When I mention Freezer Cooking, do you wonder what I’m talking about? About two years ago my sister-in-law mentioned how she and a friend got together once a month to prepare about 20 different freezer meals in a two day process. She happily explained how it made putting healthy meals on the table for her family every night easy. Easy? Hmmm…I had to learn more about this concept for myself.
Freezer Cooking is simply preparing meals ahead of time and freezing them for later. You may have heard of franchises such as Supper Thyme USA and Dream Dinners where you can go and assemble a month’s worth of meals in just a few hours. These are great but you can do the same thing at home for a lot less money. Here’s how I got started – and sold – on the concept of freezer cooking.
I started by looking online at various web sites and purchasing a freezer cooking cookbook (all the ones at my library were always checked out). I selected a weekend day to try this freezer concept for myself and planned on preparing Lasagna and Manicotti. During the week, I wrote my grocery list and purchased all the ingredients I needed. Sunday afternoon came and I looked forward to spending some time in the kitchen. I started by making two pans of lasagna. The noodles didn’t need to be cooked so it was simply a matter of mixing some ingredients and assembling the lasagna. It took me 30 minutes to make one lasagna and a total of 45 minutes to make two lasagnas. I’d already saved time by making more than one lasagna at a time. The manicotti required a few more steps, but again I was pleased with the result as I looked at my 48 manicotti shells ready to be frozen and taken out on a busy night. I looked at my accomplishment and thought to myself, that was fun!
But the best part was still to come. I remember returning from a week long trip out of town. My husband wondered what we should do for dinner. We had to unpack and get ready for the work week. I said, “How about lasagna?” He looked impressed and said “Sure.” I pulled the lasagna out of the freezer and put it in the oven. Meanwhile, I accomplished everything I wanted to around the house as I enjoyed the smells of lasagna baking. After 1 ½ hrs of unattended cooking, I pulled out our hot lasagna and served it up with some frozen steamed broccoli. It was delicious!
For me, preparing enough meals for the month is not my style. I prefer making just a few freezer meals at a time – it keeps it fun for me. However you chose to use freezer cooking, the benefits are numerous:
- It’s healthier! Unlike the frozen meals you buy at the store, you control what goes into the meal.
- It saves you money! When time is tight, going out for dinner seems like the only solution. Having your own meal ready to pull out of the freezer is a big cost saver.
- It reduces stress! It’s reassuring to know you have healthy dinner options in your freezer that will take little effort to put on the table.
- Your family will be impressed! Whipping up home cooked meals with ease during the week is bound to impress.
- It makes you feel good! Providing your family with a healthy meal simply makes you feel good.
- It’s fun! I don’t find cooking fun when I’m racing around with a long list of “to do’s” to accomplish. But I do like cooking when I set aside time when it’s convenient for me to assemble a few freezer cooking dishes.
Coming next month…learn more about Making Healthy Eating a Reality by using your Slow Cooker.NOTE: Do not freeze meals with tomato products (i.e. tomato sauce, salsa, etc.) in metal pans or foil. The acid from the tomatoes will react with the pan or foil.