Freezer Cooking: What You Need To Know Before You StartJan 07th

This year is all about being productive. Not reproductive. The ol’ husband nixed that idea.

But if I can’t have a bun in the oven, I might as well have a month’s worth of food in the freezer, right?

Yes, I know somewhere I skipped a beat but its just too hard to go back and figure out where it all fell apart. Or came together.

All you need to know is that Pinterest is to blame. It always is.

I got to thinking about it and realized that last year I really sucked at cooking. The few times I did cook, it didn’t suck. But then I just never cooked. And that sucked. There was much cereal. Much pizza. And many last minute trips to the grocery store for rotisserie chicken and bagged salad. The fact that I felt really good about myself after the chicken and salad dinner just goes to show how pathetically far I’d fallen out with my kitchen.

So this year, I decided to shake it up a bit. Or a lot.

I realized I hate being in the kitchen (unless it’s for baking cookies, or I’m sitting at the table while someone else cooks. Then I don’t hate it). I realized that I need to minimize the time I spend in the kitchen. But we still have to eat, so the minimal time I spend ought to be maximized in productivity. Mind. Blown.

Enter Pinterest and freezer cooking.

Hmmm. So apparently there’s a bunch of women out there with freezers full of prepared meals. Not nasty tv dinner meals. REAL meals just waiting to be popped in a crockpot or oven. Imagine. A month’s worth of home-cooked dinners waiting in the fridge.

I’m fairly certain that if I didn’t have to worry about dinner every day that I would take over the world. Not making any promises, but I think it could happen.

Except it won’t. Because I’m scared to death of this freezer cooking thingamajig. Here’s the scoop:

I did the reconnaissance. I scoured through a million and two pins on Pinterest. Yes, even the most evil 404 redirects. I, gasp, had to even “Google” some of my search for freezer meals. I made my menu for the month. I wrote my detailed list. Aye, down to the last bottle of red wine vinegar and refill bag of herb de provence.

I’ll admit, I felt a cold tingle of power course through my wrists as I held the master list in one hand and pushed a full cart with the other. My husband trailed behind with ANOTHER full cart. Muahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!

For the duration of the ride home I whooped and gloated. Checking off my ingredients with a scrolled flourish.

And then we came home and unloaded it all.

And that’s where everything went wrong. It was all well and good when things were parceled away in their little bags. But as we removed each item from its bag, everything got real crowded real fast.

No one showed me this part on Pinterest. No, no, no. On Pinterest, the meat was cubed, the vegetables chopped, and four hundred cans of tomatoes were lined up in alphabetical order. Figure THAT one out. I saw pictures of kids helping their moms with the prep work. Yes, I was under the impression that there could be some parent-child bonding with my cooking enterprise.

I know the freezer moms of Pinterest lore MUST have unloaded groceries at some point, but surely they had a method to their madness. There’s got to be something I missed. Because my kitchen looked so very un-Pinteresty.

So I made chocolate chip cookies, ate some dough, and started to feel more confident about this whole freezer enterprise.

Then I succumbed to the premiere of Downton Abbey and ate too many cookies. Of course I was bloated and miserable afterwards. What, oh what, will happen to Downton? Will Matthew give away Lavinia’s money to save the estate???

I turned to my kitchen and changed my tune to, “Who, oh who will put away my groceries? Wherefore art thou freezer chef? Whence shalt thou replenish my fridge and cleanse my kitchen?”

Panic causes me to lapse into Shakespearean. Apologies.

So…this is what my kitchen looked like. As you can see, nothing chopped. No alphabetized tomatoes. No smiling toddler.

Just me and my disgusting kitchen. Oh, and some cookies. Hairy cookies.

Tomorrow I will try again. I will try to do more than procrastinate by eating cookies and blogging. Oh, I will blog. I will let you see if there is progress to be had. But consider this the missing “pin” in all those inspirational freezer-cooking-pins.

 

So, speaking of Pinterest, you should totes follow me over there ;) And, I am really gonna be talking up this freezer stuff on Facebook so why not like my page and keep up over there too?

37 Responses to Freezer Cooking: What You Need To Know Before You StartJan 07th

  1. Student Mom (Jenn) January 7, 2013 at 11:27 am #

    Oh good lordie. I know that feeling. I then reduced my list to a weekly shop… and then I had all these things in the cupboards that I never used because I’m not very list friendly and only made 3/7 planned meals.

    • hillary January 7, 2013 at 6:26 pm #

      Yah, that’s what happened last year. I still have some random stuff in my cupboard from my “menus” last year…

  2. Kim@Co-Pilot Mom January 7, 2013 at 1:01 pm #

    This is very good to know. My kitchen feels a little overwhelmed unpacking one week’s worth of groceries, let alone freezer cooking for a month. Eeek! I have always been curious about it – it sounds amazing, right? Looking forward to seeing your further adventures!

    • hillary January 7, 2013 at 6:25 pm #

      Ugh. Now I have to finish what I started. Perhaps this will be the only month I cook all year.

  3. Sarah January 7, 2013 at 2:55 pm #

    Okay, I have to tell you– I’ve done the whole month-long overload thing, and failed. Miserably.

    This is how I overcame it: First, you have to start with one or two meals at a time (either with freezer cooking or cooking in bulk– which I prefer). I started with things like snacks and breakfast. I love making granola and breakfast burritos (only takes a couple hours each and you have breakfast for the next few weeks). Once you have this down, you work your way up– and I’ve found the best way to do that is to double things– so, if I’m making something in the crock pot on Saturday, I buy double, do the prep work, and place one meal in the crock pot and one meal in the freezer to throw in the crock pot a couple of weeks later. Then you can work your way up even more– instead of J making pasta sauce for one or two nights, he makes five or six pints, and we have pasta sauce in the freezer for five more meals. If you do this once or twice a week, you’ll soon have a whole battery of quick meals in the freezer!

    Also, invest in some really good Rubbermaid/Tupperware dishes, and even some 8×8 and 9×13 pans with heavy duty rubber lids. That way, if you make a lasagna, let’s say, you can double, make two, and stick one in the freezer for next month.

    I hope this doesn’t sound preachy (I don’t mean it to sound that way) but working my way up was so much better for me. And meant only one or two extra bags from the store!

    • hillary January 7, 2013 at 6:17 pm #

      You are SO smart. I know this is what I should have done. I HAVE to put it all together now, or else the foods going to go to waste. Ugh. I got way in over my head!

  4. Amanda Nelson January 7, 2013 at 5:05 pm #

    Haha. I was laughing through this entire post. I want to make a bunch of freezer meals too. But I currently have one very tiny freezer. So I am saving my pennies for a chest freezer first.

  5. Janis January 7, 2013 at 6:47 pm #

    I cant plan that far ahead.. I am sure i would have them all in the freezer and then never “feel like” eating that for dinner. I can plan a hap hazard week at a time and that often goes astray.. ecspecially Friday Saturday and Sunday.. when i not only do not want to cook.. i want to eat out or at the very least be waited on.. lol..
    good luck!!!!

  6. Jen at PIWTPITT.com January 7, 2013 at 6:58 pm #

    OK, so this makes me feel so much better. I have several friends who get together once a month and prepare freezer meals together at someone’s house. I hear the stories of how much fun they have doing it together and how great it feels each night to open the door and know dinner is done and so I think, I should join in. I have a deep freeze and a Costco and Sam’s Club membership. Let’s do this! And then I read this and I know I can never. I barely like to prep ONE meal at a time, let alone 30! I don’t even think my freezer COULD hold 30 meals – that’s a lot. Ugh. I’m going to stick with the rotisserie chicken plan.

    • hillary January 8, 2013 at 5:03 am #

      Yah. I got way in over my head. Want to do me a favor and just punch me in the throat?

  7. Ginger Kay January 7, 2013 at 7:02 pm #

    Before I retired from homeschooling, I spent over a decade hearing about once a month cooking. I used not having a spare freezer as a polite excuse as to why I was not interested in being a kitchen slave for two days each month. And a planning slave for another two. And a shopping slave for one. I’d rather spread out that misery, and take it in a small, daily dose. But I blamed in on the freezer space.

    But I hope it works for you.

    • hillary January 8, 2013 at 5:04 am #

      Ugh. Seriously. I am now a slave to all the groceries I bought. I have to cook it up or it’ll be a huge waste of money.

  8. Jessica January 7, 2013 at 8:17 pm #

    You are so funny and I feel much better after reading this. I would be in the same boat if I decided to take on freezer cooking. Or I would have already made something, not followed the directions and ordered pizza.

  9. Adrienne January 7, 2013 at 8:52 pm #

    Oh my goodness! This is hilarious! So true, too. We can’t trust pinterest to ever give us the whole story.

  10. Natalia January 7, 2013 at 9:43 pm #

    You’re hilarious! I always think about doing it then never get around to it. At least you’re half way there, right? You got all the stuff! My freezer this year is the size of a vegetable drawer, so that’s out for me! Good luck lady! Let’s chat soon!

  11. jennyonthespot January 7, 2013 at 11:52 pm #

    A woman after my own heart… *shoves another cookie in the pie hole*

    • hillary January 8, 2013 at 5:01 am #

      See? Told ya.

  12. misssrobin January 8, 2013 at 4:03 am #

    I have a friend who does this. She is amazing! I’m pretty sure she’s actually an alien.

    I have five kids, 14-22, and a husband. They each cook dinner one night a week. Friday is fend for yourself. I don’t cook dinner anymore. I ask them what they are going to make the next week, write up the dinner menu and post it to the fridge, and write out a shopping list. Then my husband does the shopping for the week, usually with one of the kids. All of this is because I have chronic fatigue and a chronic headache and my family actually likes to have food in the house. It works for us.

    Freezer cooking a month’s worth of meals? That will never, ever happen in my life. But I wish you tons of luck and success as you attempt it. You’re young and probably have energy. You can do it. I believe in you. And all that other good luck stuff.

    Stopping by from SITS.

    • hillary January 8, 2013 at 4:45 am #

      I don’t know if I have that much energy. I am just hoping that it will alleviate the annoyance of cooking all month long. We shall see…

  13. frugalistablog January 8, 2013 at 5:19 am #

    Please tell me someone helped you put them away today. And I haven’t finished watching last night’s Downton Abbey I recorded on my DvR, can’t wait!
    Thank you for being adorable and down right loveable.

    • hillary January 9, 2013 at 9:51 am #

      You’re very welcome for being adorable. Glad I could do that for ya ;) Yes, the old husband helped me put them away. And actually almost all the meals are done! That’s another blog post for another day :)

  14. Chris Carter January 8, 2013 at 6:45 am #

    You are so darn funny and adorable to boot!! I am the SAME with cooking!!!! I hate it. I fail miserably at doing it and occasionally get a good “home cooked” meal on the table once a week if I am a good home-making queen that I am! Oh yes… the rotisserie chicken has been picked up so many times!!! And pizza… HA! I will be watching to see what happens with this frozen crap… Can’t wait to watch it unfold!!!! GOOD LUCK! :)

    • hillary January 9, 2013 at 9:52 am #

      Yes, there really is nothing wrong with a rotisserie chicken. Such a versatile little grocery. I’ll be updating soon with my progress–I actually have good things to report!

  15. Keely January 8, 2013 at 3:31 pm #

    Oh, darlin’…your sentence about the bun in the oven should be framed. Or stitched on a sampler. But not by me- I’m too busy shoving irregularly sized things into my OWN cabinets and freezers. (Keep fighting the good fight!

    • hillary January 9, 2013 at 9:53 am #

      That would make a good sampler. Alas, I don’t know how to do that either.

  16. JDaniel4's Mom January 9, 2013 at 2:39 pm #

    My kitchen and pantry are tiny. They barely hold a weeks worth of groceries. I have know ideas what I would do with a months. I think I would rather watch Downton Abbey then think about it.

    • hillary January 10, 2013 at 3:07 am #

      I know…pretty crazy. And yes, I would always choose Downton over anything ;)

  17. Kim January 10, 2013 at 1:17 pm #

    Oh, what we really see when we throw the curtain back on Pinterest, a la Wizard of Oz. Your kitchen looks like mine would if I had brought all that home. Yikes. My sympathies!

    An in-between solution I have been using is to have cooked ingredients ready to go in the fridge. I learned this from Mel on her paleo food blog Clothes Make the Girl (I know-there’s a story behind the name. She’s the author of Well Fed.) I will sauté and/or grill meat, cook veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, whatever trips your tastebuds), shred & cut lots of veggies, and store them in the fridge. Then I can just throw together a meal from the cooked ingredients in a short amount of time. You can find her here: http://www.theclothesmakethegirl.com/2010/01/14/paleo-kitchen-the-method-behind-my-madness/

    Good luck with your cooking. If I lived closer, I’d come over and help you finish off those cookies-ooops, I mean that cooking. :-)

  18. Laryssa January 10, 2013 at 9:02 pm #

    I laugh every time I come to your blog, which is why I keep coming back. Thank you for letting us all know we are not alone in the overwhelmingness of life – in this case freezer meals. I’ve been shying away from them because my vision of exactly this happening to me. And I will continue to shy away.

    • hillary January 11, 2013 at 3:39 am #

      Ha! Glad to give you a laugh :) But you need to read the other post to see how it turned out. I actually made it through a bunch of meals and now I’m feeling all proud of myself. But don’t worry. Disaster follows wherever I go ;)

  19. Sarah January 12, 2013 at 1:52 am #

    This is hilarious! I stopped pinteresting a while back because everything I tried from there turned out like a terrible half-ass project, even though it was a full kick-in-the-ass of an attempt. I’m looking forward to your post on freezer cooking, and will be looking for recommendations. I’m starting my own 2013 resolution in the kithchen – $100 a week for all of our life expenses (groceries, gas, hygiene, etc) and homecooked meals 6 out of 7 nights of the week. I’m blogging about it at http://www.allsarahskitchen.blogspot.com. Good luck with your resolution – you can do it! Practice and cookies – guaranteed success.

    • hillary January 12, 2013 at 7:24 am #

      Wow! You are more ambitious than I! $100 a week is pretty impressive. Are you couponing too?

  20. Jeanne January 12, 2013 at 6:26 pm #

    I will definitely have to follow! We’ve been doing way too much fast food lately. Although I don’t mind cooking, I’ve become quite lazy in the kitchen these days.

  21. Holly Lefevre January 17, 2013 at 6:41 am #

    I cannot believe it tastes good…I just cannot. I’ll take your hairy cookie..thanks!

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