Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Freezer Cooking

Today's post on freezer cooking piggybacks on yesterday's post about meal planning. Oh Freezer meals, how do I love thee!? On those days I don't feel like cooking dinner, don't have time to cook dinner, or waited too long to cook dinner, I've got a back up plan in the freezer.
I learned about freezer meals three years ago when I started my personal chef business. Basically, I would go to my client's house and cook meals for them that would last from one week up to one month. Obviously, food can't last more than a few days in the fridge without going bad, so the bulk of what I'd cook for my clients went right into their freezer. This is where I learned that freezer meals aren't just casseroles! Imagine my surprise! Then, last Fall when I was pregnant with my daughter, I was thinking of ways to simplify my life after she was born. Ding, ding, ding! If I didn't have to think about dinner, that would take one thing off my mind. I actually ended up making some things for my breakfasts as well.

Fast forward to now, and I'm still making freezer meals. It's fantastic because it saves me time by not having to cook every night. There are a few different ways you can go about building your freezer stash.
  1. When you are cooking dinner, double your recipe to make two of whatever it is. Eat one that night and freeze the other!
  2. Pick out some recipes of foods that freeze well, and spend a few hours one day cooking them and freezing them. The payoff to this method is one day of work for a few night's worth of meals.
  3. Go in on it with some friends! You can all get together and cook, or you can each cook at home and swap meals. There is a group at my church that gets together and does this, I participated in the swap for a few months before I had my daughter. I ended up with 8-10 different meals that I didn't cook! You can see all of the amazing meals in the picture above. Pretty cool! Now, I swap with a couple of close friends, not quite as much work, but with the same awesome payoff!
Freezer meals can also save you some money. If you are buying in bulk, or shopping based on this week's circulars, you can buy what's on sale to save some cash. It will also save you from buying take out because you have nothing to eat at home = saving you money!

If you're not familiar with freezing meals, you may want to check out this website. It talks about foods that freeze well, reheating tips, how to package foods and more.

The following are some freezer meals that I have tried and liked, and a few I cannot wait to try!

Chicken Curry Over Rice via Passionate Homemaking
Chicken and Dumplings via Passionate Homemaking
Broccoli and Cheddar Quiche via Mama and Baby Love
Baked Penne with Chicken and Sun Dried Tomatoes via Martha Stewart
Whole Wheat Pizza Pockets via 100 Days of Real Food

Ok, so that's a few to get you started. You can check out my previous post about Freezer Chicken Divan for another freezer meal. I also have some recipes that you freeze, then stick 'em in the crock pot to cook! That's double duty as far as an easy meal goes! SO stay tuned for tomorrow's post on crock pot cooking!!

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