June Freezer Cooking Days

Freezer Cooking Days are here again! Mark your calendars for Friday, June 4 through Monday, June 7 ’cause we’ll be cooking up a storm.

I can’t wait to get back to cooking! Some of my experiments of last month, like Stuffed Chicken Breasts, Garlic Bread and Chicken Bacon Subs were a big hit, so I’ll be doing that again. Plus, I’ll be testing out some new recipes on the fly. Here’s my freezer cooking plan for this month in case you’re wondering what’s going on at my kitchen.

I hope you’ll join me!

I’ll be sharing a Freezer Cooking Q & A on Thursday. Come share your cooking plan here at LifeasMOM on Friday afternoon. (There won’t be a link-up at MoneySavingMom this time around as Crystal will be at a conference that weekend.) Cook when you want and then come back to share your accomplishments on Monday afternoon. Can’t wait to be inspired by what you cook up!

If you’re just tuning in, you may be wondering, “What in the WORLD is freezer cooking?!”

Freezer cooking is the practice of preparing many meals ahead of time and stashing them in the freezer for use later in the month. The original Once-A-Month-Cooking method, designed by MaryBeth Lagerborg and Mimi Wilson, entailed preparing 30 meals at one time.

I’ve tweaked that original approach to suit my family’s needs and to encompass make-ahead breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as meal components, like pizza breads or shredded chicken, time-consuming parts of a meal that when made ahead of time can make dinner prep a snap.

Cooking in bulk can save you time, money, and energy — natural energy as well as your own. And as Crystal points out, one of the benefits of freezer cooking is that you make one big mess and then don’t have much kitchen clean-up the rest of the month. Can I get an Amen to that?!

Learn all you can about freezer cooking by visiting these select posts. You’ll be glad you did. And don’t hesitate to ask questions.

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Comments

  1. OK, I’m in!

  2. I’m going to try. Really want to.

  3. I can’t wait to see the recipes for the chicken bacon subs & the pizza subs. Sounds delicious!

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      The pizza subs were a little soggy because of all the sauce, so I’m going to ditch that one. But the chicken bacon subs are coming up!

  4. Sounds good. I just posted my plan today since I’ll be cooking the first of next week. I’ll have to check out your recipe for the chicken bacon sub. Did you post that one? I don’t remember seeing it, but I think I remember reading about it on FB…am I right?

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      I talked it up on FB but I haven’t posted it yet. Will add that to the list this week.

  5. I’d like to get some meats in marinades for the grill, so I’m in! And I’d like to get some dinner breads/rolls cooked to freeze so I don’t have to heat up the oven as often (or, at least, for as long) this summer.

  6. I did some “mini” freezer cooking last month to see what I thought and it was AWESOME!! This is what I did…One day a prepped everything…I shredded my one cheese (as you said this was a great money-saver), I chopped onions, (I don’t know if I have EVER done this), made red-sauce, cooked all the meat I needed, put baggies together for chicken noodle soup, and cooked pinto beans in the crockpot. Then over the next few days I made dinner and made 3 of everything. One day I made Lasagna (3 frozen for later), another day Calzones (3 frozen), another day we made brown bag burritos (10 frozen for later), and one evening I made Jambalaya (2 bags of rice frozen for later). It was awesome because I spent basically the same amount of time cooking each meal, but I ended up with meals prepared for other days also! Oh, I also made mix & match muffins with chocolate chips and froze a bunch of those…like over 20.

    My family loved pretty much everything, but the jambalaya didn’t turn out that great after being frozen…do you typically freeze rice?

    I also REALLY liked that I didn’t have much to clean the evenings we ate the frozen meals…one messy day (the day I originally made the meals), and no mess the next time…

    This month I want to make the butterhorns as I believe my family would enjoy these. I can’t wait for June 4th to try this all again.

    THANKS FOR THE INSPIRATION!!

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      I have never attempted to freeze rice because it just seemed like it would be gross. Was it gross?

      • Many in the Bento community freeze rice with great results. The secret is to not allow it to cool before packaging and freezing — you want as much moisture to go along with it — then microwave it a minute or two to thaw/heat. Even the shaped rice known as ornigiri do well

        HTH

        • Jessica Fisher says:

          Thank you! That is great feedback. Does it work the same for long grain as it does sushi rice?

        • @Liz Anderson,
          I freeze long grain and extra long grain rice all the time. I make extra and once it is no longer hot but barely warm, I place it in a freezer bag. Squeeze out all of the air in the bag and shape the rice to a rectangle (or the bottom half of the bag) by folding the bag over on itself. I then place it in the refrigerator. Once cooled completely I throw it in the freezer. To reheat it, I remove it from the freezer (do not thaw in fridge), open bag and splash a handful or two of water inside, close the bag and microwave for 3-5 minutes depending on the quantity of rice in the bag. I take it out, check it, and if it needs a little more time I throw it back in the microwave for a minute. Essentially it steams itself. I have been doing this for years since my Mom has shown me and have never had a problem.

      • @Jessica Fisher,

        We freeze rice all the time. Works great! We do long grain white or wheat and generally use it as an ingredient in something else. I use my Rice Cooker and make 12 cups (I think that’s the limit) and use what I need and freeze the rest in freezer bags.

        Connie

  7. Oh…one more thing…I forgot to mention how much I DO NOT LIKE cooking…sorry ladies, it’s just the truth. But, after my adventure in freezer cooking (with your easy recipes) I absolutely LOVE this MONTHLY freezer cooking! I feel that I get a “huge bang for my buck” both financially, and with my precious time!

    THANKS AGAIN!

  8. christa says:

    I froze a bag of red (spanish) rice last month and it thawed great! I was surprised how well it came out. I had the same reservations as Jessica…but give it a try!

    I am going shopping today after I make up a list…I did freezer cooking in April and had enough to make it half way through May! Looking forward to trying new recipes!

    Thanks for the inspiration :)

  9. I have been freezer cooking for years – but I have to say that I have been LOVING your recipes!! Your couscous salad rocks! It is a new favorite here – along with the chicken and wild rice. My husband’s family is from TX and NM and he is serious about his enchiladas- he was a wee bit skeptical about your “top secret” recipe. We ALL loved them! Thanks for sharing! We swapped out the sour cream for greek yogurt and they were fabulous. So all this to say Thanks, and keep the recipes comin. =)

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      Thank you! What an encouragement. I’m so glad that my super secret enchiladas passed muster w/ hubs. Gonna have to try it with greek yogurt! Might healthify it a bit. Yummy!

  10. I’m in this month. I’ve got the plan up and I’ll post it on Friday. I’ll be cooking Sat/Sun!!!

  11. I will be joining in, too! I need to fill up the freezer with ready to go food.

  12. I, too, am in. I’ll be splitting it up though as we are out of town July 6-14, so I’ll do Friday and Saturday, then finish the rest upon returning. I’ve decided this summer, it’s freezer meals and salads and grilling. No more hour+ in the kitchen after work most evenings. Thanks!

  13. You ladies got me hooked months ago and I have never looked back! I am on a bit of a different schedule, but love linking up and checking out all the awesome recipes!

  14. I just did mine over the holiday weekend since I was off work!!! It wasn’t too much, but just enough to get us through a few days. I can’t wait to link up!!

  15. So, I thought I’d comment back about the rice…This is going to sound SOOO extremely idiotic, but I might as well admit what I did…LOL!

    I froze the rice just as it had cooled off enough to do so, emptied the air out of the bag using the straw method and it froze fine. When it came time to use it I put it on the stovetop in a pan…lol! Didn’t occur to me to use the microwave…I’ll definately be trying this again. My fam LOVED it the night I made it, but the rice kinda turned into mush when I re-cooked it.

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      That’s why I have never frozen rice. But, some people are seeing great success. So maybe try their suggestions?

  16. Okay…so here’s a question from a currently single mom of a growing 1 year old. I just started freezer cooking for him. Basically because he is eating WAY more healthy than I do and I’d like to keep it that way…plus I work at his daycare so of course we’re on the go and there is nothing easier than grabbing a frozen meal and tossing it into the diaper bag. I am very much into using whole grain items and fresh veggies. Unfortunately I have VERY limited resources when it comes to big meals to cook that are in his category of healthiness and age range. Do you have any recipes for a toddler who only has two teeth so far? We are still blending into smaller chunks :)

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      Are you talking about recipes for the whole family? Or just for him?

      I have always fed my kids what we were having, chopped up in a bowl. So, if we had rice and beans, so were they. If we had pizza, so did they. I just healthified them so that all of us were eating healthy. ;)

  17. Tip on the rice – use a little less water than the package calls for and just slightly undercook – al dente for immediate eating and allows for reheating without turning to mush. Freeze it in quart size bags and flatten before freezing. It thaws faster this way.

    The key is a nice, dry rice, not a sticky wet rice, before it goes in the freezer.

    Good luck!

    • @Connie, Thanks! I’m gonna try it. I had a request to make the Jambalaya for a party I have coming up, so I’m not sure if I’ll be freezing it this time around, but maybe next month.

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