With school starting, activities to go to and from, fall tends to be a busy time of the year! Have you ever tried freezer cooking? You take a day or two and make assemble a lot of meals and freeze them. It makes dinnertime very stress-free! Simply take out a frozen dish the night before (or morning of), and cook it for supper. Make a simple salad and bread on the side, and you’ve got a healthy meal. Not only does it simplify life, but it also saves money and usually means healthier eating!

Towards the end of each of my pregnancies, I prepared meals for my freezer, as well as breads and muffins. It allowed me to relax, recover, and enjoy my newborn cuddles. 🙂  Last year, when preparing meals before the birth of my 2nd (before starting this blog), I wrote down the recipes I made and some basic directions. While not necessarily thorough step-by-step instructions, I wanted to post this here in hopes it may give some of you an idea of what freezer cooking can look like.

~~~~~

First, I chose my recipes. They were all (except one or two) recipes I had made before and knew my family enjoyed. It wouldn’t be very fun having a freezer full of meals we don’t like! 😉

Secondly, I decided how many times I would make the recipe: doubled? tripled? quadrupled?

Thirdly, I wrote down all the ingredients I would need for each recipes, and compiled it into a master grocery list. (I’ll include it below) I made sure I had all the ingredients on hand, even basic things like salt! It would really complicate and slow the process down to run out of ingredients half way through your “big production”. 🙂

Fourth, I bought all the ingredients I needed and didn’t have on hand. Doing it this way allows you to buy ingredients in larger quantities, and you usually save money by doing this! I also bought disposable foil pans to freeze my meals in. I bought a huge stack of them for a cheap price. This meant no casserole dish to scrub after the meals! Yay!

Fifth step: the day before I plan on assembling my meals, I did prep work. I cooked all the meat that needed to be cooked for my meals. I set out all the ingredients on the counter/table. And I cut up the vegetables (onions, celery, etc). This is not a necessary step, but it makes it way less stressful the next day.

Sixth step: this was my day to assemble all the meals! Thankfully, my little sister and her friend agreed to come help, which made this step a breeze. Since I had done all the prep work, it was simply a matter of assembling everything, packaging it into the foil pans, putting the lid on, labeling each with a permanent marker, and freezer it! We did one recipe at the time. They had fun writing the names of each dish on the lid, and it made it fun to see what all they wrote on it each time I took a casserole out of the freezer. 🙂 As a side note: I didn’t cook the casseroles, we just assembled them and put them in the freezer. We finished by doing the dishes, which was surprising little considering the 40+ meals we had just made for the freezer. Doing it all at once really creates hardly more dishes than preparing one or two meals at the time.

~~~~~

Here is the list of meals I prepared for our freezer cooking:

Sloppy Joes

Chicken Enchiladas

Chicken Casserole

Shepherd’s Pie

Chili

Spaghetti Sauce (recipe isn’t on this site?! Gonna remedy that soon!)

Lasagna

Beef, beans and rice Burritos (recipe is for beans and rice, but I added ground beef to it!)

Chicken Broccoli casserole

Meatballs (made them plain and could then choose to cook them plain, or Pineapple Meatballs, or Stewed Meatballs)

Hamburger patties

Soups: Tomato Hamburger, Barley Beef, and Chicken Beans Rice.

I also made some muffins, loaves of bread, waffles, granola, and cookies for the freezer. 🙂

~~~~~

As for ingredients, this is what my ingredient list looked if you’re curious. 🙂  I had quite a bit of these on hand already, but writing it all out like this allowed me to make sure I was set for smooth sailing! 😀

Ingredients:

24 ½ cups cooked chicken pieces
8 cups grated cheese
7 cans cream of mushroom (or make your own cream of celery!)
¾ cup salsa
8 ¼ cups chicken broth
12-24 tortillas
30 oz froxen mixed veggies
2 cups frozen corn
1 ½ cup margarine/butter
1 ½ cup flour
17 cups chopped onion (1 large= approx 1 cup)
8 ¾ tsp salt
6 ¾ tsp pepper
¾ tsp garlic
4 tsp fennel seed
4 Tbsp chili powder
3 tsp cumin
24 cloves garlic
6 cups milk
10 oz frozen broccoli pieces
½ cup mayonnaise
4 oz can of mushroom stems and pieces
¼ tsp curry
16 celery ribs
36 oz stuffing
20lbs ground beef
5 cans tomato soup
1 cup ketchup
3 Tbsp vinegar
¾ cup brown sugar
5 tsp Worcestershire sauce
3 cans beans
3 ½ cups carrots (7 carrots)
4 tsp sugar
8 tsp oregano
16 tsp basil
1 cabbage
12 cans diced tomatoes (28oz ea=336oz)
5 cups potatoes
4 Tbsp beef bouillion
2 bay leaves
3 cups uncooked rice
Lima beans
2- 500ml cottage cheese
2 boxes lasagna noodles
160oz tomato sauce (6-28oz cans)
4 cans kidney beans (16oz ea)
Oil
4 boxes spaghetti noodles

I hope this is helpful for some of you! Crystal, over at MoneySavingMom, also has a bunch of information on freezer cooking. Check it out here. Happy cooking!

Advertisements