Dinner time is busier than ever. Between work, school, extracurricular activities and other obligations, finding time to cook a delicious and nutritious home-cooked meal isn’t easy. A small investment of time to do some freezer cooking can keep you out of the drive-through line which will make your wallet, waistline and family happy.
Freezer cooking is a simple concept. Set aside a little time to cook up some extra food that can be frozen and pull it out to enjoy when you need it. This can be done through a once a month cooking session or batch cooking.
With once a month cooking, pick a day or weekend to devote to prepping and cooking up a list of items to fill your freezer. Five or six hours of time devoted to cooking one day a month can free up much needed time in the weeks ahead.
With batch cooking you simply cook up extra of whatever you’re making on any given night and freeze the extra. Having spaghetti? Make a double batch of sauce and freeze the extra. Chili? Make double and freeze the extra. Over time those extra meals will add up and make meal prep and planning much easier. There will always be something to pull out for those nights you just don’t have time to cook.
You may be thinking you’re limited to eating mostly casseroles and soup from the freezer but there are a lot of foods that freeze well.
Breads like muffins, nut breads, scones, biscuits, rolls and pizza dough all freeze well. Bake up a batch of muffins, let them cool and pop them in the freezer for a quick grab and go breakfast. Freeze scones, biscuits and rolls before baking. Pull them out the night before you need them and let them thaw in the refrigerator. Bake and enjoy the next day.
Meats can be cooked ahead of time and portioned out for easy meal prep. Cook up large batches of meatballs and taco meat and divide into one meal portions to freeze. Roast or grill chicken and divide the meat into one meal portions that can be used for wraps, quesadillas, salads and more. Freeze uncooked meats in freezer bags or containers with marinade and pull them out on a night you want to grill.
Assemble dinner kits for grab and go meals. Portion out pizza dough, sauce, cheese and your favorite toppings make up a pizza kit. Marinated meats, chopped veggies and cooked rice can be assembled for a stir fry kit. Taco meat, beans, cooked rice and cheese can make up a burrito kit. Thaw, assemble and cook when you’re ready.
There are few limits on what you can freeze. Pick your family’s favorite meals and start adding them to your freezer through batch cooking or once a month cooking. Soon you’ll be enjoying delicious home-cooked meals with your family on those crazy busy nights when you didn’t think it would be possible.