As I mentioned several weeks ago, I’m doing a month-long series on Freezer Cooking. It’s just one of the ways I am trying to achieve my Goals of 2010 to get healthier. I’m doing this by not only choosing a few healthier recipes but also, by having food on hand, ready to cook, I’m avoid the evil takeout food that’s loaded with so many calories!
Once-a-Month vs. Doubling Recipes
Freezer cooking can seem daunting to some because they have only heard of the weekend long sessions and just don’t have that much time to spend on cooking. Once-a-Month Cooking, as it’s often called, is not the only way to “freezer cook,” though. In fact, I rarely do big sessions anymore since I have the two little kids and a blog to keep me busy.
One way to get in some freezer cooking is to just simply double your meals whenever you can throughout the week. This is how I normally get in my “spare” meals. When you think about it, it’s actually quite easy to double a recipe. The time-consuming part of meal prep is the chopping of the veggies and or meats, such as ground hamburger or turkey. It only takes a few extras minute to chop up an additional carrot or cook up two pounds of hamburger instead of one.
Often, I’ve even cooked up double the hamburger recipe and put the extra half in the fridge after it’s cooled. Even just having that part done is a huge time-saver for the next night. I can quickly just throw that in a casserole or heat it up for Tacos, etc.
I usually recommend that those new to freezer cooking start off with just doubling recipes. Once you get the hang of what freezes and doesn’t and which meals you do like, then try the Once-a-Month method. While the Once-a-Month method can be exhausting, it’s also great not to have to spend much time in your kitchen for the several weeks that follow.
Now, when I first discovered Freezer Cooking about 3 years ago, the first book I read was 30 Day Gourmet: A Month of Meals Made Easy. It’s still one of my favorites. Not only is it a book full of recipes, but you also get access to their online recipes after you buy it. What I like about the book is that it has the recipes in a grid so you can easily make them according to how many servings you need. There’s no messing with fractions or scratching your head to figure out if you doubled or tripled the recipe right.
Here are a few other books that I’ve either enjoyed myself or have had recommended to me:
Now, while I am a self-proclaimed book junkie, I highly recommend that for recipe books, you try to flip through them first at a book store or library. I’m a simple recipe person and I often find that some books are too gourmet for my taste. While you could be the opposite and want more of a gourmet meal on most nights. Recipe books are by far the books I end up buying the most so I can easily reference them later.
I want to keep these segments reasonably short so that’s all I’ll share so far. This should give you an idea of the two ways most people freezer cook and also some recommendations on books to check out for more ideas and recipes. Next time, I’ll go into how to get started and I also have recipes from some Guest Posters that I’ll share throughout the series.