Budget Freezer Cooking

Being able to feed your family well when you have very limited amount of money to spend is something close to my heart. My oldest child was diagnosed with severe developmental delay (and later with autism) right as the construction economy collapsed in 2008.  Western medicine wasn’t helping her, and we found that dietary changes helped the most.

As we started dietary intervention to try to get through to this child who wasn’t sleeping, screaming all day, and opening and closing doors excessively, we also had only one car (a red ’91 Izuzu Rodeo that required ratchet straps to keep the back doors from flinging open as we drove), a mountain of credit card debt, food assistance that provided a bazillion gallons of milk and cereal for my child that couldn’t eat dairy or grains, an infant… and a job layoff that lasted for more than 6 months.

Necessity is the mother of invention.

Hannah and Cara - after a year on GAPS

This is us, enjoying the outdoors (free) after she had been on GAPS for a year.

Invention was necessary.  I had seen the benefits of eating a grain-free diet for this child, and I wasn’t willing to watch her regress just to save money on food, so I figured out how to do the GAPS diet on a very limited budget.

What is the GAPS diet and how can it help with autism? Click here for an overview of how autism starts in the gut, and here for an overview of the GAPS diet. 

You might be in the same position- overwhelmed because you see the need for GAPS or eating grain-free but all the ingredients and recipes look like they’re out of your price range.

Or you might just have a temporary setback where you’d like to cut your grocery bill in half for a month or two so that you can pay down debt, cover a big car repair, or stock your emergency fund.

Either way, if you follow these step-by-step directions, you will see the number in your bank account grow, and your family’s health thrive.

That’s it- I’ve laid it all out below, and if you just DO it, you will be eating well, while saving possibly hundreds of dollars THIS month.

Poor is a state of mind, broke is “I’m just passing through” ~ Dave Ramsey

Let this class be the change that you need to help you pass through being temporarily broke.

Freezer Cooking Saves Time

Time is another area where people struggling to make ends meet run into trouble.  Whether it’s having to do all your errands on your one day off a week due to sharing a car, working multiple side jobs to try to cover the basic bills, or dealing with crisis after crises that comes with living paycheck to paycheck- where there is limited money there often is limited time as well.

That’s why this class is designed to be ‘one and done’.  It’s a longer cooking session than my other freezer cooking classes, but once this food is all in your freezer, you will have peace of mind knowing that you have 16+ meals in the freezer that will feed your family dinner for the next two weeks or longer, without causing them health problems.

budget-friendly-grain-free-groceries

Equipment & Groceries needed

This class is designed to work with kitchen equipment that you most likely already have, or can borrow easily.  The groceries are easy to find in most large supermarkets, and for a low cost, they pack in loads of flavor and nutrition.

Recipes

These are all delicious meals that are staples in our family. Thankfully with a little creativity you can still have delicious food on the cheap that you’ll be proud to serve to company, and will nourish you and your family.

If you are strict paleo (no legumes or dairy), there are some adaptations for you.

These dishes are packaged to serve an average family of four, adjust as needed for your family. The chilis have enough in each package to be used for lunch the next day.

Sprouted Lentil ChiliWe are making:

(3-4) Beef-Sausage Stuffed Winter Squash for a gourmet all-in-one meal using all the best flavors of winter.

(4) Shepherd’s Pie Casserole to enjoy this classic comfort food, without the grains.

(3) Napa Chicken Salad gives us one meal to eat on cooking day (you’ll be tired, and thankful that dinner is ready!) and two for the freezer.

(3) Lentil Chili, for those who eat legumes we sprout the lentils for better digestion and then watch as everyone is surprised at how much they actually do love lentils- when they’re seasoned well.

(3) White Chicken Chili, this comforting chili makes enough for company and goes from freezer-to-Instant Pot or slow cooker in a snap.  This chili is light, warm, comforting, and filling.  My kids love taking it to school in thermoses the next day.

Coconut Macaroons before baking

And there are extras as well!

Chicken stock is made to use up the last bit of fantastic nutrition from our chicken, and becomes the base for easy soups or even is enjoyed heated and salted.

Roasted winter squash is a nutrient-dense and delicious side dish, or it can be pureed into chicken stock for a quick soup.

Roasted Squash Seeds provide crunch, saltiness, and a perfect portable snack or addition to your meal.

Kombucha SCOBY Kombucha provides probiotics and is easy to make… if you have a SCOBY (the starter that is used over and over).  Here we make a Kombucha SCOBY using store kombucha.

And finally, Coconut Macaroons use the egg whites that are leftover from the yolks that we use to thicken the Chicken Chili, and are an inexpensive sweet treat after a meal that won’t harm your health.

 

Cost Breakdown

My goal with this class was to have you get as much food as possible made for around $100.  The total for me came to $114, but I did purchase organic meat.  If you need the total to be lower, you can use conventional meat- your body will do better avoiding inflammatory foods (grains) in most cases than avoiding conventional meat.  Do the best with what you have, and let go of the guilt associated with it.

It is assumed here that you have some seasonings (salt, pepper) and other basic ingredients on hand. If you’re starting completely from scratch, add another $10 to the total, and make sure you compare prices as you shop.

After eating these freezer meals for the next 2-4 weeks, you’ll have freed up enough money to purchase organic meat next time.

That’s the beauty of freezer cooking- we use everything and eliminate waste and food purchased outside the home, so the savings really snowballs.

Dish Ingredient Cost
Lentil Chili Lentils, 2 lbs

1.69

Lentil Chili Salsa, 1 quart

1.99

Macaroons Parchment Paper

3.59

Macaroons Honey, 10 oz

5.49

Macaroons Shredded Coconut, unsweetened, 12 oz

5.99

Multiple Dishes Sweet Onions, 10 lbs

6.49

Napa Chicken Salad Chicken Thighs, bone-in skin on, 5 lbs (about 12 total)

9.98

Napa Chicken Salad Raisins, or other dried fruit, 1 cup

1.99

Napa Chicken Salad, to serve Cabbage, Savoy, 1

2.99

SCOBY Kombucha

2.99

Shepherd’s Pie Green beans, 1 pound frozen x 2 packages

2.78

Shepherd’s Pie Cake Pans, 4

1.30

Shepherd’s Pie Cauliflower, 2 lbs

7.58

Stuffed Squash Apple, 2 large

2.24

Stuffed squash, Roasted Squash side dish, Squash Seeds Winter squash, small, 6 total

9.96

White Chicken Chili Celery

1.16

White Chicken Chili Peppers, Anaheim, 4

2.86

White Chicken Chili Yogurt or Coconut Milk

1.99

White Chicken Chili Peppers, Jalapeno

0.57

White Chicken Chili, Chicken Stock Chicken, 1 whole

13.95

White Chicken Chili, GAPS version, to serve Cheese, shredded, 3 packages

8.07

White Chicken Chili, Macaroons Eggs, 18

4.29

White Chicken Chili, not paleo version Navy Beans, 2 Lbs

2.49

All Dishes Zip-top Gallon Freezer Bags, 16, to store dishes in

3.49

All Dishes Sea Salt

2.49

Stuffed Squash Bacon, 1/2 lb

4.99

113.4

 

Cooking overview, printable recipes, and video demonstration

Everything you need to get started with this class is free. The video is above and you can Click Here to Download the Recipes and Instructions (it’s free!).  This is my way of giving to those who might not be able to afford a paid class.

This class is also in my Freezer Cooking Class, and if you’d like more variety while continuing to save hundreds of dollars and countless hours every month by freezer cooking, you can learn more here.

freezer-class-soups freezer-class-winter Whole30 Approved Foods

If you’re not ready to take on this much hands-on time at once, you might enjoy some of our other classes, like the Paleo Packed Lunch class, Soup Packs, or Stuffed Sweet Potatoes. We currently have 10 different freezer cooking classes up, with more planned for 2017 (you get access to all of them!)  Click here to check out the Freezer Cooking Class!

budget-friendly-freezer-cooking