I mentioned in last week’s blog, that I would share my ideas for having some meals in the freezer for those times when your schedule is super busy. You know, those crazy weeks when everything hits the fan all at once. If you try any of my ideas, the hardest thing you have to do is to remember to take it out of the freezer the day before 🙂
When my kids were young, I did a huge freezer cooking day with a friend of mine. It was the kind where you have a month’s worth of meals for your freezer when you are done. We did it over a weekend. Thankfully our husbands helped keep the kids entertained & occupied. We shopped on the first day. It was the one and only time I used a credit card for groceries. It costs a lot to buy ingredients for a months worth of meals, and I usually budget for 2 weeks at a time. We prepped and cooked everything on the second day. It was exhausting, expensive and my family ended up not liking at least half of the meals. I don’t have fond memories of that weekend …
Fast forward … that was then ~ this is now 🙂
With Pinterest becoming so popular in the last few years, I’ve read many (and I mean many) articles and blogs about freezer cooking. There are many different techniques out there, and I’m sure they are great. However, with my not-so-great experience back in the day, I have come up with my own plan that works best for me.
As I mentioned last week, I pretty much only cook for my husband and myself these days. Since we have no need for a whole 9×13 casserole, when I make the recipe, I divide it in half and use two 8×8 pans instead. I use aluminum pans from the dollar store … I cover it with foil and them put the pan in a ziplock freezer bag. I also put the cooking directions in the bag ( paper seems to freeze well 🙂 ) I then have a meal for dinner that night and one to put in the freezer for future use. Sometimes, I’ll double the recipe and have one 8×8 for dinner and the freeze the other 3 🙂
Disclaimer ~ I only make recipes we have tried and liked. I’ve learned that not everything turns out like the picture they show 🙂 I’ve also learned that not all recipes taste good after being frozen … it’s trial and error for me. It’s also easier on the budget doing it this way.
I have also recently starting using my crockpot more often. I confess, my crockpot used to only come out when I hosted a party and wanted to keep something warm on my buffet table. This past year, I have been trying various soup recipes I’ve found online. One of my favorite things to make in my crockpot is homemade chicken stock. I think it tastes so much better than the kind you get at the store. I try to always have a few quarts (mason jars) in my freezer.
I have tried several freezer recipes for the crockpot that I have found on Pinterest. You can check out some of the recipes (not all for the crockpot) I’ve pinned to try. We have liked all the ones I’ve made so far. They have been pretty similar in preparation. You chop everything and measure out all the ingredients, then store them in freezer ziplock storage bags. Write the cooking directions on the bag with a sharpie pen. They suggest laying them flat to freeze to allow for better storage space. Again, you take it out of the freezer the day before to thaw. Then you dump it all into the crockpot and go about your day. Dinner is ready when you are 🙂
I also make a double batches when I make cookies or quick breads. I bake them first. I use the same 8×8 pans or foil loaf pans … wrap them in foil, then store in a ziplock bag. Dessert when you want it or a last minute dish to bring to a potluck type gathering … arrange it on a pretty plate and you are good to go 🙂