Ahhhhhhhh, finally. The semester is over. I turned in my last assignment on Thursday afternoon, finished my last day of work until July on Friday afternoon, made Mother’s Day up to my mom yesterday because last Sunday I was drowning in ~65 pages of paper writing death….
And now it’s over. For eight whole days. Granted, we’re moving next Saturday, but until next Friday is over, I have time to myself to do whatever I want. Of course, I have chosen to blog, to surf Pinterest for the first time in forever, and to watch TV and movies I’ve been neglecting with the Ryan. We might even get to play some Guild Wars together this week. Mwahahahaha! (Shout out to all my njorn out there! )
Anyway, yesterday the Ryan and I made the haul down to my mom’s house where I got to see my wedding dress up close and personal for the first time ever (she picked it up for me and is keeping it hidden, as the Ryan will peek. And yes, I saw it when I tried it on, but this one is actually in my size!) and it is soooooooooo pretty. Yay!! Our Mother’s Day gift to her was a webcam, so she and my brother can Skype us whenever they want (my brother sends us around 9 million messages on Xbox but it’s such a pain in the ass to write back with a controller >.<), and I decided to make her freezer meals.
A little thing about my mom: she never cooks. Okay, maybe not never, but it’s more common to see a blue or harvest moon than it is to see a legitimate homemade meal hit your plate in that house. Unless, you know, I’m visiting, in which case it happens then. As a matter of fact, one of my gifts was turkey burgers, sauteed mushrooms, corn on the cob and watermelon yesterday for lunch. Bam! Anyway, since my mom has been working so hard to lose weight, she has resorted to eating those frozen Smart Ones and Weight Watcher’s meals, which…A for effort, mom. She’s starting somewhere, so baby steps. She has lost 20 lbs, so good for her! In the mean time, my brother is left to eat Hot Pockets and those self-serve pizza thingies, I dunno what they are. He also drinks soda. Lots of it. Needless to say, he’s gotten quite..hmm..pudgy?
Being the avid cook that I am, and the fact that the Ryan and I have made significant lifestyle changes to aid us in losing weight, I sort of freaked out (understatement). I love my family, and I want them to be healthy. Letting my brother happily subsist off Hot Pockets and pizza for the next 20-30 years is not the right practice, and I don’t want to have to become his caretaker (he has disabilities) with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc., to handle on top of everything else. So I sat down, went through Pinterest, made a list of several meals that I knew they would eat, wrote a grocery list, and took my mom shopping. Well, she paid for it, but still. I went through the store, got everything we needed, went back to her house, and got to work.
Look at it all! Eeeek! I wrote the name of each meal, how to cook it in the crock pot and on what setting, and even what to serve it with. I got her some egg noodles and she picked out some minute rice (baby steps, at least it’s rice, right?).
Two hours and 13 freezer meals later, I was done. Most of this should have leftovers, so almost all of these meals should serve as two meals….therefore, they should last her almost a month. She was shocked that $120 worth of groceries could get her that far (she spends way too much on eating out 3x/day), so hopefully the health and economic benefits of this experiment will show their pretty faces and get her on the freezer meal train. Plus, she doesn’t have to do any work. Thaw it out the night before, put it in the crock pot, come home and eat dinner. Voila! It’s like those icky frozen foods but much, much better for you.
I didn’t take any photographs while I was working because frankly, my hands were dirty and covered in some sort of food substance pretty much the entire time, so I didn’t want to touch my phone.
I am hopeful that this will save my mom some $$ and get both of them eating healthier. In a little bit, I am going to make her a chart for each meal and email it to her so she can write whether she did/didn’t like it, what she did/didn’t like about it, and what I can change if I come down and do it again in a month or so. She and my brother are probably two of the most picky eaters you’ll ever meet. Ever. So I’m terrified that they won’t like something I made multiples of and will throw them out. So the chart, I think, will be helpful. High five to the Ryan for coming up with that idea, haha!
In the mean time, here are the recipes for each meal I made her:
Ranch Pork Chops
- 1 can organic cream of chicken soup
- 1 packet Hidden Valley ranch dressing mix
- Pork chops
- Add all ingredients plus maybe some baby potatoes to the crock pot and cook on low for 6 hrs, high for 4 hrs.
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- one 12 oz jar of salsa
- 1 envelope taco seasoning (since I was down there, I made my own taco seasoning and put that in)
- Add all ingredients to crock pot and cook on high 4-6 hrs; serve w/cheese, sour cream, or any other garnishes.
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- one 16 oz jar salsa
- 11 oz can of corn (I hate that stuff, I bought her frozen corn)
- one can of beans (I made one with black beans and one with pinto beans)
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- Cook on low 4-6 hrs, shred chicken and serve. Garnish with sour cream, cheese, etc.
Sausage & Bell Peppers
- 3 Italian sausages (I got her Italian style chicken sausages, have you seen the calories in regular sausages? *shudder*)
- 1 red pepper
- 1 yellow pepper
- 1/2 red onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 can Italian diced tomatoes
- 1 tbls Italian seasoning
- Cook on low 6 hrs, serve w/mashed potatoes or as is.
- 1 lb stew meat
- 2 tbls olive oil (she didn’t have any, I used canola)
- 1 onion, sliced thickly
- 1 tbls garlic
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup beef broth (we used low sodium)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar (I only used 1/4 cup)
- 1/2 tsp minced ginger
- 1/2 cup Hoisin sauce
- Cook on low 6-8 hrs, serve over rice.
Lazy Day Stew
- 1-2 lbs stewing beef
- 1.5 cup baby potatoes
- 2 tsp quick cooking tapioca (I have not been able to find this anywhere in ANY store. If you have any ideas where I could get it, let me know!)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- One 8 oz can of tomato sauce
- 1 tbls brown sugar
- 1-2 cup baby carrots
- 1-2 cup celery
- 1 onion
- Add 1 cup water or beef broth, cook on low 4-6 hours. Eat as is or serve over egg noodles.
- 1 tenderloin
- 1 cup low sodium beef broth
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 3 tbls garlic
- 3 tbls low sodium soy sauce
- 4 tsp dried onion flakes
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- Add all to crock pot, turn loin to coat; Spread garlic over roast (I used garlic powder, we didn’t have fresh cloves – she doesn’t have a press and I wasn’t feeling that ambitious) and cook on low 4 hrs. Serve with mashed potatoes and corn.
- 3-4 chicken breasts
- One 12 oz bottle hot sauce (or less if you’re super sensitive – we used a 5 oz bottle of Franks original)
- One packet Ranch dressing mix
- 2 tbls butter
- Spray crock pot with canola oil; Place chicken in crock pot, mix hot sauce and ranch, and pour over chicken. Cook on low 6-8 hrs. Add butter in the last half hour of cooking. Then shred and serve on rolls like pork bbq but not.
I wasn’t able to make this one, as we ran out of chicken, but I had it on the list anyway:
- 3-4 chicken breasts
- 1 can low sodium chicken broth
- Fresh onion & garlic
- 1/2 cup fresh Rosemary
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Line crock pot with sliced onions and garlic; Lay chicken breasts on top. Pour in chicken broth, sprinkle w/rosemary. Cook on low, 6 hrs. Serve w/brown rice and a veggie.
So there you have it! I am likely going to have to do some in this fashion myself in the next week or so, since I’m starting field school on the 28th and will be gone from ~7 in the morning to 5 in the evening, and will be out in the hot sun and sweltering humidity digging in the dirt and busting my hump everyday for 6 weeks. Oh, to be an archaeologist…Needless to say, the Ryan is going to be in charge of things for a while. Might as well help him out, right?
Anyway, I am off! Off to do whatever I want today, for the first day since at least Spring break! Wheeeeeeeee!!