Freezer Cooking Can Help YOU

Freezer cooking can help you save time, money, and effort. It’s a little work on the front end, but the results are worth the cost.

I started “freezer cooking” over 15 years ago. Over time it’s proven to be a great method to save money and time.

Not only do I have something ready in the freezer on busy days, but I reap the benefits of bulk shopping and cooking. Making three batches of taco meat doesn’t take that much longer than making one. Buying ten pounds of meat gets me a slightly cheaper price.

Time to fill the freezer!

I took advantage of the long weekend by filling the freezer. to. the. gills. There’s pretty much no room left. I’m hoping that my work will pay off in quicker meal prep in the coming month.  We have something going on almost every day of the week, so I need to have some of the prep work done for me.

Plus, we’re leaving on a short vacation to the Sierras and carting our food with. Freezer meals are on the go.

If you’re tracking with me on Instagram (@jessicagfisher) or on Twitter, chances are you caught a glimpse of my doings. If not, here’s the month’s freezer cooking in pictures.

I told you it was a lot of cooking!

Some details on my cooking spree:

1. I shopped and cooked over two days. For the run-down on groceries, head over to Good Cheap Eats. I ended up spending $551, but some things I already had and some purchases weren’t really for freezer cooking. So, it’s not a super accurate number.

2. I used a lot of recipes from my new cookbook, Not Your Mother’s Make-Ahead and Freeze Cookbook. You can pre-order it from Amazon or Barnes and Noble now. The book should ship in late October.

3. My kids pretty much did whatever they wanted while I cooked. That’s typical for the weekend anyway. But, often they came in and helped or chatted with me. We call freezer cooking days “Good Smells Day”; the kitchen draws them to me.

4. Here’s what I made:

  • Seasoned Taco Meat x 6 = to use in tacos, Rice Bowls, and burritos
  • Black Bean Soup = from the cookbook
  • Homemade Sausage Breakfast Sandwiches = from the cookbook
  • Refilled the Smoothie Station with frozen fruit, like sliced bananas
  • Homemade granola = new recipes
  • Not Your Convenience Store’s Frozen Burrito = from the cookbook, made 2 dozen!
  • Pumpkin Bread with Flax
  • Coconut-Ginger Scones = from the cookbook
  • A huge Roast Beast = Doesn’t that look so Suessical? I had no idea that the bag of roast was just one roast. Made for an interesting cooking experience. We had French Dip sandwiches that night and then froze enough for four more dinners. Will be doing this again!
  • Teriyaki Meatballs = new recipe, not pictured, enough for four meals
  • Baking mixes
  • Instant Oatmeal Packets
  • Gingerdoodles = new recipe, not pictured
  • Whole Grain Cinnamon Rolls

Yes, it was a lot of work. But, probably not as much as you would think. I used the bread machine and the slow cooker for many things. And many of these recipes come together very quickly.

Last month, I stretched out my freezer cooking over a week, this time I crammed it into two days. You can do it anyway you like. But, make-ahead and freeze is a super way to save money, eat well, and not go crazy at dinner time.

Tweak Freezer Cooking to Fit YOUR Life

Check out these past posts for more ideas on fitting freezer cooking into your life:

Have you done any freezer cooking lately?

Tell us in the comments how your cooking session went. Feel free to ask questions if this is something new for you.

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Comments

  1. I was able to score some boneless skinless chicken breast for $.50 a pound on Sunday so I marinated half of the batch and the other half I left plain for things like chicken fingers or stew.

  2. Fishmama, you’re moving me in this direction. Ordinarily I cook enough for dinner 3 nights in a row and a little to store in the freezer. When I make pancakes, I cook extra for the freezer. I’ll do an extra lasagne but the extra spanikopita never makes it into the freezer. So while I cook for the freezer, I never make it this BIG. However, with two teenagers playing soccer this season, I’m having to rethink my gameplan a bit. Big appetites and less time. I may have to do some good smell weekends!

  3. Yep! I LOVE freezer and make ahead cooking. When I buy meat for the month, I prep the entire kaboodle.

    All chicken is butterflied and portions and either breaded and frozen raw for “crispy chicken,” frozen in marinade, or sliced into strips and frozen raw for quick stirfries. I also prep “soup mix” which is the raw chicken, onion, carrot, garlic, and bouillion cubes. Ready to dump in the pot and add broth. When make a big pot of soup, then, I freeze the remainder for future meals.

    Ground beef is cooked into tacos and frozen or made into raw hamburger patties and frozen. Roast is either frozen in chunks for pot roast or (mostly) frozen one pound increments of cubes (for stews) or strips (for stirfries).

    I also divvy huge bags of shredded cheeses into two cup portions, make a huge batch of sweet potatoes and freeze.

    For baking and pancakes, I prep dry mixes into veggies…NEVER a single batch. If I’m going to bake one, I might as well do a bunch. Then, at another time, I do the baking. Choc chip cookie dough is frozen raw in balls, 4 batches at a time. breads or muffins are baked, sliced and wrapped in dry waxed paper and frozen to pull out and throw in a lunchbox. Pancakes, your recipe, made 4 batches at a time and frozen to pull out and do in the toaster on super busy nights.

    I do not do a huge cooking day or weekend (except for raw meat prep, which I try to only do every other month). Instead, I do little bits here and there as the kids are content or otherwise occupied or when I find chunks of time.

  4. I just did a quick freezer cooking session. Hubby and I were going out of town for a conference, so we made some food for us to take on the road and for our kids so grandma wouldn’t have to kick (or accommodate our kids’ food intolerances). It is all taken care of for her.

    Here is the link:

    http://www.momsplans.com/2012/09/getting-ready-to-go-to-the-financial-blogger-conference-and-a-menu-plan/

  5. Love that you’re doing this – I try in small ways, but want to kick it up a bit – can’t wait for your book to come out! I hope it will be on kindle!

  6. Brandette W. says:

    You did so good! I hope you will share your new recipes with us in coming days. Would be excited to try them myself!!

  7. I stocked up right before school started : http://blessedandbusy.blogspot.com/2012/08/back-to-school-batch-cooking-baking-and.html

    However, with 5 hungry kids, most of this is almost gone!

  8. I only have the freezer on my fridge, so I’ve made freezer cooking work by working small-scale. I’ll make two of a dinner, and freeze the second, or I’ll take one day a week and make just a few things to freeze–a breakfast like waffles or pancakes, calzones or burritos for lunches, and some casseroles or taco meat for dinners.

  9. I per-ordered my copy for my NOOK! So excited, we love trying your recipes. Thank you for all the great ideas.

  10. I LOVE freezer cooking, but I’ve never tried freezing roast beef. Actually, I’ve almost never cooked roast beef because I’ve never liked it as leftovers. It’s hard to find a roast small enough for a family of 4. I would love more information on how/what you did. What cut of meat? How did you prep it for the freezer? What meals do you plan to use it in? I’ve learned so much about freezer cooking from your blog. Thank you for letting us into this part of your life.

    • Sharon,
      I prefer the chuck roast, it alway cooks up tender. The best plan of attack is to cook it “low and slow”. I usually cook my roasts for at least 10 hrs on low in my crockpot. You can also do it in the oven too, my MIL cooks hers for 2 hrs at 350, then 2hr @ 300. It’s just easier for me to us the crockpot. Use whatever seasonings you like. My favorite is golden mushroom soup and dry onion soup mix…makes the best gravy w/ no extra effort. I would guess a 2-2.5 lb would be enough for your family…unless you have teenage boys like I do ;)

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      I used a sirloin tip roast. It holds together better than chuck. I use chuck if I want shredded beef. I’ll be posting the recipe soon. I want to remake it again first.

  11. I love freezer cooking too and so does my husband. I have never tried breakfast foods. I will try that. Thank you for a very interesting and informative post.

  12. What is that a picture of in the very first picture of this post? A lasagna? It looks good!

  13. Jessica –
    I’ve used several of your recipes, and they work well for my family. Now that my husband and I are both working full time, I need to start freezer cooking again. I’m going to invest in your cook book but am not sure which format. Have you seen the ebook version? I want to know how user friendly it might be, otherwise I’ll go with the hard copy.
    Thanks!
    Suzanne

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