2018 Freezer Meal Challenge

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One of my 2018 goals is to do more batch cooking. Each week, I want to make something that can be tripled. Two batches will go in the freezer.

By February, we can have 2 meals per week that we don’t have to do any work for. This will simplify meal planning each week. By the end of the year, I’ll have created over 100 “fast-food” meals that can be used in a pinch. YES!

Wanna join me? There’s a Facebook group for sharing recipes and grand plans.

A few things we’ll need in order to get started:

  • Freezer containers. I’m having a heckuva time finding glass freezer containers with lids that hold up to lots of use. There’s a snap-lid set that I got from Target a few years back that I really enjoy, but they seem to have been discontinued. We also use big plastic containers and try not to heat them up.
  • Masking tape for labelling the dishes with the contents and date (Because I don’t want to wait until the oyster crackers and sour cream are on the table before I find out that container of chili was actually meat sauce).
  • A list of your freezer meals. This is optional, and I’m fairly sure this will be quickly abandoned around here. But it’s still a good idea to keep track of what is going into your freezer and what you have used.

Here are my big-batch January plans:

  • Week of January 1: Meat sauce. I like to start with this one because a double batch makes six meals. SIX! It’s a great way to jump-start our freezer reserves.
  • Week of January 8th: White chicken chili. We have a ton of leftover chicken in the freezer. This recipe is crazy simple for our first week back to school.
  • Week of January 15th: Pinto beans. So versatile – we use these for rice and beans, burritos, tostadas, and side dishes.
  • Week of January 22nd: Black bean soup. Because it’s everybody’s favorite.
  • Week of January 29th: Peanut soup. Another fave.

I hope you will join me! Check here for updates, recipes, and check-ins.

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Sushi Night

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We finally got the kids to try sushi by taking them to a rotary sushi bar, with the cool conveyor belt rolling tons of different types of sushi past our table. I hate to be the parent who uses gimmicks to get their kids to try new things, but honestly, I’m just so happy that we can all go out for sushi. I’m willing to own up to the bribe. They liked it so much that they wanted to have sushi more often, so we started to DIY. Continue reading

Family Fun Night: Okonomiyaki

Okonomiyaki {The Reluctant Hippie}

The Hippie Husband has fond memories of cooking okonomiyaki tableside at bars when he interned in Japan. He described it to us as cabbage-bacon-omelet-pancakes. We made okonomiyaki a few times before we had kids, but we hadn’t had it in awhile.

Both kids love cooking and were happy to give this a shot. We set up the griddle, chopped the ingredients, and set out on an adventure. It was dinner and entertainment. We had a blast. Continue reading

Irish Stout and Beef Pot Pie

Irish Stout Pot Pies {The Reluctant Hippie}

For St. Patrick’s Day this year, I wanted to make a Guinness-style beef stew with a soda farl topping. The Hippie Husband convinced me that there are much better stouts on the market than Guinness, so we chose Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout for the stew. It was just about perfect for this recipe – it brings a little sweetness and a lot of flavor.

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Make-Your-Own Panini Night

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We re-discovered this family favorite a few weeks ago. Foreman grill. Bread. Fillings (cheeses, meats, veggies, condiments). Each person can choose what they like, slap together their sandwich, and press it on the grill. Serve soup on the side, and you’ve got yourself a meal that will be loved by even your pickiest eaters.  Continue reading

Hot Mess (Loaded Sweet Potatoes)

Hot Mess (Loaded Sweet Potato) {The Reluctant Hippie}

On a recent trip to Dallas, TX, we had lunch at Pecan Lodge BBQ in the Dallas Farmer’s Market. The Hippie Husband had to wait in line for 40 minutes (a very short wait, by Pecan Lodge standards), and it was so worth it. He pronounced his brisket to be “the best” he’s ever had, and Little Hippie adored her mac and cheese. I’m not a hug BBQ fan, but I was intrigued by one of the menu items. I’m so glad I ordered it. The Hot Mess was love at first sight.  Continue reading