So excited!! Next week I am leaving on a girlie bonding cruise with my mom, aunt, and newest cousin: Rachel (she just married my favorite cousin Josh). I will be leaving my husband and the two girls to fend for themselves. I feel a little guilty that while I am sipping fruity rum drinks they will be home without me, ok not that guilty. But I do love them and worry about them so I decided to appease my guilt I would stock the fridge and freezer with more than enough food that at least they could eat well. It will also stop my darling husband from spending a fortune on pre-made food from the gourmet deli and being talked into pizza or Chinese takeout. This project also makes a great blog post to share with all of you.
It’s simplest to do the freezer stocking over weeks. That way you can just make additional portions when you are cooking and bag and freeze the surplus. I generally pick a few things that will stand up to freezing and make those meals the month before I am leaving. I recommend soups, sauces and other things that are one pot meals easy to defrost and heat back up or bake in the oven. Remember the people you are leaving this food with will only take the time to actually prepare it if they are think it’s worth the effort. So a simple prep is best. Otherwise they will just call for pizza.
The first two dishes I made for the freezer were soups: split pea and chicken. I just made a huge batch of each and froze more than enough to feed them while I was gone. I did this last month, by the time they defrost the soups they will have totally forgotten we ate these 6-8 weeks ago. I also made sure that the pantry was stocked with the soda crackers everyone likes with both soups. Next was the left over red cabbage from this blog post, its freezes really well. To go with the cabbage I left them bone in pork chops that my husband can grill and baked potatoes they can pop in the microwave. So that’s three meals. Ok almost half way there.
Next was a batch of turkey burgers, I just made a double batch last week and took 6 of them and put them between two layers of press and seal wrap then popped them into a loaf pan to keep them from sliding around in the freezer. You drop a frozen turkey burger on your toe and you will regret it so be sure to corral those suckers. Using the press and seal wrap you can cut out just a few and defrost as needed. I also made sure to freeze half dozen burger buns too. And let’s be honest they aren’t going to make a green veggie without me so I am not even going to try; there is spinach in the burgers that’s good enough.
I also have stashed a full Tupperware of homemade pesto in the freezer and a bag of those flash frozen chicken breasts that they can bake or grill while still frozen, if they want to add chicken to the pasta. And this week before I leave I will make huge batch of ground beef spaghetti sauce half for dinner half for the freezer. Pasta is such a no-brainer of a meal, its ridiculous. Anyone can and will boil water if there is the promise of good homemade sauce to cover that pasta with. I will leave them a big salad and homemade dressing, I hope they might eat some with a pasta dinner, but we shall see.
Next it’s all about the beef. Yep I am going to let them grill burgers and corn on the cob. It’s simple! My husband likes have the grill to play with and the summer corn is in season. The girls are happy to help make burgers so I am not even going to pre-make them. I will leave this meat to defrost on the day I leave that way they eat it before the fresh corn has time to get yucky in the veggie drawer. The buns are already in the freezer for with the turkey burgers and I will be sure there is plenty of sliced cheese.
Ok quick count…they have two soups, two pastas, two burgers, and the chops with red cabbage ready and waiting. That is seven dinners. I doubt that they will make all of it. One night I know that my husband will be talked into takeout or pizza and there will surely be enough leftovers from the soups and pastas to feed them a second night. So that means when I get home I will not have to cook my first night back! I am an evil genius.
I will also stock the fridge and pantry before I go. I will be sure that easy to prep and easy to eat food is in there waiting for them to eat it. That means lunch meat, bread, and sliced cheese for lunches at work and camp. I will stock fresh fruit, nuts, yogurt, milk, eggs, and cereal for breakfast. Then a few fun snacks like chips and salsa as well as bowl of homemade hummus with pre-cleaned and sliced veggies. I will also leave a big green salad along with a bottle of homemade dressing, if they eat that we shall see.
Next step is to leave directions for them. I know that my husband is capable of defrosting and heating food but without directions it’s really easy to forget to do it and just call for pizza. So I am leaving them this menu. It’s got all their options and what they need to do to get it from freezer to table. It took me a whopping ten minutes to type it up, so totally worth the effort. I will print it out and leave it in the kitchen next to the ever important coffee maker. I think that with the money we save from them eating out of the freezer while I am gone I am buying a new bikini for my cruise.