I am a FREEZER Cooking girl! I just LOVE the feeling of having meals in the freezer at all times. So, much so that I once owned a restaurant/meal prep business called Dinners Ready (for those familiar with Dream Dinners, same kind of business). My restaurant business was short-lived because of circumstances beyond my control (and yes, I do MISS it very much). But the "freezer technique" of prepping and cooking has never died. And believe me, I froze meals long before owning a Dinners Ready store and I am sure I will be doing it long after too. The feeling of having so many meals stored in my freezer and able to use at a seconds notice is an unbelievable feeling of relief.
A few weekends ago I did an all-day cooking adventure with hamburger meat and this weekend I will be stocking up on chicken meals for the freezer. Now, this is not the pre-cooked, throw in the freezer for left-over type of meals (many of them are rarely ever cooked first), these are fresh meat, easy to throw together meals that just happen to be 100% ready (but stored in the freezer). I also want to point out, that you do NOT have to do an all-day cooking extravaganza to get your freezer stocked up. I also make DOUBLE meals on many other days in the middle of the week, we eat one and freeze one. This is the QUICKEST and EASIEST way to get your freezer stocked up (without cooking all day). Tonight if you are making spaghetti, then I encourage you to DOUBLE the batch, eat half and put the other half away in a ziploc bag to freeze for another day, if you are making a pan of Lasagna (make two), if you are cooking up soup (a double batch is a MUST). This is also how my freezer STAYS full all month long. As one meal comes out, I know in a day or two another one of my DOUBLE meals will land it's way back into the freezer the same week.
Here is what I am making & freezing this weekend (recipes coming soon... as soon as I can cook them all and get some good pictures for you to enjoy): Honey Chicken, Cream of Chicken Enchilada's, Pesto-Balsamic Chicken, Chicken Chili Rellenos, Chicken Artichoke and Parmesan Chicken
I also want to give you a few helpful hints on freezing meals in hopes that a few of you busy moms will try this (especially if you have never done it before, I PROMISE you will LOVE IT!) I have done this not only for myself on a regular bases, but I have used this when a big event is going on, a baby is about to arrive or a surgery is planned, if I have family in town for a long period of time and want all the meals ready to defrost and cook, I use this for camping in our motorhome too (then I never have to worry about bringing ALL the spices needed for each meal), there are so many reasons to use Freezer Cooking. I really hope you give it a try, and if you have any questions feel free to ask away and I will do my best to answer them.
MOMS CRAZY COOKING Freezer Tips
Make a DOUBLE Batch of any freezable meal (each and every time you cook). Package it up and add it to your freezer for later.
I usually use foil disposable pans (but not always), sometimes I use my regular pans (as long as you can live without them for a few weeks), until you cook that meal. OR my favorite thing to use is large freezer ziploc bags (this was learned during my Dinners Ready meal prep days). We put EVERYTHING in a Ziploc, from meat to sauces, veggies and anything in between. It saves a TON of space in your freezer too.
I don't bother with fancy labels, I just have a Sharpie handy and write on the foil or ziploc (ex: Lasagna: Cook at 350 for 1 hour) and if you wish include the date too. Nothing stays in my freezer that long, so I never worry about the date.
Thawing out the meals is not a necessity (for most meals), but it does help. I never find the that I need the meals so last minute that I don't have time to thaw them out (If I am running that behind, we've usually already ran through a drive-thru.... sorry just keepin' it real). I usually wake up in the morning and say "Hey, How about a Meatloaf or a Lasagna tonight", I go to the freezer, grab a fresh HOMEMADE Lasagna, stick it in the refrigerator and by the time I get home from work at 3pm, I may leave it on the counter for an hour or so and then into the oven it goes and I feel like WOW... I could have slaved all day to make this, but I am otherwise just SOOOO happy I had one of these in the freezer ready and waiting for one of those rushed to busy to think about dinner days!
There you have it just a few simple steps to make FREEZER COOKING another added JOY to your life instead of a stressful situation!
That's our Family Meal Plan for this week. I'd love to hear if you have any short cuts, tricks or tips.
Check back and we will link the actual recipe!
(not all recipes will become reality so if there is not a link, we haven't made it yet)
Banana Smoothie (from Food Network Smoothie book this month)
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