Benefits of Freezer Cooking {and ideas for what to cook!}

We’ve made it one week!  All posts in this series on stocking our pantry & freezer can be found HERE.

Today, allow me to wax eloquent on the benefits of freezer cooking.  Yesterday I shared what we stock in our freezers, so you can take a peek if you’d like.

I love having my pantry bursting with goodness to cook from.  I like to see glass jars and large clear plastic containers filled with flours and beans, rice and baking essentials.  A stocked kitchen is truly ideal.

But you know what I appreciate even more?

I’m grateful when those items are mixed, baked or cooked into close-to-ready or ready-to-eat form in my freezer.

A bag of dry beans or a jar of rice just isn’t going to get on the dinner table very quickly.  However, frozen yummy pintos and frozen bags of cooked rice can easily be defrosted for a nutritious meal in minutes.

Friends, that’s the beauty of freezer cooking!  It’s a Mom’s sanity saver on days when brain cells can’t afford to be spent thinking what’s for dinner?

Ideas for Freezer Meal Prep

So many food items can be cooked now and frozen for later — I have an entire Pinterest board on the topic!

If you prep even just a partial meal, say cooked meat or marinated chicken for the grill, it’s a bit easier than defrosting, then seasoning, then cooking!  A few steps saved is always helpful.

Here are things I have cooked and then stashed in the freezer…

Dinner

  • Crock Pot meals
  • meat prep — marinated meats (I do this for fajitas), meatloaf ready-to-cook, meatballs, cooked taco meat, prepped stir-frys, other cooked meats, shredded chicken breasts, hamburger patties, and more!
  • soups, chilis, broths
  • casseroles, lasagnas, enchiladas

Breakfast & Lunch

Veggies & Sides

  • cooked rice, veggie dishes, twice-baked potatoes
  • muffins, pizza dough, cookies, sandwich breads, scones, rolls, biscuits, cornbread
  • chopped veggies such as onions, peppers for cutting down prep time in cooking
  • herbs preserved in oil or water
  • frozen veggies and fruits from summer’s abundance

Other

  • smoothie packs ready for whipping up
  • pasta sauce (I purchase this in bulk and separate into smaller jars)
  • baby food
  • freezer jelly
  • pie crusts, fruit crisp topping, baked desserts
  • homemade ice cream
  • ….and MORE!

Methods of Freezer Cooking

Baking and cooking with real foods from scratch does take extra time.  Why not get ahead with some freezer cooking here and there?

There are also many ways to approach to this, and I’ll share which works best for me.

Once a month cooking

This is basically making all the meals for the month in one day.  Google it, you’ll find plenty of information.  This method definitely didn’t work for me.  The sheer amount of prep time was overwhelming!  But if this idea appeals to your routine, go for it!

Doubling Up

Cooking twice is the name of this game.  Several times a week, make double of your dinner meal and freeze one for later.  I’ve used this concept a few times, and it did work.  I still needed something more intentional since I often forgot to put out enough for two meals!

A Half-Day or Few Hours

Setting aside a portion of time for freezer cooking seems to be my most effective method, when I have the empty space on the calendar.  I describe my step-by-step plan in this post.

Freezer Cooking in an Hour

Money Saving Mom introduced this concept to me.  Assuming all items have been shopped for, I work fast and furious for about an hour, once every week to stock up our freezer on some of the items above.

By the way, she offers a great Guide to Freezer Cooking on her site.

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There’s always so much more to be said on each topic!  Come back next week for more of the 10 Days of Stocking Your Real Food Pantry.

Enjoy your weekend…

 

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4 comments

April Christmas

This was a great article. I tried the once a month & it wasn’t for me. I should really try the doubling up that may work for me. I also never thought to have rice in the freezer. That would really help me out. Thanks for the tips.

Great ideas! Totally doable and have saved me hours in prepping and cooking.

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