planning for a freezer cooking day

The next several weeks are full ones for our family (more on this soon), and so I’ve spent extra time in the kitchen recently.  My goal is to prep ahead some meals for the freezer.

Since I enjoy peeking into others’ methods for family meals or kitchen ideas, I thought I’d share here just what happens when freezer cooking is on the agenda.

Freezer Cooking Planning

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Begin with what you have

I always start by scouring my pantry shelves to see what’s hidden there.  And yes, I do mean hidden – it’s amazing what pops up!

Recently, I found several cans of beans; this meant chili or black bean soup.  We order most of our meat in bulk from local farms, and have lots still from last fall — so many were used up in freezer cooking.

See what you have extras of or just need to use up – build meal ideas around these items.  Need ideas of what to cook for the freezer?see my Pinterest board.

Consider what’s on sale

Check out the week’s sales flyer for whatever store you frequent.  Combine as much as possible with what you already have on hand.  But don’t stress if you need an item and it’s not at a super-cheap price!  Get what you need for the meals you’re planning.

Make a detailed list

I usually put items ‘found’ out on the counter (visual person here!) and then decide upon meals.  On the right-hand side of a sheet of paper, I list out the meal or partial meal, and maybe how much I’d like to make of it.  Such as Taco Meat (3) – which would mean 3 meals of this for our family size.

On the left side, I list food items to purchase.  This is right next to the meal so I know just what it’s to be used for.  This is my very simple way, but freezer cooking printables & worksheets are online.  By the way, that’s Arabic on the side of the paper above – my daughter wrote it, and I have no idea what it says! 🙂

When I used coupons seriously, items with a matching coupon would get starred (*).  I made sure my coupon envelope was with me going to the store!

Do the small stuff first

After grocery shopping, decide on which day (or several hours) will be dedicated to cooking.  On this day, do the little things first.  Chop onions, grate cheese, slice meat, chop veggies, etc.

All the prep work takes time, and assembling or cooking the meal is easier if it’s done first.

Package it well, List what you have

The worst thing is making all this delicious food and it going to waste because of freezer burn!  Or forgetting what you have is another issue.  Honestly, I don’t make a list because we’ll eat it up so quickly (almost always in the next month or two).

But, it’s a good idea to label when the item was made (month/year) and to keep a list if you find this helpful.

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Our freezer cooking days are almost always loud, noisy affairs since the kiddos are involved.  I love having them of course, but they love having music playing at a higher volume than Mama would choose. 🙂

But hey – they’re helping, right?  So it’s worth listening to Broadway tunes while they we all strut across the kitchen.  Okay — I admit enjoying the fun!  But this is exactly how our corn hot dog muffins burned a little ; music too loud & no one heard the oven beeper:

Here’s my tally of foods stashed away in the past 2 weeks:

  • 1/2 of a whole turkey cooked, packaged for sandwiches or meals
  • 5 – 32 oz. containers of broth from turkey
  • 4 meals worth of yummy pintos
  • 2 meals of fajita meat prepped
  • 2 dinners of bean chili (meatless chili)
  • 5 qt bags of brown rice frozen
  • 4 meals of taco meat & beans (served over rice or corn chips w/salad)
  • 24 corn dog muffins for lunches
  • 4 meals of savory chicken
  • 4 qt bags of ground turkey cooked (to use for spaghetti or another meal)

I plan to do a little more this week and next — and soon, I’ll tell you what’s up in March! 🙂

 :  :

Do you freezer cook and find it helpful? 

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10 comments

Brandi

Corn dog muffins look yum! I will have to try those for lunch!

Those corn hot dog muffins are too sweet! I love how you take the time to do all those links in green on every post. I could click away on your blog all day just following where they take me! Thank you so much for sharing all of this with us 🙂

One of these days I will be this organized with my food planning. One of these days! 🙂

Baby step Fawn…it’s all about baby steps! 🙂

Wowza woman I just found your blog via a pin on Pinterest. You are full of good stuff and I will be back to read more. I”m pinning this Freezer cooking post and now following you!

SusieQTpies

You prep the exact same way I do. Love the tips, and the corn dog muffins look great. I’m pinning this for later.

This is great! I do the same thing and it is a lifesaver. Thanks for sharing.

Daniele you made those meals look like they were so easy! I am such a fan of freezer cooking. Your plans are well played out!

Blessings

Nykiah

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