So, in Blueberry Theory, I told ya’ll that I am a huge supporter of freezer cooking. When I say it saves my life, I mean it. Freezer cooking allows me to have healthy meals on hand every day of the week, regardless of our family schedule, my work schedule or how much energy I have. And since my tendency is to comfort myself with food, I will often take the easiest road to get to that comfort. By setting myself up with those healthy meals, I also allow myself to be emotionally healthier. Take this scripture in 2 Timothy. Be prepared. Prepare your heart, prepare your spirit. I believe that a little organization in other areas allows us to spend time doing so. Freezer cooking has also allowed us to be more generous and support folks in our community that are having a tough time or expecting a child. It has been a true blessing to be able to bless others in this way.
Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction.
— 2 Timothy 4:2
Freezer cooking is great no matter how many are in your household–even if it’s only 1 or 2. The leftovers become lunch to take to work. The goal of freezer cooking is to prepare meals that will need very little effort the day that they are to be eaten. Meaning that you can either put them in the slow cooker, or put them in the oven. Some of the recipes I’ll share with you will use raw ingredients and some will have a little cooking to them—but what they have in common is that they are all simple, healthy and delicious!
In this post, I will share some of the tools you need in order to set yourself up for success on your chosen freezer cooking day. It is best to go ahead and gather any of the big things you need ahead of time, while some of the paper products can be added to your shopping trip.
You will need additional freezer space. One freezer is not enough. Either an additional refrigerator or a deep freeze will be necessary. We found our deep freezer at Roecker & Berger. It was a scratch and dent floor model that we got a great discount on because of minor cosmetic damage. It’s a smaller deep freeze, but is still plenty of room for 30 day supplies.
Ipod, MP3 player (make a playlist of your face music–choose songs that pump you up! See some suggestions on my Music page here.)
Costco or Sam’s membership. I highly recommend this–mostly for the meat prices and bulk veggie prices. Sometimes you can get a better deal at Kroger, but most the time the price per pound on the meat is far better at these stores. A basic Costco membership costs about $60 for the year.
Recipes. Decide how long of a period you want to make meals for. I usually try to put together at least 3 weeks worth of meals or more. I will be sharing some of my favorites in this post as well.
Kitchen Supplies. Do you have a good knife set? We prefer the Wusthof Grand Prix II set, but if yours are sharp and comfortable for you to use that’s all that matters. Take a look through the recipes you choose. Do you need muffin tins? If so, how many in order to ensure efficiency? Do you need any other specialty tools?
Paper products/supplies. You will need the following:
Ziploc freezer bags in gallon and quart sizes (and/or a food saver and bags)
Parchment paper (not to be confused with wax paper)
9 x 13 Disposable Aluminum pans (I get these from Costco also–waaaaay cheaper than buying them at the regular grocery)
Sharpie marker (go name brand on this one)
Once you have all of your supplies, you’ll need to select what recipes you’ll be making, and how many batches of each you’d like to make. Once you’ve done this, you’ll be able to move on to part 2 of this series with me. There are links to several great recipe lists below…choose wisely! Also, Google searches of freezer meal recipes will yield great results as well. 🙂 See you in Part 2!
- Freezer Breakfast Sandwiches http://jessfuel.com/2013/05/08/freezer-breakfast-sandwiches/
- Breakfast Burritos http://newleafwellness.biz/2013/06/18/freezer-to-microwave-breakfast-burritos/
- Lasagna Rollups http://newleafwellness.biz/2013/10/28/freezer-friendly-lasagna-roll-recipe/
- Cheesy Chicken and Black bean Enchiladas (Hubbies Fave–I make the most of these) http://thrivinghomeblog.com/2009/11/cheesy-chicken-and-black-bean-enchiladas/
- Mexican Stuffed Shells (One of my faves!) http://lmld.org/2014/01/13/mexican-stuffed-shells/
Some of my other faves include my mom’s meatloaf recipe (that can be done in the crockpot), and a Lasagna recipe that uses eggplant instead of pasta. In the next part, I will show you how ANY recipe can be modified for the freezer, so choose what you like!