If you are like me you find yourself often struggling to get a home cooked meal on the table each night while juggling homework, after school activities and basic chores around the house during the school year, then you may want to try Freezer cooking! Freezer Meals can ease that burden tremendously, but if you’ve never made them the task can be rather daunting.
I’ve decided to post 10 Days of Freezer Meal Recipes which you can find HERE. Please note – as of right now I have not posted all of the recipes as I will post one per day so in 10 days they should all be HERE.
To begin utilizing your freezer for easy meal prep and smooth freezer to oven meals there are a few simple things to keep in mind. These Easy Tips To Freezer Meal Planning are sure to help you understand the best ways to take advantage of making meals in advance and freezing them to be heated up later for simple evening meals for your family. The goal is to make this something that saves you time and money.
Easy Tips to Freezer Meal Cooking/Planning
- FREEZE WHAT YOUR FAMILY ALREADY EATS REGULARLY. There are tons of recipes out there for freezer meals including some we will share here, but just because they freeze well doesn’t mean your family will like them. Make sure that the freezer meals you are making are actually foods your family would normally enjoy. I recommend trying any new recipe with your family prior to making in bulk for freezing to use in future meals.
- USE PROPER STORAGE METHODS. I recommend double bagging and double wrapping to prevent freezer burn and ensure the best flavor. In most recipes I post that are freezer friendly I will share my recommendations. I prefer using simple plastic storage containers for individual portions that will be used for grab & go lunches, large plastic freezer storage bags that are double bagged and labeled for soups and stews and aluminum pans for casseroles and meals that will be taken straight from freezer to oven. If your budget allows food saver systems are an excellent method of storage that will help keep food fresh for longer.
- FOLLOW FDA FOOD STORAGE STANDARDS. No matter what you have been told through the years, I always recommend checking the FDA Food Storage standards to make sure the food product you are storing will be safe. Not only do I label with the date I made the entrée or dish, but I also label with the date it needs to be used by just in case. Consistent rotation of foods in freezer and organization will prevent food waste from occurring.
- START SMALL. When you first start preparing freezer meals it can be overwhelming to dive in head first and prepare a dozen meals in one day. Start slowly to get yourself and your family used to the concept of freezer to oven meals. Make a double batch of your favorite soup or casserole and freeze to be cooked at a later date. If you like the results and find it went smoothly, then set aside a day to do several meals at once for a full menu of freezer meals to have on hand.
- PREP EVERYTHING AT ONCE. When making large batches or multiple freezer meals start with basic prep first. Make a list of what vegetables and meats will be used in each dish and prep them together to save time rather than prepping at the start of each recipe. If you will be using 4 onions in 4 different dishes chop and slice them all at the same time. If you are using 5 pounds of ground meat across 4 dishes cook it all at once with basic salt and pepper seasoning then divide into each dish as directed in recipe. This saves money and helps prevent waste.
- PREP MEATS & VEGETABLES NOT JUST COMPLETE MEALS. Even if you don’t feel like cooking complete meals you can always take advantage of great deals on meats and produce in bulk to prep and freeze. When turkeys are on sale around the holiday season we purchase several and roast them all at once. We then shred, dice and remove all meat from the bone and separate into 3 cup bags and label. These are great to toss in with pasta, make sandwiches with or even use in soups later on. We do the same thing when we find great deals on our favorite boneless skinless chicken breasts. We often will separate into portion sizes and freeze raw to be thawed and cooked later but our favorite thing is to marinate and grill for ready made grilled chicken tenders we can pop from freezer to microwave for tasty grilled chicken wraps or salads on the go.
Here are some items you may want to consider:
- Bakers & Chefs Half Steam Table Foil Lid – 30 ct.
- Extreme Freeze Reditainer 16 oz. Freezeable Deli Food Containers w/ Lids – Pack of 36
- Reditainer 32 oz. Deli Food Containers w/ Lids – Pack of 24 – Food Storage
- And much more here!
These Easy Tips To Freezer Meal Planning are a great place to begin in your freezer meal journey. While some people will make all of their evening meals in advance and freeze, others take advantage casually when they find a recipe that is easy to double or triple and have on hand for last minute meal prep. Whatever your desire to begin creating freezer meals this is a great method that will save both time and money for your family since you can easily take advantage of great deals on meats and produce to create many of these meals in advance for your family.