When Life Gives You Craziness, Respond by Making…

by Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom on July 24, 2012

{Imagine a countertop with 10 gallon size baggies. If you’re curious, they look like this.}

In order to prepare for all the craziness that will become my life in the next 4 weeks, I’ve decided to take the stress out of at least 1 area of my life…dinner. Between the contracts, earnest money checks, meetings, inspections, bubble wrap and packing tape, there’s the last week of VBS so the boys can spend every last minute with their favorite friends. And there’s the good-byes with our friends and church family. And our family.

And there’s the actual moving out of the house. And the cleaning of the empty house.

Plus there’s a weekend trip to Los Angeles for more Savings Nation training. Followed by a weekend trip to New York for BlogHer.

Then we move.

Crazy times ahead, friends.

C~R~A~Z~Y

In an attempt to maintain some level of sanity (although I feel like there is very little left in there), I made up some slow cooker packs. These are mostly for the guys to enjoy while I’m away. Plus I made 2 “stir-fry” packs to make while I’m home.

Simplify.

I know myself well enough to know that I’d be way too tempted to just go out for dinner, order a pizza or bring in take-out. But I also know that we are pinching every single penny that we have to make this move possible. I pulled out many of these ingredients from the pantry and freezer (because cleaning out the pantry is crucial at this point!), then bought the rest of what we needed. So now we’ve saved both time and money on dinner. Oh, and sanity too. (That’s most important at this point!)

I spent an hour yesterday morning making up 10 packs for the freezer…8 for the slow cooker, 2 to stir-fry. With each of these, I dumped all the ingredients in a gallon size ziploc. To cook, I will thaw partially, then slow cook on low for 8 hours. For the stir-fry packs, I will thaw partially, then stir-fry and serve over rice.

Chicken Stir-Fry

  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into pieces
  • 4 cups frozen stir-fry veggies
  • 2 tsp Sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce

Beef Stir-Fry

  • 3/4 lb stir-fry beef
  • 4 cups frozen stir-fry veggies
  • 2 tsp Sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce

Beef Curry (2 packs)

  • Used this recipe with 3/4 lb stir-fry beef, instead of chicken thighs

Chicken Curry (2 packs)

  • Used this recipe with chicken breasts, instead of thighs
  • Note: This is one of my boys’ all-time favorite meals!

Black Bean, Corn, Salsa Chicken (2 packs)

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 15 oz can corn, drained
  • 15 oz can black beans, drained
  • 10 oz can diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper

Italian Beef and Potatoes

  • 3/4 lb stir-fry beef
  • 2 cups baby carrotis
  • 2 cups red potatoes, quartered
  • 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp minced onion
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper

Italian Chicken and Potatoes

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 2 cups baby carrots
  • 2 cups red potatoes, quartered
  • 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp minced onion
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper

And the moment I finished, I felt like I got about 1/4 of my sanity back. Because now I don’t have to worry about dinner. Now I can use that 1/4 of my sanity to make sure all the paperwork is in line for the move, make sure my children have clothes on before we leave the house for VBS, and make sure that we get to all of our last doctor and speech/OT therapy appointments before we head south.

If you think about it, say a prayer for our family as we make this transition! Thanks friends!

 

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Elizabeth July 24, 2012 at 12:32 pm

how many do these serve?

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Elizabeth July 24, 2012 at 1:28 pm

We are a family of 5, and we are getting ready to have kitchen reno’s this would be great to do for that, no prep needed just drop it into my slowcooker and we are fed! :)

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BrandyU July 24, 2012 at 12:33 pm

Thanks for sharing all the of the recipes! You make it sound so easy.

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shelly July 24, 2012 at 12:44 pm

How do I print off these recipes also I hope your moves goes good for you and your family we moved a year ago from mn to tn so I feel for you thanks

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Shanna July 24, 2012 at 1:02 pm

Thank you so much for these recipes. As a Realtor, I’m constantly struggling to keep meals on the table with my crazy schedule but I don’t want to feed my family fast food every night. At 3pm, too often, I’m left wondering what to make for dinner.

I completely understand your hectic moving schedule! Good luck with everything!

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Sarah July 24, 2012 at 1:18 pm

Thanks so much! These sound delish! When you say “partially freeze” what does that mean? Do you take it out of the freezer the night before, then dump it in the crock pot the following morning?

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ana July 24, 2012 at 1:31 pm

such great meal ideas, i have never been a freeze-ahead kind of person but i really want to start.

best wishes for a great, not-too-crazy move!

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Stacey July 24, 2012 at 4:34 pm

Erin – you are my HERO! I’m in the process of moving myself and this idea is fabulous! Thank you so much for sharing and good luck with the upcoming craziness! God bless you!

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Becky L July 24, 2012 at 11:18 pm

You have alot on your plate these next few months. Take it easy and enjoy your time and will be praying for you all. Organizing your food is great and does save money. Good that you didn’t take the easy way out! :0)

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Stace @ Saving Stace July 27, 2012 at 4:47 pm

Oh my…these all sound really delicious! I made a trip to the store today so I could pick up all of the ingredients I need. I can’t wait to have these yummy freezer meals ready to go when I need them. Thanks so much for sharing!

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Denette July 31, 2012 at 11:28 am

Thanks for posting these. I have meant to get back into doing more OAMC, but hadn’t gotten around to it. I now have 12 meals and 5 packs of precooked chicken breast chunks in the freezer! I have about 10 more to bag up but I ran out of gallon size bags, so I’ll finish up later today!

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Krysty August 8, 2012 at 12:41 pm

ohhh!!! i am buying the ingredients to do all this tomorrow! I am sooo excited! I love to cook but sometimes I just need a break and an easy meal. Please do post more of these types of pack cooking. I will surely enjoy some variety!

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Tracie September 14, 2012 at 9:16 am

I made several of these packs and when I took them out of the freezer
The potatoes were all black!!! Did I do something wrong? I loved the convenience of
This but had to throw away the potatoes. I hade to pry them off the semi frozen other stuff. Please
Give me some tips!

Reply

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