Have you heard of freezer cooking? It’s a great way to save time and money while eating healthier meals at home!
Freezer cooking just means cooking meals ahead of time and freezing them so it’s easy to defrost, warm and serve later. Variations can include once a month cooking, batch cooking, or cooking parts of meals.
Some cooks create a weekly or monthly plan, then cook meals all in one day and freeze them. Others cook one large batch of a meal, like chili, then divide it into family portions or single servings and freeze it. You can also cook certain ingredients ahead of time and freeze them-such as meats cooked and frozen in small portions to be added into chili, stew, or casseroles later.
Save Time: By cooking in batches you can save time. If you’re already cooking a casserole, it only takes a few extra minutes to double the recipe, cook a second one and freeze it for later.
Save Money: Buying in bulk is usually cheaper than smaller sized portions. When you cook in batches you can easily purchase bulk sizes without worrying that they’ll go to waste. You’ll also save money when you’ve got meals ready to eat and don’t end up calling for a pizza or other food delivery.
Save Your Waistline: Once you’ve got a stash of healthy meals in the freezer ready to defrost and eat you’ll find the temptation to grab “fast food” or eat junk is easier to avoid.
Freezer cooking is a great strategy if you have special dietary needs, too. I cook gluten-free waffles, pancakes, soups, pizza and breads and freeze so that meal time is easier. By planning ahead and cooking in batches I’m able to save money over the price of prepared specialty foods and know that we’ve always got “safe” meals easily accessible.
Some meals work better than others for freezing so it’s a good idea to take some time to explore websites about freezer cooking and find reliable recipes and tips.
If you’re new to the idea of freezer cooking, these tips helped me get started:
- Prepare by having freezer safe storage containers ready before you begin cooking.
- Start small by cooking double on your family’s favorite dish and freezing one for a future meal.
- Try cooking ahead parts of meals. Cook up chicken or hamburger in bulk then freeze it in meal-sized portions for easy use later.
- Keep track of the date you freeze each meal either with a list on the side of your freezer or by labeling each meal as you freeze it – that way you can use it within a safe time frame.
- Don’t feel like you have to jump all in and cook a month’s worth of meals the first time you try freezer cooking. But do use the once a month cooking websites and guides for great freezer meal ideas and helpful hints to make your freezer cooking easier.
Give it a try, and discover how much easier freezer cooking makes meal time!