You can click on it to get a bigger picture! 🙂

So here I have my menu.  It’s filled out for an entire month (with the exception of one week when we’ll be gone on vacation).  I’ve tried and tried to do this monthly menu plan thing and I always end up changing things around…  My goal this month is to be strong and hold tight to this menu!  I just KNOW I can do it!  🙂

I am doing something a little differently this month.  I’m going to try a Once-A-Month cooking approach.  I don’t have enough room in my freezer to do an entire month, so I’m going to focus on doing two weeks at a time.  I’m so excited!  Anyway, I thought I’d take the time today to show you exactly how I plan to prepare and freeze these meals… some of them will be whole meals frozen in an aluminum pan and some of them will be deconstructed parts of that meal that are just prepped or pre-cooked and I’ll just have to put it together when the time comes.

What I’m most excited about is my friend Audrey may be coming to join me in cooking for two weeks!  It’ll be just great as we’ll get to fellowship and be productive all at the same time!!!

So let’s break it down (I’m starting with Saturday, August 31st as I already have the food planned and purchased through Friday):

Mandarin Orange Chicken:  I’ll make the sauce and cook the chicken, cool then freeze in a ziploc bag.  On the day I make it, I’ll thaw it, warm through, add in the mandarin orange segments and serve over rice!

Tuscan Pork, Applesauce:  For the pork, I’ll just rub the spices/herbs into it, wrap it and freeze it.  On cooking day, I’ll thaw and roast the pork and serve w/ applesauce.  I’ll actually make the applesauce that day…  to me there’s nothing like, fresh applesauce, right off the stove!

Chicken Enchiladas:  I don’t like the texture of the sauce after it’s been frozen, so what I’ll do for this dish is cook and shred the chicken then make the enchiladas ahead of time (stuff the chicken and cheddar cheese into tortillas and wrap them).  On cooking day, I’ll make the sauce, pour over the enchiladas and bake!  Easy peasy, rice and cheesy!  😉

Chicken Kiev:  For chicken kiev, I’ll stuff the chicken breasts w/ the mixture of butter and monterey jack cheese, bread the chicken and freeze it.  On cooking day, I’ll thaw and bake.  Again, easy peasy, rice and cheesy!

Sauteed Chicken Breasts w/ a Whole Grain Mustard Sauce:   For this, I’ll just prepare the chicken for cooking.  To do that I’ll cut the fat off and slice each breast in half, length-wise.  As for the sauce, I’d just prefer to do that on cooking day.

Italian Shrimp (on the menu calendar it says chicken, but it meant to say shrimp ;-)):   With the Italian shrimp, I’ll freeze the shrimp with the marinade and cook it on the day it’s planned for.

Tacos:  This one is SO easy!  To prepare this, I’ll brown off the ground beef, toss in the salsa, then freeze it!  Then all I have to do is warm it through on its day!  Yay!

Chicken Kabobs:  For these kabobs, I’ll just prepare the chicken to be kabobbed.  Yes I just said, “kabobbed.”  Ha ha.  Anyway – the marinade they will be in is yogurt based and I don’t prefer to freeze yogurts…  So I will just chop the chicken into big pieces and freeze them that way.  Then on its cooking day, I’ll thaw them, marinate them and grill them!  Yum!

Chicken Fingers:  I’ll just bread the chicken tenderloins and freeze them.  As for the macaroni and cheese planned for that day – I don’t like to freeze mac and cheese.  I don’t like the texture at all.

Pork Medallions:  With this dish, I’ll coat the medallions in olive oil and coarsely cracked peppercorns and freeze them that way.  There is a sauce that goes with this, but it looks easy…  I’ll just save it for that particular day.

Fajitas:  To prepare this, I’ll score the skirt steaks, make the marinade, toss them in a ziploc bag and freeze.

Ravioli:  I take a little help with this one and purchase pre-made raviolis.  It’ll be HARD work trying to get those bags of raviolis put in the freezer!  Phew!  I’m sweating just thinking about it!  Bwahahahahaha!

Sweet Soy Marinated Chicken:  Make marinade, chop chicken, freeze.  The end.  🙂

Baked Ziti:  This is a tough one.  On one hand, I could prepare the entire meal and freeze it in an aluminum casserole dish.  However, I can’t STAND overcooked pasta.  For this one, I’ll probably just mix the meat and sauce then freeze it and just prepare it on its particular day.  I just can’t have overcooked pasta.

Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes:  This one’s pretty easy.  Mix the meatloaf ingredients.  Form into a loaf.  Wrap.  Freeze.  The end.  😉  I can prepare and freeze mashed potatoes too!  YAY!  I think I’ll do that then bake them off w/ the meatloaf when the time comes.  Yippie!

I’d also like to do several batches of rolls that I can freeze before I cook… that way I can take out, say 8 at a time and bake them for dinner that night.

Oh and muffins… I’d love to freeze muffins…

What else?  Give me some ideas!  I go shopping on Thursday!

Happy Menu Planning!