Well, this is really "eat like a person who is completely overscheduled yet wants to be healthy with minimal effort." But that was a little long for the title!
It is well-established that I have a love affair with slow-cookers. Like, I *might* own 5. But they are all different sizes! With different capabilities! And needs! And I just want to be sure they all get their equal share of love!
Okay, enough of that. I heard your eyes rolling.
Anyway, I've been meaning to have a Freezer-Pa-Looza day before I headed back to school to load up our new deep freeze with some meals. I used to be a big fan of those places you could go and make your own meals, but then they all had to up and go out of business on me. The nerve! But I really liked how I controlled the ingredients and there were no preservatives in there. I felt good serving them, even if they weren't necessarily the most gourmet things. Less time in my kitchen = more time to train, play with my kiddies, or (ew) grade papers.
So I decided that Saturday would be the day I was on a mission. Oh yeah.
Mission? To test out this new ecookbook I downloaded and make 10 freezer meals in 2 hours. Including time to the grocery store.
Could it be done?
(I do like a challenge.)
At 2pm, Bean was down for a nap (which, by the way, she's totally done on since she figured out how to get out of her crib and refuses to nap anymore....so this was truly my last hurrah). I had already made my shopping list and checked to see what was in the pantry.
I was ready.
I took my mark.
I hit the store and was a crazy person in the aisles, grabbing veggies and spices and everything I needed. I already had some good stuff at home from my local CSA, and I'm pretty good about stocking the pantry with spices. My bill minus the chicken (which I got at Costco) came to $86.47.
Then, I went ballistic on my kitchen. It was like a freaking bomb went off in here.
I had my trusty food processor to chop up all my veggies quickly. I started with the onions, since most recipes called for some onions. I decided to add an additional meal: one of my favorites! Speedy Laura's Chili. I know it freezes well and since I already needed some sweet potatoes, I figured I might as well!
So I was now attempting to make 11 freezer meals, all before Bean got up.
I kind of felt like I was in the Olympics. Of GEEK.
Anyway, the thing I was drawn to about most of the recipes from the ecookbook was that they made two of each. So I had two freezer bags set up, and then I'd just go to town. I was all Swedish Chef in there. There were veggies flying, sauce everywhere, and I might have said "Bork! Bork! Bork!" a few times and thrown a wooden spoon.
(If you were born after 1982, you probably won't know what I'm talking about: educate yourself, below, please.)
(okay, now we can be friends again)
Here's what I made--two of everything except the chili, but it's a HUGE pot of chili:
Chicken and Cherries
Orange Beef Stew
Flank Steak Fajitas
Speedy Laura's Chili
She's got a lot of lamb stuff in her cookbook, and I'm not sure how I feel about that. But there's definitely a lot more I'd like to try!
When all was said and done, I put them on a cookie sheet flat so that they would freeze nice and orderly because I AM OCD OKAY DEAL WITH IT. And I did about 4 backflips, 3 triple sowcows (yes, I know I spelled that wrong and have the wrong olympics) and then I STUCK THE LANDING, YO'.
My freezer was full, and I had the kitchen counters cleared off by 4:22 which was 3 minutes before Bean woke up.
If you can't already tell, I am ENTIRELY too excited about this. But if I can pull this off in 2 hours and 22 minutes, anyone can. I keep telling Matt how excited I am that "if I only use one a week, I'm good 'til Thanksgiving!" giddily with excitement like I'm 12 and I'm going to see Justin Bieber.
It's that bad.
But you know what? I know this stuff is healthy. I know it will cook while I'm at work or working out, and when I come home it's done. I won't feel guilty getting in that after-school swim or run if I know that a good meal is cooking away, so I think I'll be able to do that more often. And it bought me MUCH more than 11 meals: it bought me time. Time to play, time to train, time to (maybe?) think about sitting down.
So if you've got a few hours, I highly recommend getting to know your crockpot--and your freezer!--and stock up now to train more later!
And hey--I have a race coming up this weekend! It's going to be a challenging olympic distance for me, and I am not sure what I can pull off on the run, but I say BRING. IT.
Happy cooking--and training!