How To Succeed At Freezer Cooking: The Gory DetailsJan 10th

Well, I have learned yet another thing about freezer cooking.

Once you commit to the freezing endeavor (read: buy ingredients) you’re stuck with two choices, wait, three.

a.) You can actually follow through and do what you set out to do in the first place: cook/assemble freezer meals.

b.) You can shove as much meat as possible into the freezer and hope/wish that the abundance of produce gets eaten in the first week. You can also take up canning. But that seems a bit much after this whole freezer thing.

There’s also the slight chance that your husband will get really enthusiastic about bbqing said meat over the next month. Kind of genius, yes? How come there isn’t some great big pin board for ways to get your husband to cook?

Guys, I will take on this noble task in the future. You have my word. But not right now, I’m a little busy figuring out this freezer conundrum.

c.) You can throw a huge party and eat all the food you bought for one month and hope/wish/guilt your friends into feeding your family for the rest of the month. I’m fairly certain this would be the most fun and exciting choice.

But what did I do? I took the road less traveled and it has made all the difference. You see, no matter how much I wash my hands they still smell like onion and garlic.

how to freezer cook

 

Yep, I went with option a.) Except I haven’t finished the entire project. There’s a part of me that is holding out for the bbq and party alternative…

Even though I had the most horrific mess and no idea how to fit everything in my fridge and cupboards, I HAD to deal with it. A month’s worth of groceries bought at the beginning of the month is some risky business. For me, anyway.

Remember how I said that last year I sucked at cooking? And remember even further back, once upon a time, in a far away land where I sort of had my stuff together—I—gulp, couponed? I can hardly believe it myself, but it’s true.

There was a time when I had something called a stockpile. There was a time when my cupboards had something called “staples” permanently housed within their shelves.

That time is no more. It vanished one day with the mist, or the second child, take your pick. The only constants in my pantry are the three cans of water chestnuts that have been with me all year. Mysterious critters, water chestnuts. I cannot, for the life of me, figure out what I bought them for.

Back to the groceries for a month and a stockpile. I bought SO many groceries the other day simply because I had NO stockpile to pull from. I had to buy things like sesame oil and worcestershire sauce. Who DOESN’T have worcestershire sauce? Who DOES know how to pronounce it? Not I.

Sigh.

Many of you lovely readers told me I had started way too big and bold. After unloading all those groceries, I agreed with you. Why not start small with like, say ONE freezer meal a week, rather than a whole month’s worth? I’m not a “go big or go home” sort of gal. I’ve never claimed to be anyways. But for this to be worth it I needed it to be big. I want a month’s worth of food in my freezer and a month’s worth of gloating rights.

So. I bit the bullet and plowed through. I got through all but two meals and I figure that since I have the ingredients it’s not like I “failed” at preparing those meals. Here’s how a month’s worth of meals are in my freezer:

1.) I planned 15 meals that can be served twice. I also plan to maybe eat out once or twice. I’m still open to cereal, too, if the mood strikes.

2.) I planned several recipes that can be used in more than one way. For example, I made up this really bomb beef and black bean mix that can be used in burritos, tacos, taco salad, or nachos. Goshdangit. Mexican food is SO versatile, huh? Love it. I will be posting this recipe because it is really very yummy. I made extra of this and put 3/4 cup servings in baggies so that my hubs could have lunches already prepared.

He kinda thinks I’m a goddess now.

3.) I froze everything FLAT. That’s the biggest factor for space saving. I used high quality Ziplock bags and made sure to get as much air out of them as possible by sticking a straw in the corner of the bag and sucking out excess air and then burping.

Kidding.

Just seeing if you were still paying attention now that I got all Martha-ish on you. But really, I did try to get the air out and freeze them flat. Then, for space sake (and bragging rights) I lined them up library style. I plan on swinging the doors open and thumbing through them like books when company’s over.

freezer cooking

Now, this enterprise took some sweet time. Here’s the breakdown:

  • 1 day for planning meals, grocery list making, and shopping.
  • 3 hours assembling half the meals. {Entailed chopping veggies, preparing meat, mixing stuff, and writing instructions on bags}
  • 2-3 hours to assemble the other half and clean up.

I didn’t do all the cooking in one day. I broke it up into two evenings after the kids went to bed. Ain’t no way I was having “little helpers” for this project. I still have two meals I didn’t prepare–but like I said, I have all the stuff so I will throw it together old school style when we feel like eating them.

Guys, I think this might be worth the time, mess, and hassle. I’ll see what I say at the end of the month, but right now I’m feeling pretty snazzy.

Wanna know what our meal plan was and what recipes I used? I will only post this if enough of you ask for it. I don’t want to bore you guys with stuff you’re not interested in, but if you genuinely want to know I’ll be happy to share :)

What do you think? Are you wanting to try out this freezer thing?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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26 Responses to How To Succeed At Freezer Cooking: The Gory DetailsJan 10th

  1. Caitlin MidAtlantic January 10, 2013 at 11:54 am #

    Yes! Please post which meals you made with recipes!!!

    • hillary January 11, 2013 at 3:41 am #

      Ok, that will be coming out next week sometime :)

  2. Natalia January 10, 2013 at 1:00 pm #

    I’d like to see the meals & recipes! I have thought about doing this but never got up the guts.I’ll wait to see how yours goes… :)

    • hillary January 11, 2013 at 3:42 am #

      Hahaha. Well, with your freezer space it might not be worth it. But when youre back in the states it might be a good thing to try. I’m feeling pretty good about now that all the hard work is done.

  3. Amanda January 10, 2013 at 1:20 pm #

    Hello Hill, I just found your blog and I have been lurking through past posts, I love your writing.
    Because you asked, know that I would be interested in the recipes and planning.
    In the past I have made bolognaise sauce and froze it in 2-person portions for easy meals. I am thinking spinach-ricotta lasagne filling might also work.
    I am Mexican, you are so right about the versatility of our cuisine: you just take any filling and stuff it in a corn-made vessel (tortilla, gordita, tlacoyo, tostada, nacho, totopo, tamal) and proceed to enjoy it.
    BTW I saw your video, we are also hoping for a 1st baby this year. I hope it will happen soon for you as well.

    • hillary January 11, 2013 at 3:43 am #

      Ooooh! I am so going to try the spinach ricotta filling!! Genius. So glad you enjoy the blog. I’ll be posting those recipes next week :)

  4. Kim@Co-Pilot Mom January 10, 2013 at 3:50 pm #

    That is awesome! Your freezer is so organized! And I would be flipping through the meals like a librarian, too. I would love to see your plan and recipes. (That black bean and beef one sounds delish.)

  5. melzie January 10, 2013 at 5:27 pm #

    yes please post :)

  6. alison January 10, 2013 at 6:49 pm #

    I want the details too! Good Job wonder woman!

  7. Tonya January 10, 2013 at 10:22 pm #

    I would love to hear what you made. I am starting to stock up my freezer before my baby is born (9 weeks to go!) So far I’ve only made chicken enchiladas, which work really well.

    • hillary January 11, 2013 at 3:38 am #

      Oh my! Congrats! Ok, well I will be posting those shortly. Chicken enchiladas always hold up really well in the freezer. I’ll probably post them next week!

  8. Shell January 10, 2013 at 10:54 pm #

    I really do want to try it but it seems like so much to do a whole month in one swoop!

    • hillary January 11, 2013 at 3:37 am #

      I know it sounds crazy, but two days of hard work and a whole month of smooth sailing is a pretty good exchange. Like tonight, I just thawed the spaghetti sauce and boiled some noodles. Took about ten minutes.

  9. Sarah January 11, 2013 at 1:08 am #

    Look at you! You did much better than I! I’d love to see the recipes you made.

  10. Susan in the Boonies January 11, 2013 at 3:42 am #

    There is NO WAY I would ever do this.
    I get tired of thinking of one or two freezer meals!
    But I sure am proud of you!
    You young whippersnappers have so much energy. 😀

    • hillary January 11, 2013 at 9:39 pm #

      Hahha! It was worth it just to be called a whippersnapper :)

  11. Jessica January 11, 2013 at 11:53 am #

    Oooh, look at you. I really want to do this some time but I’m so bad at the whole planning/organizing part and whenever I make new things they never actually taste good. You will have to update us on how everything tastes.

    • hillary January 11, 2013 at 9:37 pm #

      So far the few meals we’ve eaten have been really good and there are plenty of leftovers for lunches. Win, win.

  12. Chris Carter January 11, 2013 at 4:02 pm #

    I can’t tell you how much fun it is to read your posts!!! I just love your wit and humor so much…it makes me want to hang with you and laugh all day at each other!!! I would LOVE LOVE all the info about these freezer meals…. I AM YOU when it comes to meal planning and dinners… I. NEED. HELP. S.O.S. 😉

    • hillary January 11, 2013 at 9:37 pm #

      Yay! I’m glad you enjoy them! I will be updating next week with recipes :)

  13. Sarah Bowling January 12, 2013 at 6:35 pm #

    Every other freezer meals post I read is food my family won’t eat… I would love to see your recipes!

  14. Autumn Stensen January 13, 2013 at 7:28 pm #

    Yes, please post. What do you think about doing this with a friend? Spending a Saturday prepping and preparing and then splitting the bounty.

    • hillary January 14, 2013 at 7:23 am #

      Absolutely! I think that would be a fantastic way to accomplish it–and fun, too!

  15. Margo Hayes January 14, 2013 at 12:52 am #

    Oh Hill – good for you! I did that too early on -only then the cool thing was “Make a Mix”. So I made the base of the meal, like chile verde, in humungous quanitites – froze it – and then made “different” things with it, kind of like Taco Bell makes 20 different entries out of the same ingredients:) Loved the part about sucking the air out and then burping – and don’t try to tell everyone you were just kidding:)

  16. Charlotte April 21, 2013 at 1:20 pm #

    The shire is mostly left off the end of the pronunciation, so you say Worcester sauce, which is pronounced wuss-ter. Like Leicester being pronounced less-ter (not lye-cester), generally those Cester endings are mangled and shortened somewhat by us Brits!

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