I had another successful freezer meal prep session this week that I wanted to share with you – in fact, I think this one might be my best yet in terms of money and time saved. (I think I get more efficient the more of these I do!) In addition to sharing my meal plan, at the end of this post, I’ll share with you the cost and time involved of assembling my meals.
First, I started by getting my 40 lbs of chicken breast from GoDirect Foods. If you’ve not used them yet – why not? Right now, they are selling boneless, skinless chicken breast for just $1.57/lb ($62.80 total for the case) and they have deliveries in select PNW cities just about every single week. It’s not too late to score this deal, by the way. Just create a free GoDirect Foods account, find a location near you, and place an order. (Note: if you’re finding this post much later than mid-late November, it’s possible the prices you find may be slightly different as they are subject to change. But since GoDirect Foods’ launch in June, their prices have been substantially lower than what you’d find at the grocery store! So DO check them out, regardless of when you’re finding this post.)
So, what does a case of 40 lbs of chicken look like?
Honestly, not as overwhelming as you might think. Inside the sturdy cardboard box are 4 large bags of chicken breasts, each about 10 lbs. If you’ve never processed this much chicken before, you could consider splitting it with a friend. (If you went half and half, you’d end up each paying $31.40 for 20 lbs of chicken.)
Now, you can trim it and freeze it in bags or a vacuum sealer, but I find I prefer to prep my chicken into meals. As I’m a busy mom, I have found the meals I’ve appreciated the most are the ones I can dump from the freezer straight into a slow cooker. So I spent about an hour tooling around on Pinterest, and came up with the following plan: Crockpot Chicken Chili x 2
This recipe includes 2 kinds of beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, garlic, seasoning and corn. I made two batches because I love a good chili on a chilly day! (Snag the recipe.)
Chicken Teriyaki x 2
I was drawn to this recipe because it has three ingredients – chicken, teriyaki sauce, and frozen stir fry mix. It literally took me a couple minutes to prepare both batches! AND, it’s slow cooker friendly! All you’d need to round off this meal is the rice. (Get the recipe.)
Fiesta Chicken x 4
Yes, you read that right. My family loves this recipe soooo much, I made it in quadruple batch! You cook everything together, shred the chicken and put on tortillas. Plus, we always have copious leftovers.
Now the recipe also calls for a block of cream cheese and a pack of seasoning. Here’s what I like to do: I freeze those items together, in a small bag! This way, I have on hand what I need to complete the recipe. Some people even buy and freeze the tortillas.
I’ve written about this recipe before, but if you’ve not made it yet, I hope you will consider it. It’s a good one to add to your freezer meal round up and it’s super quick to prep to! (Get the recipe.) BBQ Applesauce Chicken x 2
This recipe looked delicious and simple to make. When I serve it, I’ll likely shred the chicken and top on hamburger buns or sliders and serve with salad and fries. (Get the recipe.) Pineapple Chicken x 2
This was the only recipe I prepped this week that had any cooking involved – and it was simple. You basically cook the sauce, but then chill it. (Pro tip: make sure the sauce is completely chilled before adding it to the chicken and pineapple in the bag, or you stand to melt/damage the plastic freezer bag. No good!) (Get the recipe.)
Breaded Chicken & Cubed Chicken
After the above meals, I had about 10-12 lbs of chicken left. Some of this I just cubed and froze into small bags. I’ll use this for making chicken and biscuits or other similar meals. I also took some chicken, dusted it in flour, dipped it in egg, and rolled it into a mixture of seasoned bread crumbs, salt, pepper, and minced onion. These breaded chicken breasts are excellent pan fried in a bit of butter. They are a great base to recipes like Chicken Piccata or Chicken Parmesan.
Wrapping it up
I wanted to share my final costs and time involved, particularly for those that are new to freezer cooking.
Here’s what I spent:
- 40 lbs of chicken @ $1.57/lb = $62.80
- Ingredients for meals, plus freezer bags @ WinCo = $53.46
- Total: $116.26
I made a total of 17 meals, plus I have 5 lbs of cubed chicken left over. To arrive at a price-per-meal, I started by removing the 5 lbs of cubed chicken from my total ($7.85). This leaves me with a cost of $108.41 for the 17 complete meals I prepped. This works out to a cost of $6.38 per meal! Bear in mind, each one of these meals may well last my family of four for two nights. (We’re usually eating that Fiesta Chicken for a couple days because it yields such a big amount.)
Here’s the time involved:
- 45 minutes to pick up the chicken (there & back)
- 30 minutes to plan my meals
- 1 hour to shop (including transportation)
- 90 minutes to prep my meals
That works out to a total of 3 hours, 45 minutes for the whole shebang. Sound like a lot? On one hand, I’m not going to lie – this is a bit of an upfront time commitment and one that I mentally prepare myself for going into it! However, the time savings over the course of the days I’ll use the meals is substantial. Think about it: I now have 17 days where I can just plop a dinner out from my freezer, maybe make a salad or quick side and BOOM, I’ve got dinner. To me, the time and money I spend up front is well worth the benefit.
Are you inspired, and want some more posts to read? I’ve got a few:
- Freezer Meal Cooking Session from July
- How GoDirect Foods Works
- Cilantro Lime Chicken (Freezer to Crockpot Recipe)
- Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe (Freezer to Crockpot Recipe)