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Freezer Cooking: How to Save Time and Money on Meals

Joanie.Demer

I’m a busy person. Spending all of my time in a kitchen cooking breakfast, lunch, and dinner isn’t what I have in mind after I’ve been a student/wife/mom all day long. I started to look for alternatives when I realized my husband was cooking dinner four times a week on top of his full time job. I learned about several methods, but the one that I fell in love with was freezer cooking.

What It Is

Freezer cooking is exactly what it sounds like. Twice a month I take some of our family’s favorite recipes and spend all day cooking them.  I divide them into one-dinner portions for my family and freeze them. It’s as simple as that. When we decide to eat a particular meal, I set it in the fridge the night before, and then defrost/microwave it the next night. The best part about this is being able to make 2-3 hour meals in 30 minutes or less.

Not only am I saving on time, but I’m saving money. My family is also eating a lot healthier.  Before I found out about freezer cooking, we would be so tired from our busy days that we ended up eating out on a regular basis. Now if we’re running late, we just pop a dinner in the microwave, and it’s ready in a few minutes.

What To Make

I’m sure you’re wondering what kind of meals work with freezer cooking.  I’ve been freezer cooking for a good six months, and I haven’t had an issue with any meal yet. We eat a lot of chicken and hamburger in our home because my husband is allergic to most fruits and vegetables. Chicken is always on sale at my Walmart for $1.97/ lb or less, and I buy our hamburger meat in bulk for around $2.00/ lb.

I’ve found that freezing the meats in whatever meal I’m making works just fine. For example, Italian Chicken, BBQ Chicken, Taco Bake, Cheeseburger Meatloaf, Chicken Lasagna, Vegetable Soups, Stuffed Shells, or Lasagna Casseroles all taste the same. I also make Chocolate Chip Baked Oatmeal, Chocolate Banana Bread, Blueberry Muffins, and even Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Waffles.  We can all have a decent breakfast without waking up super early. I make cookies and freeze those too.  I always have dessert ready!

Time It Takes

People ask me if spending up to 8 hours at a time in the kitchen is worth it.  I have to say, I will never go back to the old way. I’m spending a maximum of 16 hours in the kitchen once a month instead of the 60 hours I was before. I don’t spend as much time doing dishes and cleaning up the kitchen, I’m not running out to get takeout last minute, and I’m planning our meals two weeks ahead of time. Freezer cooking has been a lifesaver for my family, and it’s taken a few inches off my waist too. I see everything that goes into our meals and can cut out what I think is unnecessary.

If you’re interested in freezer cooking, a simple search on the Internet will give you hundreds of recipes in seconds. If you want to try something out now, here’s my family’s favorite recipe for Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Waffles:

  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 ¾ cups milk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup chocolate chip chips

Preheat waffle iron. Beat eggs in a large bowl with hand beater until fluffy. Beat in flour, milk, vegetable oil, sugar, baking powder, salt, and vanilla just until smooth. Pour ½ cup of batter onto waffle iron. Allow all waffles to cool for about 30 minutes, and then place in a ziplock bag, and freeze. When ready to eat, simply pull out waffles and heat in microwave for 1 minute. Serves 6.

This has been a guest post by August from Granite Falls, NC
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