A few years ago a new business opened in town and the premise of the business was that busy moms could come in, assemble pre-made ingredients into meals and then take those meals home to freeze them for dinners later in the week/month. I loved the idea but the cost was prohibitive so I started thinking about ways that I could do that at home without it costing me a ton of money and that is how I found out about freezer cooking or Make Ahead Freezer Meals.
Make Ahead Freezer Meals
It doesn’t always have to be full meals either. Chicken is very often a base for meals in our house and I always make sure that when I purchase chicken breast I make enough that I can freeze some shredded chicken. This chicken is then a great base for Pot Pies, Chicken Noodle Soup and other chicken based dinners.
Lots of moms do freezer cooking where you cook lots of meals all in one day and then freeze them, but lets be honest, I don’t have time to give up a whole day just to cook meals and I am willing to bet that you don’t either.
Sometimes I do plan ahead and make a few easy meals that I know my family loves and freeze them but more often than not I just make extras when cooking and then freeze the extras.
I do this for lots of meals, including breakfast. For instance I pre-make muffins and breakfast burritos so I always have a healthy and quick breakfast on hand. I also make cookies and freeze them so we always have a sweet treat on hand. Soups also freeze well when you don’t include noodles in them–in that case I just freeze the broth and veggies and then add the noodles when warming up later.
Every time I make meatballs I make extra and freeze the remaining food. If I am going to go through the trouble of making and rolling the meatballs why not make it worth my while and make 5-10 lbs of them at one time? I cook them as usual and then just let them cool and then pack them away in freezer safe bags.
I also make batches of sauce and freeze them the same way. That way when I need a quick and easy dinner I just need to pull the meatballs and sauce out of the freezer and we have a great, homemade meal in minutes!
Make Ahead Freezer Meals
Here are just some of the many foods I make and freeze and as I add more to my freezer I will update this list.
Chicken Noodle Soup — Note: I freeze this in pieces and then assemble it together while cooking.
Want to get started with Freezer Cooking?
These great books offer you some useful tips and great recipes: Make It Ahead: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, Don’t Panic – Dinner’s in the Freezer: Great-Tasting Meals You Can Make Ahead and Once-A-Month Cooking Family Favorites: More Great Recipes That Save You Time and Money from the Inventors of the Ultimate Do-Ahead Dinnertime Method.
Want to freeze your fruits and veggies?