Hands Free Dinner (1/3)

I love maximizing efficiency. I also love cooking and budgeting so finding a cheap way to create frozen crock pot meals by buying bulk items and making 10+ meals in an afternoon? ALL OVER IT.

Luke and I started on My Great Hands-Free Culinary Adventure by hitting up our favorite weekly hot spots: Costco and Walmart. We’ve been trading convenience for cost savings and quality food since we got married over 7 months ago. Costco’s got the staples of our existence: flour, brown rice, beans (uncooked), sugar, yogurt, and eggs. Walmart fills in the gaps, since buying milk and tomatoes in bulk isn’t as practical. With lots of pre-planning, re-packaging, and re-purposing, we’ve gotten our meals down to about $1.50 per meal per person.


All that back story to say, our grocery bill for My Great Hands-Free Culinary Adventure was only $50 higher than usual, less than I was expecting since we bought the ingredients to make enough meals for 5 weeks using 2 frozen crock-pot meals a week (no way I’m giving up Spaghetti Wednesdays!)

3478I used this fabulous frozen crockpot meal recipe/instructions/grocery list as a guide and supplemented with ingredients I already had in the pantry. Plus took out all the green beans and spinach. Perks of being in charge of the food!

The whole process took me about 3 hours start-to-finish. Post-shopping trip, Luke was struck with food poisoning (thanks Olive Garden) and was out of commission for the day. If we had been working on it together, we probably could have whipped up the 10 meals in 90 minutes. Several tears were shed but the 5 quarts of diced onions were worth it. Overall, it’s a 3 minute and $1.50 a serving investment. No huge cost savings, but I’m so excited to come home from work to dinner ready to go!

If you’re curious how we make the rest of the weeks’ meals work for $1.50/healthy serving, comment below! Economics + cooking + planning + efficiency = my kind of heaven. I’d love to share our tips if anyone’s interested.