Be Prepared! Be Prepared for Freezer Cooking

Ready to get cooking? If you’ve planned out your freezer cooking and purchased your groceries, you may find yourself gnawing at the bit, ready to leave the gate with a burst. However, a word of caution: Make sure you’ve got everything you need. Otherwise, you may find yourself elbow deep in lasagna and not have what you need to bring the job to completion. Nothing’s worse for interrupting momentum than a last minute trip to the grocery store.

Checklists help me. I’m not as OCD as some, but I realize that if it’s written down, I’m more likely to get it done. As such, here’s a handy checklist to make sure you’re prepared for your big bulk cooking day.

  1. Clean kitchen, including the fridge and freezer. Start out with a clean slate, especially since so much food prep will be happening in a short time.
  2. Organize your kitchen if you have the time. An investment, sure, but one that will pay off later when you know where everything is.
  3. Line up all your baking dishes, freezer bags, and wraps. Make a list of the items you may run out of before you’re done and pick those up from the store before you start.
  4. Likewise, do you have enough pots and pans? How about crockpots? Ask family and friends to lend you items that you may not want to have all the time, but would be helpful in an adventure such as this.
  5. Wash all your kitchen towels and have them ready for easy use.
  6. Find care or entertainment for your children AND a back up plan in case naptime doesn’t happen.
  7. Organize your playlist on iTunes or set up some stations on Pandora.
  8. Make a lunch AND dinner plan. (You may not feel like cooking at the end of the day.) Chill your favorite beverages.
  9. Run through your recipes again and make sure you have everything you need. Make your last minute trip to the store NOW.

Bulk cooking veterans, what else do you do to maximize your potential for success?

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Comments

  1. Prep some ingredients the day before such as shredding cheese, chopping some veggies and onions, even browning ground beef or cooking rice if you have the time and will use it in your dishes. Make sure meat is thawed and ready to use. Any little things that can be done ahead of time will make your day run that much smoother.

    On my last big cooking day, I took time to make a general schedule for Cooking Day, taking note of what needed to be started first (crockpots, beans), how many pots could be cooking at one time, counter space, etc. I interspersed the hard, time consuming stuff in between the easy, quick to prepare dishes. The time spent planning was well worth the effort. Even though there were a few glitches and things I forgot or hadn’t taken into consideration, the day went more smoothly and I was much more productive because of my schedule.

    Definitely plan for meals. Go out for dinner or save back a meal’s worth of soup or spaghetti sauce from your cooking day for an easy meal!

    • Thank you so much for this comment! I didn’t think about shredding cheese or cooking rice beforehand. I’m preparing for a OAMC day Monday and it’s a little overwhelming. I hope it pays off! :)

  2. I would love some insight on how you freeze casseroles like lasagna, etc…haven’t had much success in the past!

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      I don’t bake the lasagna until the night of serving. I make it, wrap it tightly with foil, label, and freeze. I think the trick is to have a recipe you love.

  3. Maria T owens says:

    I have been cooking and freezing for 10+ years. My advantages are: Quality meals for my family to take for lunch at work and/or school every day; big savings in money, saving time!

    When the freezer is getting low on meals, I spend one Saturday cooking different meals; if I cook chicken, I will do couple recipes that way you save time. On a regular basis, we cook more than we eat and freeze the rest.

    I do have a lot of containers, bags, a bag seeler, tape, and markers ready for the end of the cooking day. Every container and bag get label with the contains and the date.

    Also, I do freeze strawberries, red and green peppers, onions, and do make my own bread crumbs with the leftovers pieces of bread.

    With a lot of patience and organization is very easy to do it!

    Maria T O

  4. Comfy clothes and shoes are a must, after all you are going to be in the kitchen on your feet most of the day. An apron will help keep your clothes clean. (ok, so I’m a messy cook…lol). A few snacks for the cooks for a boost of energy – chopped fruit tray, Dove chocolates, cheese and crackers etc. Oh and a bar stool type seat that you can sit or lean on to do some of your prep work etc. will help you conserve a bit of energy as well. One other thing I do is have the trash can sitting in a prominent place so its easy to toss your trash. Hoping to join in on the cooking adventures in a couple months after we move and get settled.

  5. I’m doing prep today and TOTALLY FORGOT to get some more yeast. Thankfully hubby is home and feels like driving out! Yeah to great husbands!

  6. Love all the helpful hints from Ms. Jessica and others! Thanks for sharing everyone! Love this “new” adventure. Been working on it for about 6 months….still not totally switched over, but loving it just the same!

  7. I’ve done it before but got out of the habit when I “retired” when my hubby did. Now I’m back at work a little to help those ends meet, so needing to do Freezer Cooking again so we have easy to fix meals handy for 2 adults and our 2 kids still at home (16 and 12!). Have forgotten a lot, so thanks for your tips!

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