Stay at home moms and busy families can save time in the kitchen by freezer cooking once a month. Through careful planning, you can eat for an entire month by cooking on only one day of the month. Transform your kitchen into an assembly line and prepare to bulk cook a variety of meals, to provide at least 30 dinner entrees that can be removed from the freezer in the morning to ensure dinner is ready on time.
In order to make freezer cooking work for you, it is important to plan in advance. You cannot expect to succeed at freezer cooking for the month by sitting down and pulling pantry staples together, hoping to have a variety of nutritious meals. Instead, sit down with a paper and pen, writing down meals that can be prepared ahead of time and kept frozen for the month. Some stay at home moms find it easy to make the same meal each day of the week, where others have an identical meal once every other week to increase variety.
There are a variety of meals that can be frozen to make freezer cooking successful in your home. Avoid freezing items that have sour cream, milk, salad dressing, jelly and eggs, as these do not freeze well. Some ideas for freezable meals include:
- Lasagna, cheese stuffed ravioli, manicotti, fettuccini alfredo
- Chicken Casserole
- Chicken Pot Pie
- Pot Roast
- BBQ Chicken
- Pulled Pork
Once you have decided which meals to make and how many of them to create, plan your grocery list. To save time and eliminate frustration, it is important to purchase everything you will need during this trip, including spices and marinade mixes. Because freezer cooking is done in bulk, consider shopping at a bulk discount store, such as Costco or Sams, to save money. In order to ensure the items you cook are healthy, avoid purchasing pre-made items, such as cooked chicken or deli-made biscuits, that are likely full of calories, fat and sodium (as well as added preservatives).
Choose a day of the month that can be devoted to nothing but cooking. If you have small children in the home, it might be in your best interest to hire a babysitter or let them spend the day with a friend or relative. Eliminating distractions will make cooking day a successful event. When cooking meals for the month, begin with the most difficult and prepare like items together. For example, if you are making lasagna and cheese stuffed ravioli, the same sauce can be used for both meals, so you would create a double batch of sauce. To eliminate bacteria growth, fully cook each entree.
Once all meals have been made for the month, it is important to properly freeze each entree. Disposable casserole dishes, freezer safe tupperware and freezer bags are essential during this step. Allow each entree to cool before storing, and remove air from bags and containers before placing them in the freezer. Write the name of the entree, a description of how to reheat and the date it was created on each container.