Welcome To Day 3 Of The Empty The Freezer Challenge!
Yesterday, I talked about how I needed to use the best time for me to make a plan to cook from the freezer, and to prepare for it. Basically, I needed to start in the morning and put my day on autopilot so that I didn’t have to think about it the rest of the day.
You can apply this to your own strategy today, but taking time to think about the next 3 meals whenever is best for you. This could be first think in the morning, before the kids wake up, maybe naptime, or maybe you like to prepare in the evening for the next day.
Whatever time works best for you, I encourage you to put your meal plan on autopilot – make it a priority and think about how accomplished you’ll feel when all of the pieces fall into place!
Before we get into day 3, if you’re new to the challenge, I’m taking a little break from my regular postings in December to do a Challenge designed to help save money, simplify, and prepare for the new year:
The “Empty The Freezer Challenge”
What is it? The Empty The Freezer Challenge is my way of encouraging you to not only slow down this season, but save money and get creative! I would guess that most of you are like us: you have tons of food in your freezer which may or may not be edible, that you’ve either forgotten or aren’t super motivated to eat.
They may require some creative meal preparation or presentation, but they’re still good to eat!
Starting December 1st, I’ll by on a mission to use up everything in my freezer – that is still safe to eat. I don’t want to buy anything from the grocery store except for milk. We get eggs from friends who have chickens, so don’t think we’re avoiding using eggs – we’re not.
We may or may not get through all of the food in our THREE freezers, but we’re going to try! Then, on December 25th when we have family over I’ll finally be able to cook with new food from the grocery store!
What Will The Challenge Accomplish?
The Empty The Freezer Challenge have several purposes:
- It will encourage you to spend very little/no money on groceries during most of the month of December – a no-spend month of sorts, but without calling it that.
- It will get tons of food our of your freezer!
- And it will give you a blank slate for the new year – at least as far as your fridge/freezer are concerned
- As a bonus, your family will probably complain a lot less in 2016 when you make a creative or inexpensive meal!
Today, I want to talk about Brainblock as it relates to the empty the freezer challenge.
All week, my internet has been a source of frustration. On monday, it was out for 4 hours – hours that I usually work during. Tuesday it was out for 3 hours, Wednesday for another 3, and then today, it was out for 6 whole hours. I called Charter and ripped them a new one, but still didn’t feel better.
Understandably, when I went to try and figure out what to eat, I hit a brain block.
You might be struggling with meal ideas too – hopefully for different reasons! – so before I share what we ate today, I wanted to address some strategies to help you with Brainblock:
Allrecipes Dinner Spinner
AllRecipes.com not only has one of the largest collections of recipes on the web, it has tool to help you come up with creative meals using only what you have on hand.
Download their app, called the Allrecipes Dinner Spinner, and it will help you come up with ideas by first putting in the protein you have on hand, entering any vegetables or pastas, and then “spinning” the dinner spinner.
It will then give you a bunch of recipes that you can make with what you have on hand! It’s free and a no-brainer if you’re trying to empty your freezer!
Simplify The Choices
In the beginning cooking from the freezer can be difficult because you have many choices for proteins, vegetables, pastas, fillers, and even fruits. I know my brain tends to “spin” with all of the choices and I get overwhelmed.
When this happens, I simplify. I pick one protein, pick on veggie that goes with it, and possibly a starch. Then, rather than crafting some crazy casserole or gourmet meal, I simply serve the protein with a side of veggie and the starch.
I admit I don’t serve simple meals like this often, but I’ve never had a complaint on them.
When All Else Fails, Taquitos or Fajitas are always a winner
Stuck on what to make with a hodge-podge of ingredients?
Turn it into Taquitos or Fajitas. We make fajitas basically like a stir-fry with a bit of spice for a kick, and then everyone assembles their own with rice, cheese, beans, lettuce, tomato and sour cream.
Or, if I don’t have tons of veggies and/or cheese on hang, I’ll shred whatever protein I have on hand, combine it with greek yogurt and/or sour cream, cheese, and a bit of cajun seasoning. Then, I roll up the mixture in small tortillas to make taquitos. Bake those puppies at 350 for 20-30 minutes, or until the tortillas start to get crispy and service with sour cream, salsa, and/or ranch dressing.
So, What Did We Eat On Day 2 Of The Empty The Freezer Challenge?
Breakfast – Oatmeal for the hubs and the kiddo, eggs for me
Lunch – I had some salmon lurking in the fridge that needed to be eaten before it went bad, so the kiddo and I had salmon cooked with lemon pepper, and topped with a little cream cheese that was mixed with green onion and a little lemon pepper seasoning. She ate quite a bit, but 20 minutes later decided she was hungry again, so I made her some mac & cheese. The big guy was so busy at work, he didn’t have a chance to eat lunch :-(
Dinner – The hubs worked at 12 hour day, which is kind of unheard of, so by the time he called me to say he was on his way home, it was already 6pm, and I needed something filling, quick, and that didn’t require any ingredients that I didn’t have on hand. So, I made Turkey Taquitos, just like I described making them above. They were awesome, but maybe because we were all super hungry by that time!
How Did Your Day 3 go?
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