Freezer Cooking: The Weekend Update

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So, I got a head start on freezer cooking this weekend. I wasn’t sure how it would play out, since we like to reserve weekends for family time. As it turned out – it rained. A lot. So most of our family time was home based. Great time to get some meals going.

Friday nights are usually pizza and movie night. FishPapa and I love the Jalapeno Burn Pizza. It’s fairly easy to make, but I thought it would be even easier if I chopped enough onion and sliced enough jalapeno to last the entire month. A small thing, but one that will save me a good 10-15 minutes per week in the coming month. I bagged up enough cheese to cover pizza nights for March.

Since the refrigerator was packed full of boneless, skinless chicken breast, I mixed up the different marinades to go with Mustard Grilled Chicken, Asian Chicken, and a new freezer experiment with an old recipe, Chicken with Tomato and Feta Cheese Sauce.

Saturday. The day was wet and cold. No big family outings for us. Except of course taking three children under six to the grocery store with me — alone — in the rain.

How’s that for living a wild and crazy life?

FishBoy5 and FishChick3 and FishBaby were all awake and LOUD by 6:30, so it made sense to get out of the house and let the others sleep. Thank goodness the store was practically empty. We would have made quite the impression.

While we were there, I found the meats I needed for this month’s meals, some even marked down. 85% lean beef for $1.49/pound? I’ll take that. The sell by date was Saturday, so I had to get cooking. First I made a big pot of meatless red sauce. Once that was cooking, I set two pans of bone-in chicken breast in the oven to bake and filled my two large crockpots with more chicken breast. While that cooked, I marinated more chicken breast for my Chicken and Wild Rice Bake.

While FishPapa ran interference with the kids, I started to make meatballs, followed by Taco Meat, followed by tons of shredded chicken, followed by cooking more ground beef for the Lasagnas. At which point, my sweet husband took SIX KIDS to Sonic for Happy Hour (1/2 priced fountain drinks) and brought me back a large Vanilla Coke. Praise God for my Family Man! While they were gone, I started my freezer inventory sheet.

That Vanilla Coke was what I needed for the push to get the lasagnas and chicken enchiladas made. Needless to say, I was wiped out and we ordered Chinese Take-out for supper, rice from the rice cooker.

Sunday was a day of rest. One that I enjoyed immensely since I got 1/2 my list done on Saturday! For dinner we had Chicken Chili. I froze half.

Here’s what I’ve got on ice:

3 dinners Chicken and Wild Rice Bake
2 dinners Tomato Chicken with Feta
2 dinners Mustard-Grilled Chicken
3 dinners Asian Chicken
8 dinners of tacos, burritos and chimichangas
2 marinated tri-tips
2 dinners Mediterranean-style Steak
7 dinners Meatless Tomato Sauce and 3 dinners Meatballs to go with
4 Jalapeno Burn Pizza Kits
3 Lasagnas
4 pans Chicken Enchiladas

Holy Freezer Meals, Batman! What was she thinking?

Honestly, I had no idea that all I bought would make 40 meals! I think we’ve got a few lunches covered, don’t you? Monday will truly be a “baking day” as I’ll be making:

Are you cooking? How’s it going?

About Jessica Fisher

I believe you can get great meals on the table -- and still keep that pretty smile on your face.

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  1. You are superwoman!I am still trying to decide if I am going to join in the oamc or not.

  2. I am not joining in because my freezer stays full…. I’ve been doing Eating from the Pantry and it doesn’t seem to use anything up! Ha!
    For example, last week I made chicken breasts in the crockpot which we ate for one dinner and used chicken for one lunch. I had enough left over to make 2 large chicken pot pies which are in the freezer for later… see what I mean??? My husband and I are amazed. But you win the prize for producing 40 meals in one day!
    What an inspiration to us all!

  3. I love your oamc and am going to try and follow along. I have a problem with my lasagna it always comes out watery any suggestions?

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      I have sometimes had that happen, but have never been able to determine a cause because it doesn’t always happen. Anybody know?

  4. I envy you the Vanilla Coke. They discontinued it in Ontario. Clare

  5. Hi FishMama –

    I know you do a lot of freezing of ingredients, and I was hoping you could answer a couple questions for me. I’m new to “freezer cooking” in any capacity, but I do like to keep a couple emergency dinners in the freezer.

    1 – Can you freeze shredded cheese? Does it alter the texture at all?

    2 – I’ve tried to freeze fresh broccoli before, and when I have thawed it out to use it, it smells really bad and I end up throwing it away. How can I do this more effectively?

    Thanks for your help. I really enjoy reading about all of your kitchen endeavors.

    – Cait

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      Shredded cheese has always done fine for me. Avoid freezing cheese in blocks as it will be crumbling on the other side of thawing. Broccoli needs to be blanched first. Boil quickly for 2-3 minutes, plunge into cold water, pat dry and freeze. The blanching inhibits enzyme action and protects the texture when freezing. Good luck! And thanks for reading!

  6. I got all that I wanted to do for the upcoming month done on Friday and Saturday, but I still have a freezer full of stuff too, so we are working on using up this month!

  7. I am gearing up for my first freezer cook-a-thon! We are a family of three, so it should seem very easy compared to the quantities your wonderful large family needs 🙂 But yet, I still feel intimidated by it! Thanks for the great inspiration!

  8. just a granny says:

    Being empty-nesters, it is no longer essential to keep the larder (i.e., freezer) full of prepared meals. But I have found your site to be so much fun to read, and inspiring in regards to meal prep and new recipes (always love a new recipe). I am frequently forwarding stuff I read here to my daughters.
    Regarding the inspiration: I have been inspired to inventory the pantry and freezer (two actually, as we have two refrigerators), and that has helped with the menu making – I menu-plan 3 weeks of dinners at a time. And over the past 10 days I have: 1) cooked a chicken in the slow-cooker (for shredded chicken and broth); 2) cooked a boneless chuck roast in slow-cooker for shredded beef (for tacos and beef and veggies in gravy); 3) navy bean soup w/ham; 4) made 24 oatmeal-blueberry muffins; 5) 1 loaf of “Sheepherders Bread” (a rustic peasant bread – good with soup); 6) cut-up 8 cups of carrots, celery, and onions – for soups – bagged in 4-cup portions; all this in the freezers – I’m so proud I about sprained my arm patting myself on the back ; ) – All to say – thanks for the inspiration. I’ll be checking to see how everyone is doing.

  9. Hey FishMama…I’m up and cooking this am!! Here’s my update:
    Have fun!! (BTW…this is my first OAMC endeavor and I’m hooked!)

  10. I was just reading the comments and read about the watery lasagna. If you use the no boil lasagna (just the oven ready lasagna noodles) it won’t be watery. I always use that for my freezer lasagna and I’ve never had that problem. You don’t bake it first , though. You just prepare your lasagna as if you were going to bake it, but freeze it instead. Defrost and bake. Hope that helps!

  11. kudos to hubby for taking the kids out- my hubby can’t do it with one kiddo

  12. You listed some of the most delicious recipes. Would you share your recipes for Tomato chicken with Feta, meatballs and how you freeze tacos, chimichangas, etc? I can’t tell you how inspiring your website has been! Thank you!

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      Lee, thanks so much for your kind words. I am planning to share the recipes as soon as I have good pictures. As for tacos and chimichangas, I freeze “kits”: cooked meat, grated cheese, cooked beans, tortillas – all wrapped separately.

  13. I’m a little late to the pantry challenge party. We spent the last couple months filling up our freezer and now we need to empty it out so we can move next month. Between moving and being without an income for six months while we get a new business up and running, we’ve decided now would be a good time to use some of our food storage. I’ve had to get pretty creative to avoid the store the last week- we’ve dug out the powdered milk (Morning Moos- which is just as good as the real thing if you haven’t tried it), but I’m dreading baking bread.

    I’m wondering if you know a way to freeze bread before baking. I’m sure there’s a way (a la Rhodes?), but I’m a newbie when it comes to bread. I use my KitchenAid (alas no bread machine here). The fococcia you make sounds divine, but I’d like to make it all at once. Help!

  14. Great job! After nap time today, we’re headed out to do the shopping we need to do for our cooking day tomorrow. My first ever, I’m excited! I spent the morning cleaning my microwave, freezer, and surfaces. I’m ready to go!

  15. Jennifer says:

    Today was my first big cooking day. It was not supposed to be, but I am 5 weeks from my due date with baby #3 and I had the energy today, so why not 🙂
    I made 2 meatloaves, 4 quarts of spaghetti sauce with meat and mushrooms and 60 meatballs! Talk about a productive afternoon. It only took about 2 1/2 hours to do it all. Since this was my first attempt I would say it was pretty successful. We will have one of the meatloaves for supper, but the rest if ready for later!

  16. You’re doing so great filling your freezer with all those little fish swimming around!

    I’ve been doing the freezer dance a long time – and I don’t generally do the once a month thing – doesn’t work for us – I do freeze some ready to heat and eat and some ‘pieces’ and some ‘raw in marinade’ etc

    One thing I’ve found about meatballs [we like tiny ones – and scooping pounds of meatball mixture into a zillion tiny meatballs is AIGH!] is that if I am feeling overdone or running out of time [or room in my pot! – I bake them and then finish cooking them in sauce over a low flame] I like to either
    1. freeze ‘meatball mix’ in meal sized batches for a night when I have the time while sitting with the kids doing homework etc to make a batch as long as it’s just scooping OR
    2. if I really have a ton to do and not much time I spray a baking pan, press the meat in to meatball thickness and use a pizza cutter or knife to ‘score’ it tic tac toe style into meatballs – then midway through baking I rescore – and when you’re done – you’ve got ‘meat cubes’
    This way takes more time in the oven but less of YOUR time

  17. Your comment about taking three little children to the grocery store by yourself cracked me up. And it made me feel a little better seeing as taking three little children out by myself is a regular occurrence for me… and I don’t really think much of it anymore. Though it doesn’t mean it’s not still a juggling act or that it has ceased to be a lot of work.

    But it was nice to hear that it’s even a wee bit of a challenge for Superwoman herself. 😉

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      Always happy to provide a reality check. 😉 When I take a few out with me is often more challenging than the whole herd, in part, because my standards change. I see things that fly under the radar in a bigger group. lol

  18. When you do shredded pork or chicken, how do you shred it? When I’m doing it just for one meal, it takes a while to shred between 2 forks. I’m guessing there’s a better way but I haven’t the foggiest idea on what it would be. Help…

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      I do it with my fingers, but a friend just told me you can put it in the KitchenAid with the paddle, on stir. Gonna try that next time. Because it does take forever.

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