Save Time and Money with Freezer Cooking

I’ve been on a bit of a frugal kick lately, and also making some changes to our lifestyle to make it a bit more healthy.  This got me thinking on one of my favorite time and money savers…freezer cooking!

What is freezer cooking?  Well, the definition is different for many people.  Some use this as a “once a month cooking” concept, where there is just one day of cooking, where you make all the meals for the month and then freeze them, ready to bake or to be eaten.  Some only do partial prep work for all the month’s meals.  Some cook a few meals and freeze portions that aren’t eaten at dinner (i.e.: cook 2 lasagnas, and freeze the second).

For me, freezer cooking means cooking 2-3 meals and freezing them in portion sized containers.  I find that I really don’t like eating the same meal over and over again during the week, and since our family of four nearly always has leftovers from every meal cooked, I came up with the idea to rotate the meals.

So, I usually cook on Sunday, and while “traditional” freezer cooking can take all day, my version only takes a few hours.  I will typically cook 2-3 main dishes (casseroles, enchiladas, etc.) and then perhaps breakfast muffins, or a coffee cake.  Once I am finished preparing, I usually go ahead and cook the meals together (or one after the other if the temperature is very different from one recipe to another), and then portion them into small freezer containers.

At the end, we have about 20-30 meal “portions”, all frozen and stacked in individual containers.  This allows for flexibility and differences in desire of what to eat that day, without any additional cooking.  My husband and I simply grab a container, reheat and viola!…dinner is served!

In addition to the meals, I will also prepare ingredients ahead of time.  So, if I am browning meat for a casserole, I’ll throw in a few extra pounds of beef, and then freeze in 1 lb portions.  Then, the next recipe that requires browned meat is already one step closer to being finished.  I do the same for cooking chicken as well.  You can also dice and freeze many vegetables too!

Freezer cooking not only saves time, but it also saves money as well – you can purchase many ingredients in bulk, and in general, cooking from scratch saves a lot of money!  Here, you get both!

To learn more about freezer cooking, or once a month cooking, you can check out the book Once A Month Cooking or the Money Saving Mom or Life As Mom web sites.

To your success,

Dr. Laura

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