Tuesday, March 10, 2015

6 Bags of Groceries, 2 hours, 24 meals, $146

Today I turned these 6 bags of groceries into 24 meals in less than 2 hours.

Well, the people have spoken. And by people, I mean my people. I was due for another round of meals and having no desire to come up with anything, look up any new recipes, or get creative with a theme, I asked my family what they wanted. Here's what we came up with (a combination of crock pot, grill, and oven meals):

Menu |
2 Butternut Squash Chili
2 Texas BBQ Rub Pulled Pork
2 Smokey Applewood Pork Loin
2 White Chicken Enchiladas
2 Chicken Pot Pie
2 Spaghetti Sauce
2 Herb & Wine Chicken Thighs
2 Mojito Lime Chicken Thighs
2 Zesty Herb Drumsticks
2 Mac & Cheese
2 Shepherd's Pie
2 Sausage Bake

(I can swear by every single meal. YUM!)

Grocery List |

2 Butternut Squashes
1 bunch kale
3 large russet potatoes
1 stalk of celery
1 bag carrots

Canned Goods:
2 cans black beans
2 cans kidney beans
4 cans tomato sauce
2 cans cheddar cheese soup
2 cans green beans
2 cans corn
4 cream of chicken
1 carton of chicken stock
2 cans diced tomatoes
2 cans of tomato paste
2 cans diced green chilis

2 large bags sprinkle cheese (I use a Monterey/cheddar mix)
1 16 oz. container of sour cream

3 bags of frozen broccoli
2 packages of pie crust (2 crusts per package)

Dried Goods:
1 large bag of macaroni noodles
4 bags instant mashed potatoes
2 packages of spaghetti noodles

6 lbs. ground beef
1 10 lb. pork loin (to be cut into fourths)
2 bags of frozen chicken thighs
1 bag frozen drumsticks
1 bag frozen chicken breasts
2 lbs. ground Italian sausage
2 packages of smoked sausage

2 chili seasoning packets
2 Texas BBQ Rub seasoning packets
2 Smokey Applewood seasoning packets
2 Zesty Herb seasoning packets
2 Mojito Lime seasoning packets
2 Herb and Wine seasoning packets
2 bottles of BBQ sauce
Brown sugar
Dried basil
Garlic Powder
Salt & Pepper
Bay leaves

2 packages of hoagies
2 packages of tortillas
4 disposable trays (for shepherd's pie and mac & cheese)
1 box gallon zips

My total was $146 and I shopped at Winco.

When you get home, brown the ground beef and Italian sausage. Boil water to cook the macaroni. Prep the produce - peel and cube potatoes and squash, chop kale, celery and carrots. Label bags and trays.

Butternut Squash Chili

1 cubed butternut squash
1 lb. ground beef, cooked
1 packet chili seasoning
1/2 the chopped kale
1 can kidney beans
1 can black beans
1 can tomato sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar

8 hours on low (make 2)

Spaghetti Sauce

1 can tomato sauce
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
1 lb. ground Italian sausage, cooked
1 lb. ground beef, cooked
Garlic powder
1 bay leaf
2 Tbsp. brown sugar

8 hours on low (make 2). Serve over spaghetti noodles.

Shepherd's Pie

On the bottom of a tray, smother 1 lb. cooked ground beef with 1 bottle of BBQ sauce.
Add 1 can of green beans (strained) and corn (strained).
Layer 2 prepared packages of mashed potatoes.
Top with about 1 cup of sprinkle cheese.

Cook 1 hour or until heated through at 350. (Make 2) Note: if you like more beef in this meal, simply add another couple pounds of ground beef to your grocery list.

Mac & Cheese

Cook the macaroni, strain and place back in the pot. Add 1 cup of milk, 2 cans of cheddar cheese soup, 1 bag of sprinkle cheese. Salt and Pepper to taste. Mix until all the cheese is melted through. Pile in a tray and top with more sprinkle cheese

Cook 1 hour or until heated through at 350. (Make 2)

Sausage Bake

Freeze 1 bag of frozen broccoli with 1 package of smoked sausage. Take out of the freezer the day you are ready to eat it. Combine with cubed potatoes and other veggies if desired, drizzle with EVOO, garlic powder, oregano, sage, salt and pepper. Toss and bake. (Note: I have tried freezing the potatoes with this...it doesn't taste as good so I only buy the freezable ingredients and add the fresh ones later.)

Bake at 425 for 45 minutes - 1 hour. (Make 2)

Texas BBQ Rub Pulled Pork

1/4 of the 10 lb. pork loin
1 package of Texas BBQ Rub seasoning

Add 1 cup of water when placed in the crock pot. 8 hours on low. Serve on the hoagies you'll freeze with this. (Make 2)

Smokey Applewood Pork Loin

1/4 of the 10 lb. pork loin
1 package of Applewood seasoning

Add 1 cup of water when placed in the crock pot. 8 hours on low. (Make 2)

White Chicken Enchiladas

1 can diced green chilis
1 can cream of chicken
8 oz. sour cream
1/2 bag of chicken breasts
Salt and pepper

8 hours on low. Shred chicken, roll in tortillas you froze with this, top with extra sauce and cheese. Bake for 30 minutes at 350. (Make 2) Note: if you like your enchiladas spicier, add a can of sliced jalapenos.

Chicken Pot Pie

1 can cream of chicken
1/2 carton of chicken broth
1/2 bag chicken breasts
1/2 chopped celery stalk
1/2 of the chopped carrots
1/2 of the cubed potatoes
Garlic powder
Salt and pepper

Cook 8 hours on low. Add 1/2 the bag of frozen broccoli during the last 30 minutes of cooking. Shred chicken. Add filling to the pie crusts that you will freeze with this. Bake according to package instructions. (Make 2)

Herb & Wine Chicken Thighs

1/2 bag of thighs
1 packet Herb & Wine seasoning
Drizzle with EVOO

Thaw and grill. (Make 2)

Mojito Lime Chicken Thighs

1/2 bag of thighs
1 packet Mojito Lime seasoning
Drizzle with EVOO

Thaw and grill. (Make 2)

Zesty Herb Drumsticks

1/2 bag drumsticks
1 zesty herb seasoning packet
Drizzle with EVOO

Thaw and grill. (Make 2)


In the last year, I have had 2 crock pots break (the stoneware pot cracked in half in both cases). I contacted Crock Pot to see what was up and they told me I shouldn't put frozen food in the crock pot. Wait, what???

Nothing in the crock pot manual says to not put frozen food in the crock pot so I went out of my comfort zone and fought back, SO they replaced my crock pot for free! Which is totally awesome and I'm thankful. Here's the tip they gave me for cooking frozen food: add at least 1 cup of liquid to the bottom of the crock pot when cooking frozen food. This is why I decided not to add any liquid to the liquid-less meals listed above before freezing. I'll just add it when I put the meals in the crock pot, which makes it a little bit easier. :)

I typically plan out my meals for the whole week, take them out of the freezer and into the refrigerator on Sunday night so they can defrost throughout the week before I cook them. However, if I forget to do that or if a meal doesn't completely defrost, I know now to put an extra cup of water/broth to help ease the cooking process.



  1. Oh, my goodness, Caitlin. Your butternut squash chili was so good. My husband said it's a keeper. Jane Plant