Freezer cooking is such a great way to save money and spend less time in the kitchen. It allows for more time spent with family, and there are so many ways you can accomplish this. The best tip I have ever received regarding freezer cooking is to have a freezer chest for storing these meals. It comes in quite handy not only for these meals, but also for purchasing items in bulk or on sale and being able to freeze for later use.
Here are a few basics of freezer cooking:
1.) Before you plan to actually have a freezer cooking session, spend some time gathering recipes, and finding out what freezes well, and what doesn’t. You might wish to put all the information into one location (often referred to as a Meal Planning Binder or Freezer Cooking Recipe Notebook). Be sure to figure out how much of each thing you will need and keep in mind whether you need to double, triple or even quadruple a recipe.
2.) You don’t have to spend an entire day or even a half day cooking to participate in freezer cooking. Another method, and suggested for first timers is to double a recipe each time you make it. Create one to eat immediately as dinner, and one to pop into the freezer for later. If you do this each time, you are slowly building up meals. This can be easier to do when you are short on time or lack the available space for a big cooking session.
3.) Sharing the cooking task with a friend, relative or neighbor is another great way to build up some delicious meals. Each time that you prepare a dinner for your family, triple the recipe. One for dinner that night, one for your freezer, and one for your friend, relative or neighbors freezer. She should be doing the same, so at the end of a week you will be giving her 5-7 meals, and she should be giving you the same. Be sure to communicate with each other so you don’t wind up with two or three frozen lasagnas because you both made it.
4.) Get the whole family involved. Ask them what meals they would like to see served and then have them help double and triple that recipe. Allow them to help you cook, or prepare things for the freezer. Often the kids will appreciate the hard work that goes into freezer cooking, if they are able to do a little hands on experimenting themselves.
5.) Take stock of what you have. In other words, go through your pantry, your refrigerator and your freezer taking notes on what you already have. Use these available items and incorporate them into a session. You don’t want to not make something just because you have already begun preparing meals for the freezer. That box of hamburger helper does not have to go to waste. In fact, you could add a bunch more noodles, some gravy or tomato sauce and a few other ingredients and stretch it into two meals. One for dinner, one for the freezer.
6.) It is important to realize that freezer cooking does take effort. You need to set aside some time to gather your recipes, meal plan and create grocery lists. And then it is time to actually prepare the meals. It is a rewarding thing to be able to feed your family healthy and only take a few hours every few weeks to do it.
If you have any questions regarding freezer cooking, don’t hesitate to ask. I am going to try to add some more articles this week on this very topic.