Meal Planning Monday ~ The Big Thaw

Frost

            Currently the East Coast is digging out from under three plus feet of snow from one of the worst snowstorms we’ve seen in a while.  We certainly hope all of our fans are safe and warm today.  So much for that groundhog’s prediction of an early spring!  Spring is inevitable though and will be here before we know it.  While you’re waiting for the warm weather to arrive, take advantage of these next few weeks of cold to tackle a meal planning chore – defrosting and cleaning your deep freezer.

            It’s important to defrost and give your freezer a good cleaning at least once a year, or any time there’s a good amount of frost build-up on the inside.  When the frost builds up, it keeps your freezer from running efficiently and can cause freezer burn due to uneven temperatures.  When you’ve invested time and money into making freezer meals and stockpiling sale items, the last thing you want is to have to throw away the fruits of your labor due to freezer burn.

            Every January or February, I pick a weekend when I know it’s going to be very cold.  My husband and I load up our reusable shopping bags with our freezer stash and take it out to the garage and put it in coolers.  (This is also a great time to weed through your freezer stockpile and throw away anything that is past its prime.)  We allow the freezer to defrost overnight, and then clean it really good the next day.  Then it’s time to reload the deep freezer and pop in a new box of baking soda to keep it fresh.

            I defrosted and cleaned my freezer a few weeks ago.  I noticed that there were some items in the freezer that needed to be used up soon before they expired.  So I’ve worked them into my meal plan for this week so nothing gets wasted.  Here’s my Meal Plan for this week:

Monday ~ Turkey Meatloaf with parmesan potatoes and green beans.  I bought a huge amount of fresh green beans from my produce co-op in October and froze them, so it’s time to use them up.

Tuesday ~ Grilled Chicken Tenderloins (Cracker Barrel style) with hash browns and spinach.

Wednesday ~ Fend For Yourself!  I have a financial coaching appointment, so it will be leftovers or grilled cheese and soup.

Thursday ~ Happy Valentine’s Day!  Since Nick is still working second shift this week, we’ll celebrate Valentine’s Day this Saturday.  Cilantro Lime Shrimp with rice and asparagus.  This shrimp is so simple to make and absolutely delicious!

Friday ~ Honey Lime Tilapia with garlic roasted cauliflower and zucchini

Saturday ~ If we don’t go out to eat tonight, I’ll make something easy in the crock pot, like beef stew or BBQ chicken thighs.

Sunday ~ Thanksgiving in February!  I purchased a 13-pound turkey during the Thanksgiving sales in November and put it in my deep freezer.  I’m having my husband’s family over for turkey dinner with all of the fixings.  And since my homemade mashed potatoes kind of suck, my sister-in-law, Emily, is going to bring some of her always-awesome mashed potatoes.  Thanks Sis!