Freezer Meals Plain and Simple
Freezer meals are a great resource to have on hand, no question. There will always be days in life when the unexpected happens, or life gets too busy for cooking. I especially liked to stock up on meals before having a baby. Creating a freezer meal plan is also great for when you have a big project to do and want to reduce time spent in the kitchen.
In my postpartum weeks, I just wanted to rest and enjoy that special time. I tried to plan life to allow for a healthy and pleasant time to enjoy the new baby, rest, and get my strength back. I learned with the first few of my babies that I needed to take better care of myself if I were to do a good job of taking care of my children. Our culture can do better at taking care of new mothers. You can help yourself out by preparing ahead, so you have less to do at the end of pregnancy and in the first weeks after baby.
Freezer meals are a great idea because they save time, save money, and are more intentionally healthy.
My special challenge with freezer meals was that I had children with a dairy allergy. Having to plan around that obstacle eliminated the option of any cheesy casserole-type meals. I created other strategies to stock up on freezer food that worked for my family’s specific needs.
Meat for a multitude of meals
The first and simplest thing to do is to cook meat ahead of time, and put it in freezer bags that are appropriately sized for your family. Meat is an excellent source of protein, which is essential for growing babies and children. Add one or two of these cook-ahead projects each week to build up your freezer stash. Doing this a little at a time will be easier on your finances and energy.
- Brown and drain bulk amounts of ground beef. Scoop the browned ground beef into freezer bags then label and freeze.
- Make batches of your favorite meatball recipe in bulk, cook. Then fill freezer bags, label and freeze. Alternatively, make meatloaf and put it in a disposable pan; then label and freeze.
- Buy chicken breasts in bulk and cook in the slow cooker all day; then cut or shred the chicken. Fill freezer bags then label and freeze.
- Brown stew meat in bulk. Fill freezer bags, label and freeze.
- Cook pork roasts in the slow cooker all day, and shred. Next, fill freezer bags- label and freeze.
- Buy beef roasts and cook in the slow cooker all day, slice or shred. Then fill freezer bags, label and freeze.
Do 1-2 of these ideas per week
- Get a turkey and roast it according to number of pounds. De-bone it and fill freezer bags, label and freeze.
- Buy a couple of whole chickens. Place in a large pot; adding celery, carrots, onions, and garlic. Then cover with water and cook until the meat pulls off of the bones. Let it cool, then pull the chickens out of the pot. De-bone the chickens and put the meat into freezer bags. Put the pot of liquid, bones and vegetables back on the stove and let simmer for several hours. Let it cool and then strain; put the broth into freezer containers. Next, discard the bones and vegetables. If you’re interested in learning how to make the most nourishing broth, get this book. A good broth is an excellent strategy for better healing.
- Grill chicken and steak. Slice or leave whole, then label and freeze.
With lots of prepared meat in the freezer, I had options for throwing together other meals even if it was a simple as build-your-own tacos or BBQ pork sandwiches.
Start with your family favorites and keep the ingredients in your pantry. Before having a baby, I planned a trip to Sam’s Club and stocked up on every pantry item I needed for our family favorite recipes.
Tips and Tricks to Freezer Meals
- Nearly all meals can be prepared ahead and frozen. One way to easily stock up on freezer meals is to double the amount of every dish you make, and freeze half of it. This saves you time and effort.
- Save your strength and don’t do too much freezer cooking in one day.
- Make your grocery list and be sure that you have all items for your freezer cooking project.
- If you see meat on sale, buy it in bulk. Meat will be the base of your freezer meals, so keep an eye on sales.
- Make a list of the meal options you have stored in your freezer and tape it to your fridge or inside a cupboard door.
- Freeze bags flat. Then stand them up like books.
- Get together with your sisters, mom, or friends to have a big day of freezer cooking. There are many tried and true freezer recipes on Pinterest.
- Do not cook noodles ahead and freeze, they will be mushy.
- Do not cook your vegetables ahead. It’s already simple to toss a bag of frozen vegetables into a big bowl, drizzle olive oil over and toss, sprinkle with salt and pepper and either roast in a hot oven or sauté on the stove.
- Don’t buy cheap freezer bags, they are prone to leak.
Food Ideas to get you Started:
Start with your family favorites. Don’t create stress for yourself with elaborate freezer meals that your family may not appreciate! Focus on comfort food.
- Make egg and bacon muffins or breakfast burritos; label and freeze.
- Take a day to make baked goods such as muffins, cookies, bread, pancakes, waffles. Put in freezer bags, label and freeze. Or- each time that you make baked goods, double the recipe and freeze half.
- Squash such as butternut, spaghetti, or acorn can be cooked ahead and put in freezer bags. Heat and serve with butter, salt and pepper. Use the spaghetti squash in lieu of pasta.
- Double the amount of rice or potatoes that you make for a meal and freeze the leftovers. Saves you time an effort.
For more inspiration, peruse the freezer section of your grocery store to get ideas of food that you can make ahead and freeze. It is much more affordable to create freezer meals yourself than to buy them already made.
Vacation, Stay-cation, Project Week
When we have planned a trip to a place where there was a kitchen, I saved time and money by planning and preparing every meal ahead, freezing them, packing them in a large cooler for the drive and heating them at our vacation spot. I made a mix of family favorite and more exotic new dishes for fun.
I’ve done the same thing when we have a Project Week planned, such as painting and redecorating a room or a week of sewing projects.
Are Freezer Meals a Part of Your Home Management Strategy?
By following these simple tips, you can get started using freezer meals as a part of your home management strategy! If you’re already a freezer meal pro- I hope you were able to pick up some new ideas and tips today. Feel free to drop a comment below with your own awesome freezer meal tips!
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