Freezer cooking is a method of meal planning and preparation in which a person(s) makes multiple meals at one time and freezes them to use at a later time. These meals can be either pre-prepared or pre-cooked. Personally, I prepare fully cooked meals and crockpot meals which are mainly pre-assembled but are not cooked until the meal is to be served.
Here are the steps I take in using this process of meal planning:
1. Pick two different types of meat that my family regularly consumes. It may be the type of meat that is currently selling for a good price at the supermarket that particular week.
2. Plan your meals weekly, biweekly or monthly, depending on how much you are going to be preparing for your freezer cooking. Try to pick certain veggies, cheese, beans or other ingredients that can be used in several dishes of your meal plan as to purchase in bulk and not waste food.
3. Purchase the ingredients including spices and marinades that you will need for your meals. Make sure you have enough containers to store all of your dishes.
4. Take one day or part of your cooking day to cut all vegetables/meat and cook any pasta or rice. Place them in the refrigerator to chill overnight or until cold. Take this chilling time to go over your inventory and meal plans one last time before the cooking begins. I would discourage freezing hot or warm dishes before chilling regardless of whether the meals are fully cooked or not. In my experience, the food is better kept if the frozen dishes were chilled before freezing.
5. At cooking time decide which food items you will cook and completely assemble versus the items you will add in on the day you will eat each particular dish. This would be a good time to assemble any crockpot meals that you will put together and not cook this day. Place the crockpot meals into plasticware or freezable bags until ready to cook and serve. For optimum storage I would suggest to lay the bags flat until frozen, label them with a freezer safe marker and stack them like books in a library.
6. Let the cooking begin! Fully cook any meats, assemble and cook your remaining dishes. After the meals have been chilled place each day’s dish in the freezer and freeze any leftover veggies in baggies that you may not use for awhile. Chili, soup, stew and casseroles are dishes regularly used for freezer cooking.
If you are up for the challenge I would suggest trying this for at least seven meals and use the meals throughout a two-week period to see how convenient this method is compared to cooking per day. Some benefits of freezer cooking are saving time, money and energy. Also consider that this method will result in eating out less thus potentially leading to a healthier lifestyle!