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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Healthy Freezer Meals! Start the New Year off Right!

I love to cook, love it!  However, our grocery bill has become OUT OF CONTROL to the tune of $1300 a month *GASP*.  I know, ridiculous!  Granted, groceries in Alaska are expensive and organic options are limited which makes them extremely expensive.  But I'm not exactly sure how our bill got that high but it seemed every time I turned around to shop for a couple meals after doing the big grocery run once a week, it just always added up to $50-75.  I usually use fresh herbs and sometimes it's like $2.99 for a small palmful of basil or thyme and then buying an entire bottle of a condiment just to use two tablespoons of it.  It adds up.

Before I was pregnant we had went a few times to one of those places where you make the meals there according to their recipes and leave with say 12 freezer meals.  It was okay but it always bothered me that they used the cheapest, fattiest cuts of meat and cheap ingredients (granted, some of it tasted delicious but definitely not Weight Watchers friendly!).  Once I was pregnant and my appetite was diminished, a lot of those meals we had left went to waste.

So in order to accomplish my financial goals and weight loss goals, I'm testing out some freezer meals!  Below are links to the recipes and my comments on them and I find it easier to test a recipe out, make sure you like it, then make a batch to freeze because it stinks to think you have a freezer full of meals only to bake them up and they aren't great so they sit in your freezer forever and don't get eaten up!  It is sometimes overwhelming to use WW recipe builder on a daily basis so this way I'm rotating just a handful of meals that had several ingredients and I took the time yesterday plugging every recipe in and then marking the freezer containers with the points value.  Also, because it's my husband and I and two toddlers, we don't need an entire 9X13 pan of a casserole or 8 burgers at one time so that will cut down on the waste by turning a full size meal into 2-3 "our family size" meals:)

1) Italian Turkey Burgers from Annie's Eats- 4WWP+
These are delicious and I use 99% fat free ground turkey and since I don't love sage, I replaced it with oregano since the fresh herb package called Beef Medley from Fred Meyer's included the herbs I wanted.  I made these and placed each patty between wax paper and froze 3 to a package.  I also froze 3 buns in Ziploc baggies.  I'll serve these with homemade sweet potato fries which I'll make fresh. I'm considering using a sandwich thin or no bread and topping it with roasted red peppers and a very small serving of mozzarella!
2) Crock Pot Chicken Enchilada Soup from Skinnytaste.com- 7WWP+ (includes 2 Tb. shredded cheddar)
So, so, so good and filling!  Just made this last night and I can't say enough good things about it!!  My batch made 6- 1 Cup servings instead of the 1 1/2 cup servings it said it would make but it's definitely plenty for each serving! 
3) Flat Iron Steak with this Marinade-  5WWP+ for 3 oz cooked
I love flat iron steak and I took 2 flat iron steaks (approx 1.4lbs a piece) and cut them in half since my kids refuse to eat steak and they'll probably eat a PB&J that night and mixed the marinade in a big bowl and divided it into 4 ziploc bags along with the steak halves.  I let the steaks marinade about 4 hours before freezing them and when I put the frozen bag in my fridge the evening before I'm going to make the steak, it'll continue to marinade.  I sear the steak in a pan on the stove then move it to a broiling pan in the oven since barbecuing in zero degree weather with two feet of snow on our deck is just not possible right now!  I'll serve this with either a salad or small baked potato and steamed broccoli.  Also, I'm not sure how to calculate marinade since so much of it is left in the bag?  Any suggestions?
4) My Homemade Lasagna- 8 WWP+
Basically I layer lasagna noodles with a meat sauce, a little bit of cottage cheese, mozzarella, and cheddar.  It is not necessarily a "healthy" recipe but I plugged it into my Weight Watchers recipe builder and it came out to 8 points for 1/9th of an 8/8 pan and paired with a big side salad, it will be filling! 
5) Bolognese from Skinnytaste.com - 3WWP+ (for sauce)
This is the only recipe I haven't tried out so I'll edit and update this later but it looks delicious!!  I'm making a double batch and freezing it in ziploc bags once it's cooled.  I plan on serving this with a salad and also I like the Smart Taste Penne with extra fiber and I'm going to do 1/2 cup cooked penne and then spaghetti squash and see if it's good.  I like spaghetti squash...but in all honestly, it does not satisfy my pasta cravings!  So this is a small compromise.
6) Mexican Pulled Pork Tacos from Can You Stay for Dinner?- 5WWP+ (for pork only)
Yum, yum, yum!!!  I make a 2.85lb pork loin and only double the sauce recipe.  I then divide the cooked meat along with a ladle full of the sauce into a ziploc bag.  Each bag serves 4 adults.  My sister also put it on top of a salad and she said it was great.  I've been cooking up green pepper strips and onions with a tiny bit of olive oil to add to my tacos and switched iceberg lettuce shreds with spinach.  I serve this with a Mexican brown rice I make "on the fly".  I cook the brown rice up with chicken broth.  Then I dice up red pepper and onions and saute with olive oil and garlic and sometimes throw in a few shakes of chili powder and cumin.  Then I toss the brown rice with the sauteed veggies and add frozen corn and some black beans (drained and rinsed) and a little bit of chicken brother just so the rice doesn't dry out and I toss it all together in a baking dish and I heat, covered in foil, until it's all warmed up until we are ready to sit down together.  I'll try to take pictures and actually measure out ingredients next time to share with you all.

That's my first months recipes along with the Crock Pot Potato Soup I mentioned earlier. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the ideas! I haven't done WW for a while now. I have been just trying to eat healthy and have dropped 20 lbs so far. (Still hard to believe) Anyway, I will definitly try these out! Thanks for the recipes. I hope you accomplish your weight loss and financial goals, I know you can do it!!