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How to Create a Freezer Cooking Plan (& Share Yours, Too!)

Freezer cooking is a way that individuals and families can prepare for the coming weeks by making their own homemade convenience foods.

Don’t feel like cooking?  Let everyone choose his favorite soup from the freezer. Have unexpected company? Grab a few quarts of homemade pasta sauce and prepare a pasta feed for a crowd. Looking for something quick to eat on the run? Pull some burritos from the freezer.

Not only will you eat better, but you will also save money, by avoiding high priced takeout.

Above: Frozen burritos are crisped on the griddle and served with fresh toppings for a healthier take on Chimichangas.

If you’re new to freezer cooking, or bulk cooking as it is sometimes called, rest assured that it is not difficult. You can very easily spend a few hours cooking up several recipes in quick succession and have weeks worth of meals at the ready.

Here are some past posts to help you find your bearings:

Freezer Cooking at Our House

Since I’m in the midst of writing a freezer cooking cookbook, my freezer is in a constant state of full. Lately my cooking plans have revolved around recipe developing and testing. I usually already have an idea of recipes that I want to create. I write notes and then have a good time tasting and testing and tasting again. I am sure I will need to go on a major diet come June.

My usual mode of operation these days is to work my cooking plans around a common protein. Using common ingredients or recipes that build on one another is a great way to maximize the time benefits of batch cooking. I find this to be a good way to make use of good grocery sales as well as being a great time saver.

Freezer Cooking at Your House

Are you doing any freezer cooking this month? Share your cooking plan in the comments and don’t forget to come back on Monday and share how your cooking went. I’ll be sharing some tricks that I’m using to make freezer cooking really work for us at our house.

And don’t forget to come back tomorrow for another Freezer Cooking Q&A as well as to learn about freezer cooking as a ministry.

Share your freezer cooking plan in the comments!

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 always keep a few things on hand in my freezer. Rice & Bean Burritos individually wrapped for easy lunches, lasagna, pulled pork, taco meat, and tomato sauce. I seem to have a hard time finding good freezer recipes for lunch though, and although I love my burritos…they do get tiring day after day. I look forward to your cookbook and enjoy following your blog!

  2. With seven kids, every month is Freezer Cooking month. :) The ways I use it most are: 1. Baking 8-10 loaves of bread and freezing about half of them. 2. Never cooking enough meat for just one meal. In my 5 qt dutch oven I brown 3+ lbs of hamburger at a time and freeze some. I also roast an entire turkey, dice the entire thing and freeze it in 2-3 cup portions – perfect to pull out for a casserole. 3. Freezing cookie dough. Much cheaper (and more delicious) than storebought dough.

    These are all huge time savers – especially with browning and freezing meat in advance. I always feel that if the meat is taken care of for the meal, planning what it goes into is the easy part!!

  3. I am pregnant with baby #3, making 3 under 3 come the end of May. So I have been trying to cook, bake and freeze a little here and there.. hoping to get stocked up enough to last me through that newborn survival stage! I have made LOTS of breakfast muffins & biscuits, as well as some casserole dishes. Also, I have blanched veggies, diced onions, and cooked meats, breaking down into 1 lb. baggies… all frozen and ready to throw together for a meal. For lunches, I made my own version of Smuckers uncrustables PB&J… a lot of them, as well as wash, dice and freeze fruits for smoothies. It’s amazing everything you can freeze! I’m new to freezer cooking and think I’ve done well so far. Thanks for all your tips!

    • @Carolyn, fyi you can make a big batch of smoothies portion them out into freezer bags and freeze the night before pull out the bag and place in the fridge when you wake up you have a smoothie

      • @jessica, Thank you!! I will definitely try this. I love making smoothies but I hate to drag the blender out every time. Doing one huge batch and freezing would be super efficient! :)

  4. The number one thing I’ve been freezing is homemade chicken stock from my huge slow cooker. Every time I roast a whole chicken, the carcass goes in the slow cooker with some veggies. I use half of it for soup that night and freeze the rest in smaller portions to use for recipes later.

  5. I actually dream of full on freezer cooking. Someday. Right now we live in NYC and have a smaller than average fridge. But I freeze what I can. We make a large pot of spaghetti sauce about every 5-6 weeks and use it for spaghetti, ravioli sauce (reduced with beef broth) or lasagna. Whenever I make some soup I’ll double the batch and freeze some. And chicken stock, of course. It makes it super easy to go out and play in the city on beautiful days and still have a quick, easy, healthy meal at home.

  6. I saw the comment about frozen pb and j and realized that I could do the same with my daughter’s pb and honey – especially when we get to then end of the bread’s life at home. I had just been freezing the bread and serving it to her with toast, but that seems much easier. Thanks! I am going to cook up a lasagna – a bunch of chicken – diced and frozen, and baked oatmeal.

  7. My plans for the weekend are posted over at my blog. Thanks for sharing.

    http://wonderwomanimnot.blogspot.com/2011/04/weekend-plans-maybe-not-so-much.html

  8. April Fools? Did I miss something? What happened to Frugal Friday? I look forward to reading through it every Friday night, so it was greatly missed yesterday :(
    I do love your blog, thanks for all the great posts!

  9. For easy freezer lunches, quesadillas (cheese, chicken, steak, veggie…), cut in quarters, layer in wax paper and freeze individually. Put in the toaster oven on toast for 2-3 minutes and it’s ready (and crispy!).

    Also have made grilled ham and cheese, let cool and place in individual baggies. Again, throw in the toaster oven from the freezer for a few minutes.

    Twice baked potatoes and chili are a weekend lunch staple for us as well – defrost on Friday night in the fridge, then microwave for a few minutes.

    Completely changed our weekends – no more thoughts of running out for lunch!!

    • @katie, Thanks so much for that tip! The weekend is when I blow our “eat out” money because things are so crazy! Great idea on the chili and potatoes!

  10. We’ve been eating from the freezer/pantry for the past month, so I’m due for a batch cooking day. 4years ago when I started, I made complete entrees. Now I just make up components (bags of browned ground beef, cooked chicken, beans, sauce, pesto, etc) so I’m just pulling baggies from the freezer to make dinner.
    Let me just say a “duh Ann!” to myself. I’ve never premaid burritos because they just seemed gross reheated in the microwave, and I wasn’t clever enough to think how else to do it. You’re idea of on the griddle – BRILLIANT! Thanks!

  11. I’m still working my way through our last big freezer stock-up. What worked for me was to write out a detailed time line. It helped me to think logically about the order of operations. What recipes needed to bake? What needed simmering time? What could be easily whipped together while those things happened? That way I can maximize my time.

  12. I just finished a stock-up of all our Mexican food components: Mexican rice, fresh salsa, refried beans, taco meat. I think this week will be dedicated to replenishing breakfast items (fruit bars and oatmeal bars), and making some more baby food. The little guy is plowing through my supply!

  13. I have a book called Once a Month Cooking and I’m excited to finally try it. I’ve never done “real” freezer cooking so I am excited about the prospect of not having to cook supper every night!

  14. Monica Martinez says:

    My awesome friend Jackie decided to start a freezer meal exchange group. We are the Funky Freezer Girls and have been exchanging now a year. It has been so wonderful to make a bunch of dinners from one recipe and then head home from our exchange with all different meals for that month to feed my family. We also each make an extra meal to give away to a family that we pick every month to bless. If you are interested in starting a group like this check out this page: http://www.facebook.com/funkyfreezergirls there are lots of great ideas!

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