Freezer cooking has been an absolute sanity saver at my home. Not only does it save me lots of time and money, but it keeps away the awful 4 pm question "what's for dinner?" I used to really enjoy preparing our evening meals with much thought and creativity, but now with four young children in tow, this is just not the season of my life for that anymore. It's so great to take dinner out of the freezer to thaw every morning and know that dinner is taken care of. I simply add some potatoes or rice along with fresh fruits and steamed veggies and dinner is served.
What is freezer cooking?
It's just preparing meals in bulk for your freezer for dinners at a later date. It can be as simple as doubling your recipe at dinner time...eating one portion and freezing the other. If you did this every night for a week, then next week's dinners would be completely taken care of! Another method is to make one, two or even four weeks worth of meals at one time. My sister and I do this regularly...we like to make about 14-17 meals at one cook session that lasts about 4 hours. We put together a mix of beef, chicken, pork, and fish dishes so that there is variety. In the summer months these are usually meals for the grill. In the winter months we make a lot of Crockpot meals.
With gas and grocery prices being high right now, I have started using a new method that has become my favorite. I buy whatever meat is the "loss leader" at the grocery store that week or has been deeply discounted because they need to move it. Then I spend an hour or so that afternoon putting together 3-5 meals for the freezer with that meat. So I am not spending a lot of money and I am stockpiling meals for the future. Yesterday I found 5 lbs of ground beef at a huge discount and London Broil for 50% off. So I brought it all home and assembled:
- Two London broils in marinades for the grill
- 1 lb. browned ground beef for spaghetti sauce
- Sloppy Joes
- Cincinnati Chili
- Crockpot Chili
Come up with some simple go-to recipes that your family enjoys and when that meat is on sale, buy it and make a few freezer meals! It doesn't have to be difficult or time-consuming. I store everything in freezer Ziplocs and use a Sharpie pen to label them. It doesn't take up much space in the freezer and I can't tell you enough the huge sigh of relief you will have when you know that you don't have to think about dinner. It's actually given me more opportunities to pursue creative interests in the afternoons because I know I don't have to go spend a long time prepping for dinner. And we aren't tempted anymore to eat out or grab a pizza...which saves us a ton of money and keeps us healthier!
Keep dinner simple...use your freezer.
photo by giori