Freezer Cooking Round Two

Since we started planning our menu in advance about a month and a half ago, we’ve really enjoyed a lot let stress every day around dinner time and we no longer look at each other and hope it’s the others’ night to cook.  In an effort to create healthier meals for low cost and to make dinner time even easier around here, we decided to try our hand at freezer cooking where you prepare a bunch of meals in advance so you can basically just thaw, heat and eat.  I had no idea how many folks there are out there who actually do once a month cooking (OAMC) and spend a whole day cooking enough meals for the month until I started researching recipes for easy to freeze meals.  Wow – I think that’d be awesome to have your whole month’s cooking done all at once, but that’s way too intimidating for me (at least right now) since I haven’t had a full day to devote to anything for at least five years 😉  BUT I figured that if we could just pick say seven freezer friendly meals that we could double and get put together easily, then we’d have a couple weeks worth of meals without too much trouble.  Two weeks ago we had a “beef cooking day” where we completed 19 meals in about 5-6 hours from $75 worth of meat.  Yesterday was our “chicken cooking day” and I’m thrilled that we ended up with 17 chicken meals in the freezer using the 30 pounds of meat that we purchased from Sam’s Club for $45.

Once again, I selected a bunch of recipes from the “Frugal Mom’s Guide to Once a Month Cooking” (I bought this e-book for $12.95 and I highly recommend it!) and I got the Stuffed Shells recipe (pictured above) from Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms:

We’re having the Stuffed Shells on Monday night and I can’t wait – they look scrumptious don’t they?  The original recipe called for a Rotisserie chicken but I got two whole chickens reduced to 69 cents/lb at Sam’s and I cooked one in the crockpot yesterday and there was enough meat from one to cover all four dishes so I decided to just go ahead and freeze the other whole chicken for another day.  This round also took about five hours (not including our America’s Got Talent break) but actually turned out to be a lot less labor intensive than the last round.  We’ll definitely be doing it again in a few more weeks!

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Comments

  1. Sarah B says:

    I have also tried to cook for a whole month in advance, but with having 3 under the age of 4 and one due in about a month- that is not getting done. I have found what works good for me is to cook a meal and make 3 or 4 meals of it at that meal. Then freeze it. If you do it for a month, you wha have 3 or 4 meals of like 20 different things! Then I use these meals throughout the month and when I really want to cook a meal I cook one! It may take a month to stock pile meals, but then you have meals for several months and just keep making 3 or 4 meals out of one meal each time you cook! Sometimes I cook 10lbs of hamburger just for tacos and then add the Lipton taco rice to stretch the meat even farther and then that is what we have for supper that night and then I divide it up into ziploc bags of about how much we ate at supper for meals to come. Don’t know if you probably already have a good system or have tried this, but just thought I would pass it on if it would help you. I love your couponing site! I just started couponing and can’t believe I didn’t do it long ago! Thanks for all your tips!

  2. I love it – thanks so much for sharing Sarah! I’ve got five under five and that’s exactly why I don’t have a full day to devote to cooking. I really dig the idea of cooking up all the ground beef at once and freezing for tacos later 🙂 We do lots of tacos around here, especially now while there are fresh tomatoes from the garden!

  3. The zip lock bag will hold the meat fine? I just bought 4 lbs of beef to try this. (Starting little because of limited space in the freezer) So basically I can make the meat, season it, cook it like I would normally… then just freeze it in a storage container made for the freezer or freezer bag and then on that night defrost it like I would my meat for that night? Sorry if I am asking a dumb question just want to understand properly so I do not waste the meat 80) Also how about meatballs.. I have bought the pre-made before but since I started making my own I would love to have a good amount in the freezer to be able to pull out on those hectic school meeting nights? Thank you so much!

  4. It’s been awesome Olenka! I’m still amazed at the difference it makes – both to the budget and at dinner time since there’s no longer a debate about whose turn it is to cook! The ziploc bags will be perfect – for seasoned ground beef like for tacos or the hashbrown casserole I made last week just put in the bag after cooled and then directly into the freezer. With meatballs and hamburger patties or things that you want to retain their shape you need to flash freeze them first before putting them in the bag. To do that just put them in the freezer on a tray or cookie sheet for an hour or two until frozen through, then store them in the ziploc.

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