Monday, April 23, 2012

4 Weeks To A More Organized Home: Day 16 (Freezer Cooking Day)

I know what you're thinking...If you've been following along, you may be wondering what happened to Day 15.  I sort of was too, actually.   Last Friday, Day 15's assignment never got posted!   And I must say, I could not get myself motivated to do anything that day!  I deemed it lazy day.  We even had ham sandwiches for dinner on lazy day.   My MIL was still here, and not feeling the best, nor was I, so that was as good of an excuse to have lazy day as any, I suppose.  She and my husband both said I deserved it, and I think we did a good job of making up for it over the weekend.

This morning, I was expecting an assignment for Day 15.  Instead, she posted Day 16's assignment, and a note that she was having internet troubles on Friday and decided to let us all have an off day.  I guess I had done just that! ;)

Today's assignment is as follows:

--Get dressed in something that makes you feel great.  (I didn't do this until I let my daughter fingerpaint in the tub and she got me all wet while washing her off.)
--Sit down with a cup of coffee or tea and make a list of weekly goals. (Here's mine!)
--Complete your morning routine.
--Set the timer for 15 minutes and quickly pick up your house and put things back into order after the weekend.   (I set my kids to work on this while dinner was cooling--if I tell them its a race, they can clean up a room in no time!.)
--Clean your vents. If you have floor vents that can be removed, remove them and wash them in warm soapy water. Vacuum/clean any dirt or grime around the floor vent area and replace the vent. Use a vacuum attachment and/or a wet rag to dust/clean your other vents.
--Find 7 items to get rid of today. Throw them out, stick them in a donate or garage sale box, give them to a friend who can use them, or list them on Craigslist or eBay.

Now, I had a very long list of things that I needed to accomplish today, and let me tell you, cleaning my vents was NOT on that list when my day began!  I had cooked a ham yesterday, so I needed to pull the rest of the meat off of it and figure out what to do with it.  I also had 7lbs of split chicken breasts that I had bought late last week sitting in my fridge that had to be cooked or frozen, and I preferred cooked.

I also wanted to catch up on the cleaning of the windows/mirrors from Day 14's assignment, as well as make my weekly goals and menu for the week.   

I think I was in a bit over my head today.   I've checked quite a few things off of my list, however, and the night isn't over yet!

I had my 2 year old help with the windows this morning while I was browsing for recipes, and she had a ton of fun wiping them down, and she did a pretty good job, too!  I quickly got the panes that she couldn't reach.  She even asked to do another one after lunch.  I haven't gotten to all of our windows yet, and I've only done the outside of the back doors, but those are looking a whole lot better, and I plan to slowly get them all cleaned throughout this week.

I also had her help me out with this:

 My aunt and uncle had left this Special K cereal here when they visited, and we don't care for it, but I hated to let it go to waste.  I had the bright idea to crunch it up and use it as a breading, like corn flake crumbs.

Here she is helping me crunch. ;)

Once I had her down for her nap, I tackled the ham.  Here's all the meat I got off, plus I'm saving the stock to use as a soup base of some sort.  You can see the bag of crushed cereal in the background, too.  I used some and I'll keep the rest in the pantry.

Next, I started in on the chicken.   There were 12 split breasts in all (@ $0.59/lb I paid under $5 for all of them!)  I sliced them away from the bone (which was MUCH easier that I had imagined), and I cubed up 5 breasts, and cut another 5 breasts into strips.   

The cubes, I cooked down in a skillet.  I used half of them to make a meal for tonight, using up some leftover sides with had on hand in the fridge from last night.  Then I froze one portion of cooked, cubed chicken to be used in another meal.

The strips I seasoned and coated in the cereal crumbs, and then baked them:

Still raw here.
After they were cooked, I let them cool a bit, and then tossed the whole tray straight into the freezer.  Tonight, once they are frozen, I will move them to a freezer bag.  We can either eat these just as chicken strips, or dice them up and toss over a salad.

The other 2 breasts, I left on the bone and tossed them into a pot to boil with the bones from the other 10 breasts, which still had a bit of meat on them as well.   The bones cooked down to make a nice stock, and I have a nice amount of shredded chicken that I pulled from the bones and remaining two breasts.   I'm going to use this, along with the stock to make a soup tomorrow, I haven't decided what kind yet.

I should get two meals from each of the cubes and strips, and at least 3-4 from the soup, if not more.  That's 7-8 meals, at least, for my family of 4 from less than $5 worth of chicken!!!

I got all my cooking done--even prepping tonight's dinner--while my little one was napping, and got the chicken deboned while they played outside after my big one got home from school.   

I still need to decide exactly what to do with all of the ham, and finish my menu for the week, but it was certainly a busy productive day in the kitchen!

After dinner, I set to work wiping down my vents.  I was very, very surprised to find that these were not dirty AT ALL.  I'm not even sure how that happened because I cannot even tell you the last time they have been cleaned, but that task took me all of 5 minutes.  I suppose it is because they are so close to the ceiling??

I did not find anything to get rid of today, but yesterday I went through my closet and pulled out a whole stack of shirts and dresses that are to go into the garage sale pile.  Seriously, a huge stack!  And I still have to go through my pants and make my husband go through his stuff!  Oy!  I'm pretty excited to plan a garage sale though!  I've never had one before.

I wish I could say I am done for the evening, but all of my kitchen exploits today have created a rather large pile of dirty dishes that must be tackled.   *Then* I think I shall relax and finish my library book.  :)


Cherilyn April 24, 2012 at 12:44 AM  

Looks like you had a super busy day. I was not looking forward to cleaning my vents but the job wasn't that bad.

Amanda April 24, 2012 at 8:16 AM  

It's looking to be another busy one today! But for some reason when I have nothing to do, that's exactly what gets done! LOL

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