Does anybody do “freezer cooking”–you know, cooking a bunch of meals one or two nights a month, freezing them to use for later on? I’m giving serious consideration to doing this, but was wondering if anybody out there does this and can offer some advice or helpful tips. It would be SO NICE not to hear just ONE night…“What do you want for dinner?” “I dunno…what sounds good to YOU?” “I dunno”…“Hey, now it’s 8:00 p.m. and nobody’s eaten dinner yet…what sounds good to YOU?” “I dunno”. It wouldn’t be so bad to figure out dinners if I didn’t have such a picky family!!! >:(
I do it to a certain extent. With my crew, and our wacky schedules here, it became a necessity so that we would actually eat meals at a reasonable time. If you want some suggestions and such, you can PM me and I’ll send you my email addy or MSN/Yahoo IDs for IM
Sandwich boxes from glad or whatever
Sheppards pie (cooked ingredients all first, then layer)
Mini Silicone Loaf pan tin to make Lasagnias
then there are the Stews, Lentil or Pea soups, or Ratatoulli, Quiche, have chicken soup/stock in Freezer sandwich bags, and just cut veggies Nuke 2 min, then 2 min again, then throw in some Cous Cous or Celliphane Noodles
another quick meal is Breakfast Clubs, a BLT with Hard Boiled Eggs
what about having a Fry Daddy, and seasoning Chicken then freeze it
its a good way to feed a busy household
I haven’t done the freezer cooking per se, but I have frozen extra meals. The whole idea of spending an entire day in the kitchen just doesn’t appeal to me. In the summer, I pretty much avoid the whole cooking thing. My kids are picky too, but I have found that my kids will eat food that’s not mixed better than they will eat say, a casserole.
I just pull a meat (grilled chicken, ham, bacon, ground beef, sausage) from the fridge, let the kids choose a fruit or veg (I always have apples, bananas, oranges, green beans, cucumber, tomatoes, and a few wild cards), add a slice of cheese (they love to slice their own cheese with a wire slicer) and maybe a piece of bread from the bakery.
I’ve decided that I have been totally been overthinking the whole dinner thing! If you really like cookbooks, Saving Dinner and First Meals are my favorites. The Saving Dinner book actually has 6 meals, 6 recipes, and a shopping list for 26 weeks (I think–something like that).
Another hint I have is that ground meats can be browned and then frozen in ziplock bags. Makes tacos, spaghetti, etc. so much easier to pull together.
Feel free to PM if you want a few other ideas.
When I cook, I do it for the day… I grew up in a family where my dad is a doctor and my mom is a nurse… meaning… my dad told my sisters and I EVERYTHING about contamination and how long some meals are good for… Somehow just by tasting he would know when rice was from the day before, or if the beef had been frozen longer than it should… he told me everything about bacteria and fungus growing overnight in cooked rice and how bad it is to re-use oil…
My ex-bf’s mom used to cook meals for a whole week and freeze them all… whenever someone wanted to eat, they would use the microwave and eat… they did the same thing for over 7 or 8 years… three years ago she was diagnosed with colon cancer, two months after that with liver and stomach cancer… she passed away 11 months after the first diagnose…
There is no way to know if the frozen food, excess in the microwave use or simply a gen caused it… just in case it had something to do with it, I always share this with people I care for…
I’ve done the cooking for a month in one day thing a few times. It leaves me exhausted but it is nice to have that stuff in the freezer. I find that cooking a bunch of chicken dishes at once or a bunch of beef dishes at one time works better for me. I also will double what I’m making sometimes - like make 2 lasagnas and freeze one - works well too. I tend to batch bake too. You heat up the oven once and use the same utensils so the clean up is just a little more than what it would be if you only made one thing.
Since all the kids ‘grew and flew’ the husband guy and I eat whenever and whatever. God bless microwaves.
I don’t do the freezer cooking, but what I do TRY to do- and when I do, it really helps me- is to sit down on the weekend with my cookbooks and grocery list. I make a list of what I plan on having for the next week, check to see what ingredients I need to buy, and shop based on that list. That way, I know that I have all the things on hand for at least 5 or 6 meals. I usually try to make sure that I have at least one thing in the freezer that I can just pull out at the last minute if I haven’t had the time to defrost anything- like the frozed stuffed chicken breasts that you just pop in the oven, etc. It is such a simple thing to do, but it really makes a difference in my week!
I used to do this regularly. It made life a lot easier. When I was with my fiance, it always seemed to be me home first. Not that I worked shorter hours, in fact I worked longer hours but he would go to the pub after work.
I’d then have to either decide myself what we were having for dinner and cook it or wait on him. I didn’t like waiting on him - he’d often not roll in till past 9pm.
In the end I made up a ‘menu’ and said ok Mondays we have Lasagne, Tuesdays; Chilli etc etc I bought a 5 litre cooking pot and set to. I would make a massive chilli and freeze it in single portion size packs. The night before we were due to have that meal, I’d take two portion packs out and shove them on a plate in the fridge. By the next evening they would be defrosted.
For Lasagne, I’d cook up the meat part and freeze that in portion sizes. Same thing, take it out the night before; get home, put the layers of the lasagne together (I also pre-prepared the bechemel sauce) and slam it in the oven.
My mum lived her life like this, pre-preparing meals since we were a household of 6 kids, a grandparent and a lodger.
These days… my freezer is broken and I can’t afford to replace it at the moment. My boiler and washing machine are also broken - I live in a broken home! Soon though I’ll be able to replace them all and maybe get a dishwasher to boot
It’s pretty easy - spend a weekend once or twice a month cooking non stop and make sure you put things into portion sizes. That way if someone can’t come / cries off dinner at the last moment to hang with the guys etc, you can still have a single portion available to you.
I pretty much do what Margie does, except that I plan my meals paycheck to paycheck because I do a big bulk shopping trip once a month. I usually end up making extra of foods so it lasts for 2 or 3 days or I can freeze it if I want, and I try to plan crockpot meals for the days I know I won’t have time to make dinner. It has actually helped a lot with me not feeling so pressured for dinner when I am exhausted and it has saved us some money not buying food we didn’t end up using.
Also, if you worry about the kinds of food everyone else in your family likes, I have been letting hubby and the kids give me lists, or just tell me when they think of it, of dinners they would like and try to incorporate one or two into each week. I will also try to add one or two new recipes no one has tried before just to shake things up a bit. The family seems to like that when they ask what is for dinner they can either look at our menu plan or ask and I actually have an answer.
A long time ago I used to be on the Frozen Assets group on yahoo where people swap recipes and instructions for OAMC (Once A Month Cooking). I’ve tried it in the past, and DH declared most of it “mush” because it was a lot of casseroles, and he’s not took keen on them (even though I love them) so I don’t really do it now, other than double or triple batching things like lasagna or chili and freezing the remainders. It also worked really well one time I did it for a neighbor who had broken her wrist, and her husband was disabled and unable to help with cooking, so I made up a bunch of small meals for her and her husband and put them in pie tins with cooking directions.
It might be worth seeing if your library has this book.
~Mod Squad was here [/size]
I do freezer cooking, usually in the cooler months. Some of my tried and true recipes are here: Freezer Recipes
I always tell people that the best way to start is to start small: whenever you make a meal, just make twice as much and freeze the 2nd half. We always freeze 3-person portions (DH, me & 2 kids) or one-person portions, so when we reheat things there are no leftovers.
Also, if you’re making something that you’re not sure will freeze well, just set one portion aside and freeze it as a test. That way you won’t end up with a lot of something that doesn’t translate well from freezer to table.
I love freezer cooking! Aside from the convenience for my family, it’s great to have extra meals on hand to share with people who are sick, just had a baby, etc.
We usually cook brisket and ground meat and put it in 1 pound or 1/2 pound packages. Then we just have to grab a meat and fix a veg, usually canned. 10 minutes and dinner is done. With the precooked ground meat: chilli, tacos, sloppy joes, spagetti, and any other thing with ground meat. You still have to cook but 15 minutes or less.
We don’t do chicken, soups, vegetables because we don’t find that they taste as well after being frozen.