What if I told you that you could be like one of those once a month cooking super moms and have a freezer full of dinners without the major once a month cooking spree?
What if I told you that it’s easier than you think?
Here’s the deal: I love the concept of freezer cooking. How often are we super busy, or just don’t feel like cooking, and need a quick meal? I love the idea of pulling a frozen dinner out of my freezer and feeding my family something healthy with minimal effort.
The problem is, I don’t have a whole day to devote to freezer cooking. I don’t even think I could manage a half day with all of these kiddos, work, and homeschool. Not to mention the shopping, prep, and calculations.
So here’s my secret (feel free to “duh” me if you already do this): I make three dinners at once. I’ve mentioned this briefly before, but the simplest and easiest way for me to fill my freezer is to make three dinners at night instead of one.
For example, last week I noticed that my freezer was getting empty, and I knew that we had a slow week planned (well…slower). So every dinner I made last week was made in triple portions. We ate one, and froze the other two. By Saturday night I had fourteen meals in my freezer. At the end of this week, I’ll have 28 total…not to mention the extra sides I’ve made (quinoa and brown rice). Plus, I always batch cook chicken breasts and thighs at the beginning of the week to use for lunches, so it’s pretty easy to find something to eat when we are in a hurry!
Cooking this way saves so much time and energy. It may take an extra five minutes (if, for example, you’re grating cheese or use extra dishes), but on most nights it takes no time at all to throw the other two portions in a freezable bag or dish and put them in the freezer.
Here’s what I made:
Sunday: Mexican chicken thighs (S) I mixed up a triple batch of the marinade and froze two of the portions in gallon-sized freezer bags.
Monday: Chicken Enchilada Casserole (S)
Tuesday: Pizza Casserole from Trim Healthy Mama (plus made extra pizza sauce and froze) (S)
Wednesday: Tacos with homemade taco seasoning (I made four pounds of ground beef and portioned some for tacos, and some for spaghetti sauce) (S)
Thursday: Korean Beef – I sub Just Like Brown Sugar for brown sugar (it seems expensive, but one bag lasts a loooooong time, plus you can use it to make my favorite low-carb chocolate chip cookie!) and Liqiuid Aminos for soy sauce to taste, if you avoid soy), to serve with salad (not rice for THMs, but I served rice to the kids) (S)
Friday: Chipotle Meatballs (S) & sweetened oopsie rolls for dessert from THM (my favorite way to do this is to follow the directions for oopsie roll eclairs but don’t add the chocolate. I eat them with fresh whipped cream and berries).
Saturday: White Chicken Chili (E) (I add an extra can or two of beans to feed more of us)
It was SO EASY. And when I made rice for the kids, I made a ton extra and froze that, too. I know there are a lot of “S” meals, but I had several “E” lunches this week so I thought it worked. I even froze two batches of the oopsie roll eclairs from Friday, and they’ve tasted just as good frozen and thawed!
Here’s a printable Freezer Inventory Printable that I made. It’s pretty simple, but it helps me keep a visual of what’s in my freezer.
Is there anything you make ahead and freeze? How do you save time in the kitchen?
Linked up at: Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers, and LivingWellSpendingLess