Feb 212014
 

The last three months have convinced me it’s time to try freezer cooking, preparing a stash of frozen meals that just need to be thawed and reheated or cooked. I tend to keep my freezer well stocked with meat and vegetables, but that isn’t quite the same. Basically, right now my freezer is full of recipe ingredients that need to be seasoned, sauced, chopped or cooked. With freezer cooking all of the prep work is done, sometimes right down to the cooking part. So a major grocery shopping trip and a chunk of dedicated prep work = homemade frozen convenience meals.

Freezer cooking certainly isn’t new, but I do think it’s a trend that is picking up followers. Over the last year I have gotten close to a dozen freezer cooking ebooks. A search for freezer cooking on Pinterest will net an ocean of pins, some linking to blogs and websites that are dedicated to freezer cooking. I’ve even seen blog posts and pins about freezer cooking clubs.

While I have always enjoyed cooking, I’ve come to realize how valuable having a few prepared meals on hand in the freezer can be. Between the weather that has made visits to the grocery store often somewhere between difficult to impossible, increased writing commitments and my busy kids that still need a parent taxi . . . it sure will be nice to have some easy meals available for crazy days. I’ll review my favorite freezer cooking cookbooks as I get the chance to try some recipes.

Are you  a freezer cooking fan? Do you have any tips or favorite recipes that you would like to share with me?

This post is part of Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads.

 

 February 21, 2014  Posted by  Food Tags:

  18 Responses to “Freezer Cooking Ahead”

Comments (18)
  1. I think this was bigger when my parents were among those first couples to both have jobs and two kids to care for. It was easier to spend the weekend making meals for the week that dad, who was home during the days and working nights, to pop in the microwave and feed the kids. :)

    • So I guess I’m really late to the freezer cooking trend. :) That would explain one of the book titles, “Not Your Momma’s Freezer Meals.” My mom was a SAHM, so never really had much of a need to cook ahead.

  2. I love freezer cooking! There’s a Yahoo group called Friendly Freezer that I’ve followed since the 90s — great information and advice. I love keeping packs of cooked beans and cooked ground meat in the freezer and try to cook double dinners so I can freeze half. I really need to start checking out pinterest for new ideas — thanks for the tip.

    • I wish I’d had the supplies to freezer cook last night. Everybody loved the enchiladas I made for dinner. If only I’d made a double batch to freeze.

  3. I don’t do it at all, but am intrigued to learn more. I do it for my smoothies though. Put the frozen fruits together in a ziplock bag, and leave in the freezer, so every day I just pop one in the blender and that’s it.

    • I’ve seen those smoothie kits quite often on Pinterest. I’ll try that in the summer. Just can’t do smoothies in the winter. Brrrr!

  4. This is something I need to do more of, especially with 2 young children. Now its just a question of finding the time to make the freezer meals!

    • I’ve actually seen some blog posts talking about how to do the cooking days with young children. It’s doable, but I know it won’t be easy for you either. Little ones are so busy all the time!

  5. I’ve been trying to come up with ideas for meals that freeze well. Whenever we go to Florida, I try to leave my father-in-law with a well-stocked freezer. Think I’ll follow your advice and see what Pinterest has to offer… he must be getting tired of my lasagna by now 😉

  6. We cook batches of our staple meals and freeze them, it makes weekday dinners easier. We usually spent a Sunday afternoon every couple of weeks restocking our freezer. Some favourite meals to freeze are lasagna, chilli, bolognese sauce, veggie pasta sauce, lentil curry, and lentil and tomato soup,

  7. I’d love to get into freezer cooking. Problem is, once I put something in the freezer, I forget all about it and by the time I find it again, it’s time to throw it out. Sigh.

  8. If I had a bigger freezer, I might try this, but alas, I can barely fit anything in it.

  9. I tend to freeze some leftovers rather than making something specifically for the freezer. There are also some meals that taste better the next day and I’m always saying I should make them a day ahead … but don’t. Cheers from Carole

  10. Hi Janel,

    We have a freezer which in all honesty is way too large for the two of us and completely under-utilised.

    I keep it full out of habit and whilst it is very tidy and organised, I do tend to forget about stock rotation. Consequently every few months sees a frenzy of activity, as I dig the oldest dates from the bottom of the baskets and usually end up by having to throw more things out than I keep!

    I really don’t need to go meat shopping for a few weeks and work my way through some of it, although the idea of cooking and freezing meals has never entered my mind, even though several of my friends swear by it. In my case it would certainly cut down on wastage and seems like an eminently sensible solution to a problem.

    Happy Freezing!

    Yvonne.

  11. I have not done that method, Janel, but I do cook a larger portion than we want and freeze a dinner sized portion. That way, we eat it freshly cooked or roasted, then one more meal from it about 3 weeks later :-)

  12. I wish I had freezer space to try freezer cooking! Unfortunately I share space with two roommates, so it’s basically all fresh ingredients, all the time (and lots of grocery trips, besides). Even prepping for a medium-sized party takes a ton of coordination. Ah well – someday!

  13. One could just stash a cooler outside this endless winter for extra freezer space! You’re right though, having lots of homecooked wonderful meals ready to thaw or zap in the freezer beats a freezer full of ice cube trays and components to a warm meal.

  14. I don’t have any tips for you either! I never did this myself as a young mother much, because whenever I did it, I would never remember to take it out and use it. My mother used to try it occasionally, but had the same problem. Freezer burn just doesn’t improve flavor! 😉 The other trick is picking meals that freeze well and my husband isn’t a casserole fan.