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The Sharp Side on MMM! MONDAY: Freeze Week 2

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(It’s kind of like Super Tuesday 2 – get it? Eh, I tried.)

I feel like I just discovered Pinterest all over again… or tasted a Whitey’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Malt (with chocolate flavoring) for the first time… or figured out a really complicated math equation (that will probably never happen actually) – How has it taken me this long to figure out my love and joy for freezer meals?!

It was just so easy. All it took was dedicating myself to one hour in the kitchen on Sunday (thank you Lagunitas IPA), remembering to thaw the next day’s dinner the night before (thank you phone alarm), and that was really it. Every day after Zuno and I would get back from our walk – I would simply dump dinner in our crockpot, let it get going while I got ready for work, gave it a good stir before I left, and DONE. However, my favorite part – the lack of dishes! Instead of cleaning our chopping board and knives and mixing bowls and measuring cups every night after work, I am just cleaning our crockpot and a big plastic spoon. Amazing.

Now, I will say that not every recipe was a success… but that’s not the recipe’s fault. For example, the pork chops were way too salty for us, which is not surprising when you look at the ingredients. Besides that one, we liked all the recipes (especially the Mexican Chili with the Cornbread Topping – YUM!), there just needed to be little adjustments here and there – the cornbread for the Mexican Chili could have just been made separately, the chicken in the Honey Sesame Chicken would have worked better if it had been chopped up into bite-sized pieces instead of staying whole, and for all of the recipes I should have mixed all the ingredients in a large bowl first before putting everything into the freezer bags.

So those are some of my own tips and tricks that I was thinking about as I found recipes for Week 2 (thanks Pinterest) and headed back to HyVee on Saturday. Maybe it was because Zach was with me, but all of the recipes this week are meat – ribs, steak, pork – and one stew – barley. If it were up to me, I would do more meatless days, but hey – when you’re married to a meat-and-potatoes guy – you compromise.

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Speaking of being married (look at that segue!), we got to spend the weekend with my favorite married couple – my parents. They were in town to see the Augustana Men’s Basketball Team kick some butt – GO AUGIE! – and do some work on their new place… meaning my Dad did a lot of work and my Mom and I just hung out. As a special treat though, we went to Duck City Bistro in downtown, Davenport for dinner and then went around the corner and checked out Cru Wine Bar – both were fantastic. I am loving downtown, Davenport lately. They’ve got a really awesome vibe going on and I feel like there’s always something new to check out or look forward to. Props to all the great people making that happen!

I’m also really excited about the upper east side of Davenport/Bettendorf – where it seems like new things are popping up every other week on 53rd Street/Avenue. We took advantage of Central Standard‘s Happy Hour on Saturday and enjoyed a great breakfast at the new Ross’ Restaurant on Sunday – I can’t wait to see what else goes in that corridor!

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Okay, now that the weekend – and all that eating out, yikes – is over, it’s time to prep for the week ahead. Once again, I laid out every single ingredient so everything was easy to grab. The beer is actually for a recipe, not for me this time – ha! The same goes for that bottle of wine – although there is enough left over for me to enjoy a glass while watching The Bachelor’s Women Tell All tonight… thank goodness. I did what I did last week and found a movie on TV – NERD ALERT Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers was on, which is one of my absolute favorites. There’s nothing like chopping up meat and vegetables while listening to a battle scene in the background, amIright?

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On that note, anyone else think chopping up an onion is just the worst? I try it all different ways and I still end up in the bathroom crying. If you have any advice, PLEASE send it to me. I understand that meal prepping can be an emotional task, but this is just getting ridiculous.

It took about an hour to do the four recipes I picked out and I’m really excited about these – it’s almost like I’m marinading everything as well, so I hope there’s even more flavor than last week’s recipes. Here is what I made:

Happy Money Saver’s Boneless Country Style BBQ Ribs

How Sweet Eats’ Carne Asada Nachos

Living Well Spending Less’ Pork Tenderloin

Hello Glow’s Mushroom Barley Stew

Do you have any freezer meals that you’d like to share? Please send them to me if you do! And, as always, happy cooking!

A