A Quick Start Guide to Freezer Cooking

Chicken Bacon Subs for the Freezer

You’ve heard about this freezer cooking thing. You may even have checked out a cookbook or two from the library. But, the problem in the kitchen is the same problem in your life – a shortage of time. You just don’t have the time to figure out this freezer cooking thing.

Or maybe you’re just so eager to get started, you don’t want to spend time reading. You just want to get cooking!

I hear ya. I hate reading directions, too. My husband just shakes his head at me as I just feel my way through a project instead of simply picking up the manual.

Here’s a quick start guide to cooking, freezing, and enjoying homemade meals in the coming weeks.

  1. Print out a Master Freezer Cooking Planning Sheet.
  2. Choose one protein, such as chicken, to cook for this round of freezer cooking. Write that in the first square under “main ingredient/protein.” Next time you can get all tricked out and make different kinds of dishes, but we’re doing baby steps here.
  3. List your four favorite chicken recipes in the next column. If you need inspiration, consult this list of what freezes well.
  4. Pull out those four chicken recipes and create a grocery list in column three. You’re going to prepare double or triple batches of each of these items (you choose). So adjust your grocery list accordingly. Check your pantry to see what you have and what you need.
  5. Go shopping. (Make sure there’s enough room in the fridge to hold all that you’re bringing home.)
  6. Review this precooking checklist.
  7. On your freezer cooking day, prep all your vegetables and other ingredients that might need chopping, slicing, and dicing.
  8. Prepare each recipe in assembly line fashion. Don’t forget that you’re doubling or tripling recipes. Lay out 2-3 baking dishes to fill and put them together quickly and efficiently.
  9. Wrap, label, and freeze as you go. Make sure that food cools to room temperature before freezing.
  10. By the time you’re done, you should have 8 – 12 dinners ready to go for the coming weeks.

Are you ready to get cooking?

Curious about freezer cooking? Consider purchasing my cookbook, Not Your Mother’s Make-Ahead and Freeze Cookbook from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or your local bookstore. It’s chock full with over 200 freezer-friendly recipes, planning pages, shopping lists, cooking plans, and basic and advanced how-to’s to making freezer cooking work for any home, family, and lifestyle.

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Comments

  1. I started freezer cooking with you a few months back and it has made my life super easy! I mostly make up some marinades and freeze what ever meat is on sale that week in it but I’ve also done burritos and taco rollups too. It’s made life and snacking much easier and cheaper. We hardly ever eat dinner out any more!

  2. Yes, I’m ready to cook! I need to make breakfast items, lunches & snacks. I plan on trying the Chicken Bacon Subs.

    http://www.lindaslunacy.blogspot.com

  3. Excellent guide and tips! Thanks!

  4. We make pizza most Friday nights as a family. Can I make the dough ahead and freeze a bunch of it? If so, do you just wrap it and then put it into freezer bags?

    Thanks for your tips!

  5. Has anyone participated in a freezer meal exchange? I am doing one tomorrow and will have 8 meals in the freezer as a result and i only had to cook one! Really looking forward to seeing how they all taste!

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      @Tami, I have never done one, but a friend was in a club for quite some time. She said the drawback was the different food preferences the families had, particularly the children. That was difficult to find a happy medium.

    • @Tami,

      My 2 daughters and I have recently started a Sunday Supper Swap and we love it. We each make 1 casserole for each of us and then we swap on Sunday afternoon. My husband and I eat this all week for dinner. It is soooo wonderful to come home after a long day and not have to stress about what to slap together for supper.

  6. my freezer cooking starts in the freezer section of the local grocery. I’ve hated cooking all my life. Told my family from day one….” if I can’t fix it in 15 minutes you don’t get it”. I made a few exceptions but it worked for 50+ yrs. ;D

  7. Portia Taylor says:

    I’m looking for some semi-healthy :) freezer meals. My family likes a lot of different kinds of food. I’ve used one “freeze ahead” cookbook in the past. But, after all the work, there weren’t many keepers. I would like to give it another try. Would anyone have any recipes they could share?

  8. This is awesome. Thanks for sharing that planner. That helped me get a grip on what I was doing. It helped me get real about what I was actually going to do, rather than the pie in the sky grand plans that I tend towards normally.

    • I work full time and have two young children. My strategy for freezer cooking is to work at it little by little. I tend to put a couple of meals in the freezer on my day off (usually based on my meal plan for the week), and or if I make a double batch of something. It seems to work well. I always keep some plain cooked ground beef in the freezer. thanks for all of the ideas and inspiration.

  9. amanda fox says:

    We have taken it one step further. As moms who also home school our children. We meet once a month as a group for our freezer club. Each person makes 6 meals of the same entree and freezes them. At the meetings we keep one meal for ourselves and swap the other five. At the end we have 6 different freezer meals for the month. I love the time saved and trying new recipes while sharing my family’s favorites.

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