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Freezer Cooking Plans – October

Freezer Cooking Days are an opportunity to share what you’re prepping for the freezer this month.

My friend Crystal and I have been hosting these web “events” together for almost a year now. Can you believe it? The time has flown.

We’ve both seen an evolution in how we cook and eat over the last twelve months. And while we don’t do it the same every month or even like we did last October, one thing has stayed constant:

Having the makings of a few meals ready in the freezer helps us moms save time and money.

Starting out?

If you’re just starting out in freezer cooking — or have no idea what I’m talking about, I recommend these three reads:

Need fresh inspiration?

If you’re an old pro, you may be wondering how to adapt freezer cooking to a new season of life or dietary change or just want some fresh recipes. We’ll be talking about adaptations in the coming months as well as sharing new recipes.

By visiting the links that readers share today and on Monday, you’ll get an idea of how others do it and, hopefully, be inspired to make changes in the ways you get food on the table at your house. Keep track of this post as it gets updated with more and more freezer-friendly recipe links.

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.

My Freezer Cooking Plan for October:

Since I already have a pretty good stockpile of marinated meats in my freezer, a regular purchase of fresh vegetables, and a load of rice and quinoa in the pantry, I’m going to focus on making breakfasts and lunches easier this month.

I’m also going to spend just 3-4 hours this weekend in my efforts. While a marathon cooking day is definitely rewarding, I’m finding that I’d rather condense the time as much as possible. In fact, I’ve been doing sprints for my last few freezer cooking days and it’s been practically painless.

Here’s what I’m prepping in October — in four hours or less:

Mix and Match Muffins
Scones of Various Kinds
Pancake Mixes
Instant Oatmeal Packets
Maple Granola
Lawnmower Taco (lunch size)
Red Sauce
Mini pizzas and pizza kits

It will involve some good planning and efficient motion in the kitchen, but I think the rewards will be huge.

What’s your plan for freezer cooking this month?

Share your permalink below or tell us in the comments.

Come back on Monday afternoon to share what you cooked or to link up a favorite freezer recipe.

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Comments

  1. Does anyone have good tips or recipes for freezing potatoes? We love potatoes at our house! The only recipes that I know freeze well are Twice Baked Potatoes and the mashed potatoes with cream cheese and sour cream.

  2. Just The motivation I needed! It’s going to be a very productive weekend!

  3. I’ve started doing freezer meal swaps with friends and it is SO nice. I just make 2-3 big batches of one meal, go to the swap meet, and come home with lots of frozen meals (how many depends on how many people participate. Most of the time the food is great (people tend to use their favorite yummy recipes for these) and I barely have to lift a finger. Planning on doing Chicken Stew, Twice Baked Loaded Potatoes and Sweet Potato Casserole for the next time around.

  4. Where can I find a recipe for the twice baked potato???

    We are expecting our third baby in early November so right now I am stocking the pantry and freezer in anticipation of her arrival. In the past I have tried doing an all day OAMC frenzy and even though our freezer was full by the end of the day, my back was broken, feet sore and I felt that I had missed out on family Saturday time :(

    So in the last few months I too am cooking in smaller chunks of time, doubling recipes and throwing one in the freezer, or simply cooking as time allows.

    I am also finding that we are creatures of habit when it comes to our food and it is better to stick with our old favorite recipes. I am also learning that I can have parts of a meal frozen, for example shredded beef for burritos, and simply make sure to have the remaining ingredients in the pantry.

    So far this month I have 2 lasagnas, 1 stuffed shells, 6 meals of shredded beef for tacos etc, and 3 meals of chili in the freezer. I have 3 meatloaves waiting to be put together, 2 chicken breasts to cube, 2lbs of ground beef to brown, 3 meals worth of red sauce and I think I will make up a big batch of waffles and banana muffins and corn muffins as well.

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      The recipe isn’t posted. I just use a general cream cheese/sour cream filling and flash freeze them.

    • @Beth, I don’t have an exact recipe. I just put in whatever I have on hand. Garlic & chives are good in them.

    • @Beth,

      I hear you on the whole nesting thing! I linked to where I found twice baked potatoes in my post but they were very easy to do! I ended up doing them on our Holland grill because even though its October in Minnesota it was in the eighties on that particular day! The Holland acts very similar to the oven though and maintains an average temp of 350 F. I scrubbed the potatoes, rubbed skins with olive oil and sprinkled them with Mrs. Dash Original Blend. (my Husband’s boss bakes potatoes this way on his Holland and the original suggestion was Butt rub, which is a meat rub but we are a Low Sodium Household and so I grabbed what I had handy!) Anyway, I baked them for about 1.5 hours turning them halfway through. Let them cool a bit before carefully cutting them in half and scooping the potato center out into a mixing bowl. I added 1 1/2-2 cups low-fat sour cream, 1 cup skim milk, 1 stick unsalted butter, 1 cup cheddar cheese and, 1 cup mozzerella cheese to the potatoes and mixed it all together and then refilled the skins on trays, lightly sprinkled shredded cheese on top and put in freezer to freeze.

      Good luck!

  5. I’m so glad this post came up again with links to plans. I am struggling a bit with easy dinners during the week. Actually, I’m struggling with snacks for the kids, too, but dinners are the biggest struggle right now.

    I haven’t decided if I need to focus on the main part of the meal or make sure I have lots of sides in the freezer. Probably the former rather than the latter.

  6. I haven’t tried freezer cooking per se just yet (would love to though!), but I’ve spent more than my share of weekends chopping and prepping fruits and veggies for winter, and making about a dozen bags of spaghetti sauce to tap into year-round.

  7. Crystal got me started on OAMC and I am obsessed now! I made about 12 pizza pockets for the first time last night (well actually 15 but E and I ate 3 for dinner) & loved them. Today I am working on mini apple pies, chili, stew, and BBQ pork before my 10 month old comes home tomorrow morning! This month was just a stockpile for the next few months when E’s hours might get cut back.

    But just one question being new and everything at this… When the meat is frozen, after you thaw it, you do have to cook it before refreezing right? E suprised me with a ton of chicken and burger on sale (he IS learning!!!) and even seperated it into 1lb freezer bags for me so I didn’t have to… But now its frozen and I am not sure what I can do with it… So I do have to cook it first before refreezing right?

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      I thought I wrote a post about that, but now I can’t find it. Frozen meat that is thawed and refrozen prior to cooking is safe, according to the USDA, but it can lose texture and is more susceptible to freezer burn. I prefer to avoid it when I can. But, there are lots of freezer meals that I make with precooked chicken and ground beef. So, you can totally make this work.

  8. Here’s a post I made as an update after doing a freezer cooking session today: http://beckyson25.wordpress.com/2010/10/16/freezer-cooking-day-update/

  9. Like yourself, freezer cooking is more about mini sessions lately. Bought a 10lb sirloin tip on sale for 1.98lb yesterday and had the butcher cut up into 3, 3lb roasts.
    Today I will do :

    1 Ginger ale crockpot roast
    1 Crockpot Beef Stroganoff
    1 fajitas & 1 French Dip from 3rd roast

    also hope to do muffin mixes and oatmeal packets this week.

  10. I really look forward to this monthly post! I enjoy seeing what everyone else is making and getting some new ideas. Thanks so much for hosting this. I just posted about my minin session this morning.

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