It's been a while since I wrote a blog post. I've known what I wanted my next subject to be, but I've been doing some research the past month or so, trying to formulate a plan that will work for us. This will be a series of posts-this first one will deal with the basics (followed later by the shopping trip and cooking day posts).
I've read numerous blogs, books, and talked to several people about freezer cooking. I made an attempt at it once before, but it wasn't entirely successful. Hopefully I've refined my knowledge on the subject so that I can make this a monthly staple. Some things I've read suggest cooking the entire month's worth of meals (30 meals) to put in the freezer. That isn't a good option for us because it calls for lots of repeat meals, and very precise shopping. However, I've decided to cook 14 meals, to use at our discretion throughout the month.
Why cook ahead? Well...there are a lot of good reasons.
*Saves cooking and cleaning time during the week! Can you imagine a whole week where you never have to clean up cooking utensils? It also prevents that rush during busy nights. Just grab a meal out of the freezer and pop in the oven!
*It's a portion control device. A lot of items I make (specifically pastas and casseroles), make WAY more food than we need for the meal and a day of leftovers. We end up grossly overeating and still throwing away food. So, it's just as easy to make the same amount on cooking day, but separate it into two freezer containers. Voila! Two meals ready to go. And, should you need an extra meal to take to a sick friend or have unexpected company, you are no worse for wear.
*It's money saving. Planning ahead, freezing meals, and having easy to prepare side dishes makes for quick meals. You can control your impulse spending on fast food and eating out this way. Also, the planning portion allows for a chance to implement coupons and other seasonal deals.
Don't have a big freezer? No problem! You can freeze meals flat, in zip-top bags and stack them (a dozen meals takes up only half of a traditional top of fridge freezer)...they do require more prep time when you plan to eat them, but more on that later. I DO recommend getting a deep freeze if you have space (even a garage, laundry room, or corner of a kitchen are good options) because they allow for bulk purchases. Even consider sharing a deep freeze with a friend who has space for one (Maybe they can even exchange a couple of ready-to-eat meals for your freezer space!)
How do you cook for a day with kids under foot? Hire a sitter, send them out with dad, or find a friend who will exchange watching them for food or their own cooking day.
So that's the basics. On the next post, I'll include the meal plan and shopping list. After that, I'll post with actual shopping and cooking days. I'd love for some people to try out this with me!!