During the summer I find there are many days when it is too hot to cook. While I could do just fine grazing on things, I have kids that need meals. So what is a mom to do?
Crock Pot Meals
I have learned to love my crockpot! This thing does wonders when I don’t want to turn on the oven. I have done the freezer cooking, making a month’s worth of meals in one day and just pulling them out as I need them.
While I love the freezer cooking, I strayed from that for a bit. My husband is asking me to get back into it, so that is a goal for me this month. I still use the crockpot, even without the freezer cooking. This is huge to making yummy meals when the heat is up outside.
Who doesn’t love to grill during the summer? We love to grill a lot! Last summer I think 3-4 meals a week came off the grill. It is nice to keep the heat outside and still have some great foods. We have learned that you can make many things on the grill. We have experimented with all our proteins, so there is no need to be stuck with hot dogs and hamburgers. My son is currently begging me to make him a portabella mushroom cap on the grill!
This can use anything you want. You can use lettuce, add in grilled proteins, croutons, and anything else you want. There are noodle salads. My only problem with this is that it uses boiling water. One thing I don’t like doing during the summer is adding more humidity to my house. I will prepare noodle salads on cooler days and served them when the heat comes up in a day or two.
This is one of the items that we use all year, but it is really helpful during the summer. Leftovers can be warmed up in the microwave. I don’t always like the microwave, but it does come in handy when I want to keep the heat down in the house.
How do you keep the heat down and still feed your family in the summer months?
I have taken on a new position over the last year. This is great for my family, but it also means that I have to figure out how to schedule my days to get it all done. This upcoming year, I plan to make two simple resolutions to help me work from home and keep the home somewhat normal!
Little Changes Mean Big Changes
One thing that I did not know, was that making one simple little change in my routine would have big changes following it!
Now that I am working from home, I am looking for help on how to schedule and manage our days so we can still get my work, the kids’ school, the house cleaned and food for dinner all done in one day.
In making these small change, I have come to realize that I need to make more and bigger changes in our daily life. I am looking for ways to make the day to day easier for everyone in the house!
How to Make it Work
So, how do I make it work? I rely on resources that will help me make things work. Being a part of the Homeschool Review Crew has given me the option to find products that help me in ways I never thought possible.
LisaTannerWriting Balancing Diapers and Deadlines helps me figure the basics of my working from home while homeschooling and keeping the house. This program has been awesome. It is the simple things she talks about that make huge changes in our house. She has found great techniques and gives you guidance on how to make it work, working from home while keeping the house!
MyFreezEasy has been a blessing with helping me plan meals. I love looking at Pinterest, but I get lost. I can take half a day looking at all the fun recipes and only find one or two that work for us. But when I log in to MyFreezEasy, I am able to find recipes that work, find the shopping list I need, and make a second batch of the recipe to freeze for a later date! How simple is that for a busy work at home, homeschool mom??
Motivated Moms is a great resource that allows me to make sure my house is liveable. I am not saying that it is spotless, I have four kids so I don’t expect that, but I love having a simple plan laid out for me that allows me to keep my house livable while I am busy with other things. In fact, I use this list of daily chores when my kids come to me saying they are bored. They can pick a task and complete it to help mom out.
Working from Home and Homeschooling is Possible
Over this last year, I have learned that working from home and homeschooling at the same time is possible. You need to find your groove and rely on the resources you have available, but it is possible.
I have tried to do this on my own, and I failed, miserably. But when I finally went to look for help, I found that I had some great resources to help me! These resources helped me fill in the blanks that I couldn’t figure out on my own. They filled in the gaps and allowed me to keep homeschooling and working from home at the same time.
You Can Do It
You can do it. You can work from home and homeschool. You can have a liveable home while you do it. All you need are the right resources. I recommend you check these out and see how they would work for you!
How do you homeschool and work from home without losing your mind?
I am linking up to the Homeschool Review Crew. Find more posts to read right here:
I know, I know, it is a holiday week why should we worry about menu planning? Well, the holiday is actually on Saturday and Sunday, so you will still need a full 5-day menu planned for this busy week!
Last year I was busy planning freezer meals that kept my freezer stocked full of all the yummy goodness! This year, while I still have some freezer meals, I have mostly frozen meat in the freezer and all the fixings in the pantry. I can still simply throw all the ingredients into the crockpot in the morning and forget it, but I miss my freezer meals. I hope to refill the freezer after the new year!
Meatball Monday! I only say this for today. Meatballs are far and few between. Ray Ray does not like them yet everyone else loves them. So, we find fun ways to eat these, so Ray Ray can put his off to the side. Right now, I have a bag of these big yummy premade meatballs that my mom grabbed for me. They are restaurant quality and we LOVE them! This week we are going to be making Baked Spaghetti. (In place of the ground hamburger, we will be using the meatballs.) We like to call this Spasagna, yes Spaghetti and Lasagna mixed together. This is one of the meals that Ray Ray will eat the meatballs with, so we will see.
Every Tuesday is always Taco Tuesday. This Tuesday is no different. We will be following the same recipe we have always been using and can't wait to keep up with this tradition!
I really want a good pulled pork sandwich, so why not make one right here at home! I am excited to try this Root Beer Pulled Pork recipe! How could this not be good? I hope it turns out as good as it sounds!
A few weeks ago, Daddy had a deer fly into his window. Yes, it was a great thing. Only, we got some venison meat out of the deal! It has been awhile since I have made anything with fresh venison and I am looking forward to making this Venison Cheeseburger Soup! Cheeseburger Soup just sounds amazing in and of itself, but being we are in the middle of winter, and rich, creamy soup sounds amazing!
Friday Pizza Night! This is something that comes and goes. We love to sit around pizzas and hot wings. Well, mommy and daddy enjoy the hot wings. We find a good deal on the pizza in town and make it here in the pizza oven. With the busy weekend ahead of us, this seems to be a fitting end to the week.
I have no plans for Saturday or Sunday. Well, actually Sunday morning I do plan to make this Easy Breakfast Casserole. We love to make it every Christmas morning. This is something that we can throw in the oven when Gaga stops over, by the time we are done with the present opening this is ready to eat! What a great plan!
What are you eating this busy holiday week? I would love to hear some of your favorites!
I love freezer meals. My family loves freezer meals. I love having food on hand for the busy crazy days that happen and I love knowing that even when I am crazy busy my family will eat a healthy homemade meal. While I have sat down, stared at Pinterest for hours, and made lists for the whole freezer meal shopping trip, I have had the chance to review the MyFreezEasy.com Freezer Meal Plan Membership from MyFreezEasy and I love the simplicity of this membership!
What Is It
Erin Chase is known for her $5 Dinners and how easy it is to make a meal plan, shop for it, and have yummy meals in your house. She took this one step further and has made MyFreezEasy for those of us who love to have meals on hand without all the prep the day of the meal. Not only that, but she knows that every house has a different menu they like and she is striving to make the freezer meals adaptable to everyone!
I was so happy to have the chance to take a look at the Premium Annual Membership to MyFreezEasy and was surprised by all of the options that are available.
The Basic Membership Plan gives you access to:
Traditional Plan – 10 meals: a mix of different types of meals
Gluten-Free Plan – 10 meals: completely gluten-free including sides
Slow Cooker Plan – 10 meals: all freezer to slow cooker style
Clean Eats Plan – 10 meals: all “clean ingredients”
20 Meals Plan – 20 meals: a mix of different types of meals
All Chicken Plan – 10 meals: all recipes using chicken breasts/chicken thighs, so you can get the chicken on sale and stock your freezer
All Ground Beef Plan – 10 meals: all recipes using ground beef so you can get the ground beef on sale and stock your freezer
All Pork Chops Plan – 10 meals: all recipes using pork chops or pork tenderloin so you can get the pork on sale and stock your freezer
These recipes are super awesome and will let you fill your freezer up. The nice thing, Erin will make sure that each month you have a new rotation of recipes so that you and your family will never be bored with supper time!
But here is the kicker, you will not just get the recipes and be left to fend for yourself.
Each month you will also get:
Well organized shopping lists arranged by grocery store section so you’ll save TONS of time instead of walking back and forth in the aisles
Assembly details – including how to prep the ingredients, then load up the meals into bags and trays – you’ll know exactly what to do and when to do it to make this your quickest cooking experience ever
Printable Labels for your meals’ bags or trays – don’t worry about getting Curry Chicken confused with Pork Chop Primavera – you’ll know exactly what’s what!
Highlights videos with tips and tricks for the recipes in each plan – this makes the recipes confusion-free and SO easy to follow
Instructional assembly video for the meals in the Traditional Plan – you’ll learn this method and never have freezer burned sadness again
Dairy-free modifications on all recipes
Gluten-free modifications on all recipes – don’t worry about figuring out proper substitutions because we’ve done the work for you.
How We Used It
Now, that was just the basic membership. I was able to explore further with the Premium Membership. What does that mean? I got to explore Erin’s library of recipes and pick and choose what I wanted to make for my freezer stocking day. I was able to see what would work better for our family, pick a different serving size, and get the same benefits of the shopping list, assembly directions, and printable labels. What more could a freezer cooking mom ask for?
When I do my freezer cooking adventures, I love to include my mom. We plan the meals that we are going to make and go to it. We split the meals and the cost, so I didn’t get the 10 meals each time, I also only paid half the price. Although paying full price with 10 meals at home would not discourage me one bit, it is just how we have always done it.
Using MyFreezEasy is different than what we have done in the past. We didn’t have to sit down separately and plan our meals and hope that we weren’t picking the same ones. We spent an afternoon just looking at the choices we had available. Not only that but looking at an already planned menu was perfect! We loved having the option to change this up to fit our eating styles. Once we finally looked at most of them, we started picking the ones we wanted to make for our shopping trip. I printed up the recipes, shopping lists, and assembly directions. The next day we were off to the store.
We did our shopping and came back to my house. This is where we prepped everything. This usually took us a few hours and we had a huge mess after we were done. While it was nice to have meals stored, the aftermath took forever to clean up and we didn’t have any fun with this. But using Erin’s MyFreezEasy, we had all of our meals made up in no time. Both of us commented numerous times how quickly it was going and the aftermath, well, there really wasn’t one. It all fit into one dishwasher load, and that included extra dishes from previous meals.
After it was all said and done, we had 12 meals, 6 for each house, made and ready to go for the week. Do you know what that means? I don’t have to stress about what the family will be eating this week. I have a menu planned for the whole week and I don’t have to do much more planning other than to pull the meals out of the freezer on the right day.
What We Thought of It
This program has been a time saver for us! We cut our time in half, and still came out with meals we loved to eat and the kids loved to eat! Erin even went as far as filming herself making the monthly selections to show you how it can all be done. These monthly videos show us how it can be done and that it is just as easy as it sounds.
Not only have we been able to make a freezer full of meals, but Erin gives us the option to make this meal tonight and one to freeze for later. This has been an awesome time-saver. I loved making the Sloppy Dogs for supper and having a second serving in the freezer for another night. This meal is just as it sounds, a Sloppy Joe on a hot dog, similar to the Chili Dog. This was a well-loved meal in the house!
If you have ever thought about making freezer meals, but the whole process scares you, you need to head over and take a look at MyFreezEasy and see just how easy it really can be. With this site, there is no excuse for why you can’t fill your freezer full of meals. And to have the prep time being under an hour, this can be done during nap time and you have nothing to worry about.
Overall, I love MyFreezEasy, and I have done the old fashioned way to freezer meal planning. I dread ever going back to the old way of filling my freezer. We were just one family to have the chance to review this plan. Head on over and check out the other reviews, and don’t forget to give some love to Erin and her MyFreezEasy!
It is Tuesday, do you know what that means? Well if you are in our house, it means that you are having tacos for supper tonight! We started this tradition about 4 months ago and we enjoy it. This is the only day of the week that we have the same thing every week. Normally we don't do this, but this meal we just can't seem to stop.
So what is it that makes us want to do the same thing every Tuesday? Well, you know when you have that favorite restaurant with your favorite food? You could eat there all the time? Well, we found a recipe that makes our tacos so crave-able, they remind us of our favorite taco place. The only thing, we don't have to load up the kids and travel for 20 minutes. We don't have to spend as much, and we don't have the in restaurant meltdowns! Yes, we have our restaurant food without the restaurant!
I found my favorite taco recipe right here, but I have done a few Hopkins updates to it. First of all, I fry the hamburger up at lunch time and drain it. I add in our favorite taco seasoning and just a half a cup of water extra, as needed. Yes, I follow the back of the package for adding water, and will add more as I see it is needed during the cooking process. Yes, I cook my taco meat and finish it up in the crockpot! Trust me, you need to try this in your house.
So, how do you make your Taco Tuesday tacos? Have you tried the crockpot method?
It is the start of another week. Another week means another menu plan for the week. This week I again plan to use my freezer meals to help me provide yummy, healthy, real meals for my family with little to no prep each day from me!
This soup is DELICIOUS!! I can say this because I have been eating it all last week! We have made this more than once because everyone in the house will eat it and it has everything we need, protein, veggies, and flavor! You can add potatoes, but we did without and loved it. Serve this with some biscuits and a nice side salad or just plain.
I have yet to find a tortellini recipe that I don't like. This is sure to live up to the standard. I had two of these, but one went across the road to a new mom with a baby in the NICU. She is a tortellini lover and says that this is a hit. I am taking her word for it and looking forward to this with a ceaser salad on the side.
I have always wanted to try Chicken Chili, so when my mom (Gaga Bebe) made this for the freezer, I was stoked! Wednesday is our busy day and it is the one night we don't eat together so finding a meal that can sit in the crockpot is awesome. This is that meal for us. We plan to have some breadsticks with this and mommy wants another salad (everyone else is tired of salads now).
I personally love fajitas and to have them in the crockpot sounds like heaven! Thursday is the second busiest day of our week. With this meal there is no prep involved, other than throwing it in the crockpot and eating it! I can't wait to try this, as I have heard great things about the idea of cooking these that way. I can't wait to try this one out!
The last time we had this we used real rosemary, this time we are trying dried rosemary. I am super excited to try these again as they were delicious the first time. I will be serving this with some mashed potatoes and a vegetable.
I love having all the meals prepped in one day and just heating them up the night that we need each one. This makes it very easy to feed the meals that we need to eat each day. I love using my crock pot, like this one. It makes it so nice! And these liners make the clean up even more easier (is there such a thing?)! Do you do any freezer cooking? What is your favorite recipe?
~ Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliated links which mean that if you purchase from the links provided I may be compensated a small commission, as always thank you for your support!
Now, if you have read my previous post, you know that I have been having fun with freezer meals. Freezer meals have allowed me to have a home cooked meal for my crew of mouths with little to no prep each day. I just need to make sure to take the food out of the freezer in enough time to let it thaw out before I need it.
Now, even though I have all this food in the freezer and I can just pick and choose a day or two before, I like to have a plan. I like to space the types of foods out, not too many chicken or noodle meals in a row. To do this, you need to have a menu plan. I want to share mine with you for the next week.
Tonight we are cheating. We are not having a freezer meal tonight; daddy is grilling us some steaks tonight!
After a few months of freezer cooking, you find a favorite. We have a favorite. This freezer meal recipe comes into the rotation every time! If you have not tried the Slow Cooker Cranberry Pork Roast, you are missing out on a wonderful meal! Now here is the thing, we use a boneless roast, that dang bone keeps poking out of the bag and making a mess of our freezer meals!! We usually add a frozen veggie, like green beans and some mashed potatoes with this.
Another favorite freezer meal that we have come up with, Chicken Pesto! This recipe is super simple, super cheap and EVERYONE in the house loves it! When does it happen that everyone loves the same recipe? Well, when they do, you keep making it! We shred the chicken, add some angel hair pasta and a salad on the side. Such a great meal!
Beef Tips with Gravy, now this alone sounds delicious! This over some egg noodles and roasted broccoli on the side. The noodles are loved by everyone, and the creamy beef by most. That is enough for me!
Salsa Chicken is the freezer meal on the menu for tonight. This is another simple recipe. It is Saturday, we don't like to do much on the weekend, so tonight we will shred the chicken and serve this with some tortilla chips. We really love the ones from Aldi, under ½ the cost of name brand with the same taste, who wouldn't love them!?
Sunday, oh Sunday. This is a great day for a late breakfast and a super simple supper. We are going to try a new one this week. We are adding Sweet Sriracha Meatballs for the big ones and regular meatballs for the littles. This served with some finger veggies and ranch sounds like the perfect snacky supper. Oh, wait is it the Super Bowl today? J
Tonight is a Monday; we are "lazy" on Mondays. Tonight we are going to do some Black Bean Taco Soup tonight. Now my kids will be upset because it is not Tuesday, but I really don't care. They love this soup and I will just have to make some yummy garlic toast to go with it. This recipe says to split this half, we did not do this and for a family of 5 ½ there were no leftovers!
Have you tried any of these recipes? Do you freezer cook? I would love to hear from you on what your favorite meals are! Leave me a comment below!! (please J )
I love having a good meal for my family. But the work that goes into that, it can drain me each and every day. I have so much going on, being a wife, a mom, a teacher, a housekeeper and blogger, that being a chef is tough. Lately I have found a trick to making this happen. A way to be a chef without all the extra work each day that goes into that. I have found freezer meals!
Freezer cooking, the art of planning a week or two worth of suppers, shopping for those meals all at once, prepping and freezing all those meals in one day. This thing sounds crazy! But you know what? It is something that actually saves time and money, as well as my sanity!
So, where do I find these recipes? Why on Pinterest of course! I even have a board just for my freezer meal ideas. I go through, see what is on sale, and plan my meals. I am lucky though, I get together with my mom, we each pick 5 meals, make double and split them. I walk away with at least 10 different meals!
This last weekend we went and did this adventure again. What a wonderful way for me to get out of the house, and the kids to have some alone time with daddy!
The five meals that were picked by my mom over at GaGa BeBe’s were:
We learned a few things the first time we did this freezer cooking expedition. This time we had more counter space cleaned off and ready to use. We also realized that we would need to plan these trips around garbage day…you get a lot of garbage when you are prepping 10+ meals in one sitting!!
Have you ever done any freezer cooking? What are your favorite recipes? I would love to hear from you!
I have fallen in love. This is not a person I am in love with, rather I have fallen in love with my crockpot! Do you know how easy it is to throw the food in the crockpot in the morning and not worry about it all day long, go about your day and then sit down and eat at supper time? It is as easy as finding the right recipe.
Now, everyone loves a good meal on a cold winter day, but what about during the summer? Do you put your crockpots away for those warm months? Forget all about them? You need to change that!!! I have found that there are A LOT of yummy summer types of recipes that you can make, and keep your house cool from not using your oven or stove.
I have decided that I NEEDED to share some of these yummy, delicious recipes with you so that you could try them out for yourself.
First of all, I wanted to say, Pinterest is wonderful for finding recipes! I have a CrockPot recipe board over there that I keep adding to. But I also love The Frugal Girls! They have some of the best recipe collections I have seen! Have you checked them out yet?
Oh, how yummy!! One thing I like to do, is just before serving our drumsticks, after they have cooked all the way, is to throw them on the grill for 2-3 minutes per side. It gives them that grilled taste, without the dried out meat!