Freezer cooking is a great idea that helps save time & money. You prep meals in bulk, freeze them, and reheat when needed. Here are my best tips and tricks today to have you freezer cooking like a pro in no time!
Freezer Cook Like a Pro! – Easy Tips To Get Started
Have you always wanted to try your hand at freezer cooking but just weren’t sure how to get started? Knowing that you have a freezer full of healthy and delicious meals right at your fingertips can make thinking about what’s for dinner a lot less stressful.
When I first started meal planning I was looking for options that would help save my family money. Over the years, our lives just got busier, having kids in extra activities. I not only wanted to continue with my savings effort, but I need a short cut to help save my sanity. That is when I discovered batch cooking to freeze meals… and so mu journey with freezer cooking began.
So how do you get started with freezer cooking meals as a beginner?
There are a few different ways that people typically prepare freezer meals, and we will cover all of them here so that you can decide how you would like to begin freezer cooking for your family.
Best Equipment for Freezer Cooking
Before you begin your freezer cooking journey you will need to have a few supplies on hand. These include freezer bags or freezer-safe containers, aluminum pans (for casseroles), aluminum foil, permanent markers, and your recipes and ingredients.
- Don’t freeze in glass jars or containers – When freezing occurs contents will expand and can in fact break your class jars. Leaving you with a terribly sharp mess.
- Don’t freeze in plastic ware – Containers that allow head space for air will also allow headspace for ice crystal formation, which can quickly adapt into freezer burn.
- Using the right supplies will help shorten the process & help store food for their best quality.
Supplies you will need
Plastic Wrap or Aluminum Foil – The plastic wrap & aluminum foil serves to block out air from touching your food.
Freezer bags – Invest in quality freezer bags. You don’t want to get the cheap kind here. Often time the seel fails which can cause a disaster.
Foil pans or non-aluminum baking pans – These work perfect for large casseroles. And no worries, after using you can recycle these.
Permanent Marker – Labeling is Key here. I mark each item with a piece of masking tape, listing its contains and the date made.
Baggy Rack – These are not necessary, but I have found they help when you are super busy in the kitchen. Having the bags readily open for food content is a big help.
Easy Ways to Freezer Cook
Planning and preparing meals ahead of time for freezing is one of the first steps in creating healthy meals at home for your family. As you get the hang of freezer cooking and figure out which method works best for you at that point you start adding more recipes to your menu plan.
- Create A Menu 3-4 days before shopping And cooking.
- Don’t reinvent the wheel. Cook recipes that you know really well.
- Pick out your favorite recipes to either batch cook throughout the week, cook in a day prep or make as a meal kit for later. I do cover each method of freezer cooking below.
Freezer Cook All Meals in a Day
The first method that people often use to fill their freezers with meals is to make a lot of different meals in one long cooking session. Some people who are experienced in freezer cooking may even prepare as many as 50 freezer meals in a single extended cooking session.
If you are new to freezer cooking and want to make several different meals in a single day, it is best to stick with recipes that you already know your family enjoys. Don’t start out by making a bunch of new to you recipes. You may find that you really didn’t enjoy that meal, and now you are left with food you won’t like. The purpose is for you to save money and not to waste it. I suggest picking 3 or 4 recipes that you already know that your family loves. Then make two or three different batches of them to place in your freezer. This will give you an excellent start on filing your freezer with healthy, delicious meals with just one day in the kitchen.
The second method that many people use for freezer cooking is to make a double or triple batch of whatever they are already cooking for dinner. It doesn’t take that much longer to prepare two or three batches of a meal instead of just one. Now you have one meal for dinner tonight, and one or two meals to toss into your freezer for another time.
Using this method for just a week will leave you with a good variety of meals. It is always nice that you can create a meal and freeze for later. Keep it up for one or two nights each week and you will have a significant freezer meal stash in no time. This broccoli cheese pasta bake is a great choice for making one for dinner tonight and freezing another for future use.
Make Your Own Freeze Meal Kit
The final method for freezer cooking is not to freeze entire meals, but instead to freeze the ingredients that you need for meals. This might be cooked, shredded chicken or pork, cooked ground beef, or sauce for pasta. You can pull out some of that ground beef and pasta sauce and have dinner on the table in just a few minutes. Here are some Ginger Garlic Pork meatballs that freeze beautifully for dinner on another night.
Freezing single ingredients can also come in handy when you don’t have to use all of something, or if you have something in danger of turning. For example, have your bananas turned black? Throw them in the freezer for banana bread. Do you have some vegetables that you don’t need for tonight’s dinner that are starting to get soft? Chop them up and throw them in a freezer bag. Did you open a can of chicken broth only to find that you just needed half of it? Freeze the other half in a container and use it up next time. Freezing ingredients can help you to reduce your food waste, which helps you to save money.
After you start freezer cooking for your family, you will probably find that you use a combination of these freezer cooking methods. Don’t forget about freezing your leftovers too if they aren’t going to be eaten before they go bad. Most meals have at least one aspect of them that can be prepared in advance and frozen. This method will help to save you both time and money.
Have you started freezer cooking yet? If so, what are your favorite freezer cooking meals and methods?
Other Great Time Savings Meal Planning Tips
Meal planning is all the rave these days. Helping you to simplify your dinner routine, plus you’ll save money (and eat healthier) by not eating out and not wasting what you buy at the store.