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5 Easy Ways to Fill the Freezer

Easy ways to fill the freezer

Freezer cooking has been a lifesaver for me on a number of occasions. It started back when I was pregnant with my first child when I could come home from teaching and serve a hot meal to me and my hubby without a lot of fussing in the kitchen. It continues today now that I’ve got six kids, a busy homeschool, and a writing career.

I’m pretty confident that no matter what season of life you find yourself in, you can make freezer cooking work for you.

5 Easy Ways to Feed the Freezer

However, I know that making a month’s worth of meals can seem like a daunting venture. You don’t have to do it that way. It’s nice to have a jam-packed freezer when I do, but sometimes I just can’t find a good block of time —  or mental energy — to do a big cooking session.

Instead, I practice these easy ways to feed the freezer:

1. Where’s the beef?

We love Costco quality and prices for meats. It’s said that Julia Child even preferred Costco beef. I buy two or three large flats of ground beef and come home and process it, making quarter-pounders, taco meat, meatballs, and meatloaf. While we aren’t going to eat beef dishes all month long, day after day, I have some easy, quick meals to lean on.

2. Eat more chicken.

Chicken is one of the most economical proteins I can buy. My favorite ways to process them are either in marinades or pre-cooked. Thawing a bag of marinated chicken is all it takes to getting us a nice grilled dinner. Well, that and getting hubs to man the grill.

Bags of shredded or cooked chicken are some of the first things to disappear from our freezer. I can add the meat to salads, sandwiches, tacos, casseroles, and quesadillas with very little work.

Freezer Meal Chicken in Marinade

3. Make mine a burrito.

My kids love grilled chimichangas. Love them. While it’s certainly not too difficult to wrap burritos to order, it is a super easy feat to wrap several dozen and freeze them for later. These make for uber-quick lunches, snacks, and suppers.

Not sure how to wrap a burrito? Go here.

4. Fix a kit.

Taco, saute, and pizza kits are super easy to assemble for freezing — and they make dinner even easier to pull together on the other side.

I like to buy shredded cheese in bulk, like in 5 pound packages. I divide them into smaller 1-pound bags and freeze them. I benefit from the bulk pricing and the convenience of it being shredded and portioned out for me. I pair a bag of mozzarella with a container of red sauce and a bag of pepperoni for an easy pizza kit; with taco meat and tortillas for a simple taco night supper.

I love Emma’s tutorial for making stir-fry kits for the freezer. Brilliant!

5. Comfort with casseroles.

I love casseroles, the one-dish dinner full of yummy goodness. It really takes a few minutes longer to make two than it does to make one. So next time you mix up your favorite lasagna, enchiladas, or noodle bake, make two or three and stash the extras in the freezer.

Having a stash of pre-made meals in your freezer is pretty awesome. When you make them yourself, you give you and your family better nutrition and typically better pricing than if you had done your stock-up via the frozen foods section. And it’s really not that hard to do.

Freezer Meal enchiladas

Want to learn more about freezer cooking?

Recently I had the opportunity to write for The Kitchn last week, sharing some basic tips on freezer cooking. If you missed the series, you can catch it here:

For more ideas about how to fill the freezer, check out 31 Days of Freezer Cooking. And if you’re looking for a great freezer-friendly cookbook, ahem, might I suggest this one?

Today my friend Lynn is sharing some of her tips about freezer cooking. You can check those out here or head to her allergy section to see how she does gluten-free freezer cooking.

Help me do this thing!

freezer-cooking-plan

Want a little more instruction on how to fill your freezer with awesome, homemade meals? Check out these free printable cooking plans. Many of the recipes are available online, though some are exclusively available in Not Your Mother’s Make-Ahead and Freeze Cookbook.

How does freezer cooking work for YOU?

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Comments

  1. Most of the time, freezer cooking isn’t really “planned” for me. It might happen that I had leftover taco meat and beans and as I am cleaning up from dinner, I mix the meat, beans and cheese into a bowl, then fill into leftover shells and freeze for an easy enchlada dinner. Other times, with the same after dinner clean up, I have made it into a “dip” casserole to pop in the oven on the weekend for a no fuss, easy meal. I am always thinking of how I can make something more. I like to mix up extra when making a meatloaf and pop some meatballs into the oven while the meatloaf is cooking. Sometimes, I even take the opportunity to make two freezer meals while my freezer meal from times past is in the oven. I always cook more noodles than needed because they can be turned into most anything later on. I am even on the lookout while at the grocery store. The deli is a good place to start for this, I can usually find a discounted whole cooked chicken or chicken wings or something that can be turned into another freezer meal. The other important thing that is required for freezer meals is to put it on the list posted on the freezer so I actually remember that it is in there when I go looking for something to cook!!

  2. I love to cook, however, I don’t like to “cook” every day! So, years ago (25-30 years) I started with taco & burrito mixes. Then moved on to experimenting with lasagna & other casserole dishes. And now there are tons of cookbooks and recipes on the internet. I love it.

    It has made my life much easier to be prepared when I KNOW life is going to be busy. It has also been a relief to know that while I travel my family will still have good nutritious meals in my absence.

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