March was a very busy month since I started teaching part-time at a local technical college. I expected that it would be three or four classes a month. Instead I was teaching three or four a week. It will not be like that every month, and April is already starting out much calmer.
I knew that I was going to be busier than normal so I decided to work on some freezer cooking at the very end of February. First I focused on a few easy treats for W to take in his lunch. One of his favorites is oatmeal cookies. I made a double batch so I had plenty for a few weeks.
I also knew that I would need a quick but filling breakfast/morning snack. I turned to the banana oat cookies, which are not really cookies. They are packed with whole wheat flour, oatmeal, raisins, pecans, and banana so they are filling and fairly healthy.
Finally I wanted a quick meal in the freezer that would be easy to put in the oven since most of my classes ended at lunchtime. I am trying to get away from processed foods but wanted to keep the convenience. I ended up making my own frozen chicken tenders. A two pound package of chicken breasts cost around $4 at the grocery store. I cut those up into pieces. I dipped them in whole wheat flour with a bit of salt and pepper mixed in. Then I dipped them into beaten eggs (free eggs from my chickens). Finally I coated them with bread crumbs I made from the end pieces of my homemade bread. These were spread out on a pan to freeze.
Once frozen I put them in a gallon freezer bag. I bake them at 420 degrees for 20-25 minutes. The coated gives them a crunchy texture without being fried. It was work to prepare them prior to freezing, but we have enjoyed several quick, healthy meals. This was also much cheaper than buying the premade chicken tenders.
Each of these items saved me from buying a costly and less healthy alternative. A little advanced planning can pay off in more ways than one.