Freezer cooking can be intimidating.
From the outside, it can appear that those who consistently freezer cook have some secret strategy or are organizational masterminds… and frankly, I truly think some are… I am regularly amazed at the wonderful resources so many talented freezer cookers 😉 put out there… from recipes, to tips, to game plans, to worksheets…
I just love to freezer cook and have tried several strategies over the last two years to keep my freezer full and my family fed.
(Psst… if you are looking for freezer cooking recipes, check them out here.)
Break My Neck Strategy
When I first started freezer cooking, I put a lot of pressure on myself (why do we always do that?!?) to get all my cooking for the month done in 1-2 days…
I LOVED the freedom this gave me the rest of the month. A clean kitchen every night, with very little clean-up was a dream come true.
As a full-time working outside of the home mama, I LOVED the idea of popping a casserole in the oven and having dinner ready within minutes of getting home.
Sure, it was exhausting to spend two free days cooking non-stop… but at the time it was worth it for me.
A Little of This, A Little of That Strategy
Then life changed for me. I found myself launching my own business that afforded me a lot more time at home, while at the same time never really turning the work clock off.
All of a sudden my free time was far less structured and far more broken up into little pieces here and there. Marking two solid days off on the calendar strictly for freezer cooking no longer made sense for me.
So, I adapted. On less busy nights, I would cook double meals and throw one in the freezer for nights where big projects were due. If I was making something sweet, I would beat temptations by freezing half of the cookies, brownies or breads for later in the month.
A Week and Your Done Strategy
Now that the business is standing on its own two feet (still very much my feet but a bit more structured) and I am working to create some balance around my house between the work and home clock, I was ready to kick my freezer cooking into a new mode.
I want the convenience and kitchen maintenance of having it all done, but I want to stretch things out over a week as to not break my neck with the two-day method.
So, for the last few days or so, I have been using time-saving tricks (read: Crock pot) and extra pockets of time to get my freezer cooking done and I am very happy with the results.
I plan to finish up by the weekend (including one last cleaning of that blasted kitchen… ugh) and I will be set for a month or so.
So far I have used this method to make (and freeze):
Seasoned Ground Beef
4 Beef Roast Meals from a Savory Merlot Roast ~ Made in the crock pot
Meals like Puddie’s Beef Manhattan
4 bags of Crockpot Veggie Dump
A Rotisserie Chicken that I made into shredded chicken via the crock pot (again ;))
Shredded chicken that I used to make 4 meals…
Having the veggies and chicken in the freezer made for a very quick meal for a tired mama and puny preschooler.
I still have a couple more dishes to prepare, but I am on the home stretch baby! I will begin sharing recipes and tips tomorrow.
However, I HAVE to share, the REALLY good news is… I bought all of the meat and most of the ingredients at Aldis spending just around $120!
I couldn’t believe it. We are talking a Half Pork Loin, a Beef Roast, a Whole Chicken, a small Sliced Ham, 6 pounds of Extra Lean Hamburger, all the canned goods, all the veggies, plus stuff we regularly buy there.
Your Way Strategy
My point in telling you about these strategies was to shed some light on the fact that there really isn’t a right way or wrong way to go about it. (Except for ignoring food safety… just sayin’)
And, truth be told, if I had tried to do a different strategy than what fit with my life at the time, I would have just been setting myself up for failure.
So, you gotta find what works for you. Perhaps the 1-2 day deal is what you need right now… or if life is way too hectic right now to carve out two days, maybe you just double meals for a while. Or, if you have a light week sometime, perhaps you tackle it over a week and be done with it.
I am sure there are many other techniques, this is just what has worked for me in the past. Just don’t let some one else’s plan/strategy or freezer intimidate you.
You making it work for your life is success… just sayin’