One of the big reasons we fall trap to unhealthier convenience foods is lack of time. I totally understand how it’s so much easier to just cook up something quick because our days can become so incredibly busy that we run out of steam by the time fixing dinner comes around.
This is one reason that I’ve tried to push myself back into “freezer cooking.” On the days when I have a little more energy and time, I can make up a few extra meals and all I have to do is defrost them later. A great thing to help get ahead for the week is to cook meat in bulk and freeze some for later when time is limited. I started doing this several years ago and it’s become a fairly big time-saver throughout the week.
On the nights when I have dinner already in a crockpot or when I already have to cook up a pound of hamburger, I take a little extra time and cook up several pounds of meat! If you have a pan that will hold a few pounds, it actually doesn’t take up much extra time. If you are looking for a new pan, I highly recommend the Cuisinart Everyday Pan with Dome Cover. I’ve owned one for 5 years now and it still looks like new. I can easily cook up two pounds of meat in one. I just recently picked up a second one so I could double the amount of meat I could cook in one session–and I use it for practically everything else, too.
Here’s one of my last freezer cooking quick sessions:
The day before, I made sure to thaw out 4 lbs of meat. I decided to mix it up and do two each of pork and beef. I divided 2 lbs into each of my pans and took a picture of the clock:
When the meat was cooked, I chopped it up with a Mix N Chop from Pampered Chef. This tool has come in handy for chopping up meat quickly! When everything was cooked (and after dealing with the “Mommy Factor” of having to stop and help the kids with something) I took a picture of the clock again:
It took me under 15 minutes to cook and chop up 4 lbs of meat and I ended up with this:
Now before I had started my freezer cooking session, I had added all the ingredients (minus the meat) to a crockpot for the Taco Chili Recipe. So when the meat was cooked and cooled a bit, I added in one pound each of beef and pork. It wasn’t too much longer and our chili was ready.
In the meantime, I took the 2 lbs of cooled meat that was leftover and put them in freezer-safe containers in one pound portions:
I’m going to save these for a later date. All I have to do is put them in the fridge the day before to thaw and I can quickly heat them up to use for:
Vegetable Beef Soup
Or any other recipe that requires pre-cooked beef/pork. Just add a few other ingredients for dinner to be done! We also had plenty of chili leftover from dinner. I put them in three freezer-safe containers. My hubby ended up taking one to work the next day and the other two I put in the freezer for later:
One of the containers I used was a Ziploc divided container. When my hubby needs another quick lunch for work, he can defrost it the night before in the fridge and then throw in some cheese and crackers in the side containers and he’s all set. I also have another larger container for another lunch or to use for chili dogs or topping for a potato bar night, etc.
As you can see, taking a little time on the days when you have just a little bit of extra time can help you out on the days when you are extra busy. You can also put your cooled meat in freezer Ziploc bags. Just lay them flat and you’ll be able to easily stack them in the freezer. You now have some “convenience food” ready to go without all the extra unhealthy things added to it.
Hope this helps save you a little time if you try it! I’ve found that cooking meat in bulk can be a huge time-saver for us!