cook. Cons: It was hard to get the food out of the ziplock bag in the mornings while it was frozen. The kids got bored of stews after a few nights of it. Cleaning out the crockpot every night really got old.
|The sticker on her cheek says "Organic"...Kylie is certified organic!|
So, what I've basically decided to do is continue to do the Crockpot Mama method, but not every night. Çrockpot meals are perfect for the busy nights where I don't have time to cook (for example the night Kylie has horse riding lessons and it's impossible to cook). The other nights of the week I can cook regular meals. This hybrid method still saves me time and the family money because we are not eating out at fast food joints (Yuck. PIZZA HUT's NASTY!!!).