My introduction into freezer cooking all began with a cookbook I stumbled upon in Barnes & Noble on fateful night and suddenly my cooking life changed. I had never really heard of freezer cooking before and certainly had never tried it before.
Freezer cooking can mean making homemade bread, dried beans in the crockpot, homemade chicken stock and other “staple” ingredients, freezing them and pulling them out as the base of most of your meals.
Or freezer cooking can mean making whole (or mostly whole) meals two weeks-2 months ahead of time. This involves usually 1-2 of heavy cooking but then very light preparation of meals throughout the month.
I tend to do a combination of the three but my favorite method is to make a month of meals in one day. It just takes a lot of planning. Join me on Friday to take a peak in my freezer to see how I do once a month freezer cooking.
Why Freezer Cook?
While I don’t have kids yet I never seem to have enough time on my hands. I work full time (outside the home) and don’t get home until close to 6 each day. While I dream of the day that I am home full time (hopefully soon!!) for now I have to figure out how to feed my hubby healthy, quick, and affordable food.
Unfortunately even if I can manage to have food in the fridge waiting to be turned into a meal, I get home so tired from the day with a list of things to get done and we end up eating out….again.
The weekends are usually better but during the week I just can’t get hot and healthy meals on the table every night unless we want to be eating at 8PM everyday. And THEN you still have to clean up and get lunches ready for tomorrow.
Enter Freezer Cooking.
1) Freezer cooking saves me time.
It allows me to do cooking when I have the time (Friday night and Saturday) and my week nights are then free to spend with my hubby and getting the other things around the house done.
I sacrifice a little time up front (1 day a month) and in the end this frees up SO much of my time. I get the meal out of the freezer in the morning and call hubby on my way home from work, ask him to turn the oven on and dinner is usually done by the time I get home.
2) Freezer cooking saves me money.
It has been proven time and again that the more times I go into a grocery store the more money I spend!
When I head into the grocery store with my once a month grocery list in hand, I ONLY get what I need. I enter a mind set that passes up all the unnecessary items like ice cream, chips, and other fun items. And less trips into the store means less chances to do this!
3) Freezer cooking allows me to cook healthy meals.
Because I am cooking in bulk, I can buy in bulk. This saves money and instead of buying canned beans I buy big bags of dried beans. I can do the same with rice and chicken stock. I have the time and the resources to make everything from scratch thus eliminating salt and processed food from out diet.
Tips for Freezer Cooking
You don’t need a giant freezer.
We live in an apartment and don’t have a deep freeze or any special freezer. In fact out freezer is pretty small. We just have a normal freezer that is on top of the fridge. And while it’ just the two of us now, we do have family and friends over all the time so we use a lot of meals.
If you are overwhelmed by the thought of freezer cooking then start small! Don’t try to take on a full month of cooking if you are not even used to make from scratch meals. Try out one week and see how it goes!
Plan, plan, plan, and plan.
Planning is the key to freezer cooking! Not planning properly can mean your day is a disaster! Start a the weekend before. Pull out the cookbooks and make your meal plan. (Or use the Once a Month Cookbook that does this all for you!) Start a grocery list and make sure you didn’t miss any ingredients! Search your cupboards for what you already have and plan which grocery stores you will go to. Make sure your kitchen is clean and ready to go for the big cook day!
The first time you attempt a freezer cooking day you may find that you need to prepare a little bit. When I did my first month cooking day I had to spend some time in the kitchen getting things prepared.
1) Clean out your freezer
Get in there and clean out all the old frozen pizza’s and corn that are stuck way in the back. Throughout anything you haven’t used lately. If you have stuff in your freezer then either work those things into your month or eat them up before you do your cooking day, you will need all the freezer space you can get!
2) Organize your cupboards
Do you know what is lurking in your pantry? Pull out any bags of dried beans, rice, pasta or anything else. Start with what you have and plan meals around them so you spend less! Organize and know what you have on hand to use for freezer meals so you spend less time hunting for things.
3) Stock up on good quality freezer zip lock bags and lots of tupperware.
Come back tomorrow to find out some different methods of freezer cooking!