Freezer Cooking February: Methods and Resources


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.

Resources
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:

Fix, Freeze, Feast: Prepare in Bulk and Enjoy by the Serving – More than 125 Recipes

Don’t Panic – Dinner’s in the Freezer: Great-Tasting Meals You Can Make Ahead

The Everything Meals For A Month Cookbook: Smart Recipes To Help You Plan Ahead, Save Time, And Stay On Budget (Everything: Cooking)

Once-A-Month Cooking

Once-A-Month Cooking Family Favorites

Frozen Assets: Cook for a Day, Eat for a Month

How to Freeze: Everything You Need to Know About Freezing

Make-A-Mix

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.

Freezer Cooking February & Guest Posts Request


One of the ways that I find that I can stretch my grocery budget a little farther is with “freezer cooking.” This is basically where you make meals ahead of time and freeze them for quick meal-prep later. I’ll go into the ways to save in one of my “Long-Term Savings” postings but I wanted to share with you my plans for February.

I’ve been wanting to get in another good Freezer Cooking session coming up. Well, I’ve been sitting here for days saying how I’ve been fr-fr-freezing and I thought it might be fun to do a month-long Freezer Cooking theme for February to go along with the cold we have outside here in Chicagoland.

While I am still learning the do’s and don’ts of freezer cooking, I know some of you have also had success with recipes, etc. So I’m opening up to some Guest Posts if anyone is interested. I’m keeping them real simple with just bloggers/readers sharing some freezer cooking recipes that they’ve had success with–and maybe some tidbits of what you’ve not had success with, too! If you are interested in doing a guest post, please send me an email with the subject line “Freezer Cooking Guest Post” and I’ll get back to you with more details.

And what fun would another monthly theme be without some great giveaways? I’ll also be hosting some giveaways for some Freezer Cooking books and some supplies to aid in the freezer cooking process. I’ll do a link-up, as well, for you all to share your freezer cooking sessions.

I hope you all will enjoy the theme and not only find more ways to stretch your budgets farther, but that you’ll also find some great recipes in the meantime! Stay Tuned!

Meal Planning by Freezer Cooking


If there’s one thing I need to work at, it’s definitely meal planning. I guess I tend to wing it quite often because I like to cook whatever I am hungry for that day. But since I have such limited time with having two little ones now, I do try to save some time in the kitchen by doing some freezer cooking.

A few years back, I went to one of those places where you pay $$ to go in and make up meals for yourself to freeze. It was so nice not to have to grocery shop or cut up items, but the price was quite costly. Afterwards I thought, I could do this myself!

So I scanned the Net for freezer cooking books. I stumbled upon The Freezer Cooking Manual from 30 Day Gourmet: A Month of Meals Made Easy. I liked that the recipes were simple to do and very simple tasting. We aren’t big “gourmet” eaters here!

What I like about the book is that not only do you get the recipes in the book, but you are also given a username/password to access their website full of more recipes! Some of my favorites that I make are from their site!

There are basically two ways to freezer cook. You can double your recipe for every meal you make during the week and freeze half. This will give you a few nights of “freedom.” Or you can set aside a long weekend and spend it making up meals for a few weeks or a month. If you choose this method, I definitely recommend that you start off small and plan for just a few recipes- just until you get at least one sesson under your belt.

I am hoping to get in another session here soon. I’ve been keeping busy with exercise and planning Nathan’s b-day party. But when I do get my session in, I’ll be posting the recipes to share with you.

So if you aren’t that great at meal planning either, consider trying freezer cooking. You can have plenty of foods frozen that you can just throw in the fridge the night before and warm up for supper the next day.