Freezer Meals for Beginners
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You spend your day at work, stressing out about how you’re going to get everything done. You’ve got a to-do list a mile long running through your mind; the grass needs mowed, you’re behind on laundry, you need to run by the post office, and you’ve got to call a mechanic because the service engine soon light just turned on in your car. When you leave work for the day, you pick up your kids, and get home only to hear the dreaded question that’s escaped you, “What’s for dinner?”
To be honest, the question can sometimes make your blood boil, not because you hate cooking, but because you’ve done so much today. You were finally starting to feel confident about how much you’d accomplished and now… you feel like you’ve completely disappointed your family. Looks like it’s time to load everyone back into the car for a quick trip through the drive through or maybe call for pizza delivery…again.
If this story sounds all too familiar and you are desperately looking to change meal time, then relax, you have found the place you’re looking for, I am here to help you. I have been making freezer meals since 2014 and know the ins and outs of how to make them quick, easy and delicious. I’m guessing if you’ve done any research about freezer meals, you might be feeling overwhelmed. As you search for freezer meals on Pinterest, you find most recipes look down-right gourmet. You’ve started jotting down a list of meals and putting together a grocery list a couple of times, but always find grocery your list keeps getting longer and longer and you’re not sure when you’re going to find time in your already chaotic schedule to make all these meals. Not to mention, if you’re a beginner at freezer meals, you don’t know anything about how to store them, how long you can store them, or how to take them from the freezer to your dinner table in record time. You might have even abandoned the thought of freezer meals because it just seemed easier to keep doing what you’re used to even though it doesn’t seem to be working.
Let’s take a step away from the chaos of meals at your house for a minute, to envision how freezer meals can make your life easier. For starters, you can stock your freezer one of two ways: by cooking for an hour or two once every two weeks or you can spend a day or two cooking and make it last for a couple months. (Don’t worry, I got you covered either way!). When you cook, you’ll chop onions once and put all of them into your meals. This saves you from chopping half an onion and washing a cutting board almost every single day. You use up all the meat you purchased, which is expensive, saving you from finding 2 chicken breasts way past their expiration date at the back of your fridge 2 weeks later. At the end of your cooking session, you’ll pack some wonderful meals into your freezer, which are all ready to be served within a couple of minutes. Fast forward to a week later, you get home from work, you choose one of those freezer meals, throw it in the microwave and feed your family, a homemade, relatively healthy meal. You enjoy each other’s time and the only dishes you have are the plates and silverware you used to eat.
Doesn’t this sound wonderful? Well I’m here to help. I’m going to help you get started on this journey so you can take the “What’s for dinner question?” from a dreaded question to something you don’t mind hearing. I am going to help you get from “I have no idea, let’s just get takeout…” to “What sounds good?”
Before we dive in to talking about how you to can start making freezer meals that save your family’s sanity, let’s talk about the basics.
Why freezer meals?
Freezer meals can save you time, money, and stress. Freezer meals can allow you to:
- Have meals that are minutes away from being ready to serve.
- Not have to run to the store as frequently, meaning fewer impulse buys.
- Avoid impulsive trips to the store to find something to eat for dinner…today.
- Buy things in bulk which typically allows you to get better prices.
- Waste less food, because you can use things up or freeze them for later.
- Stress less because you don’t have to constantly plan ahead for the next meal.
How do I know my family will like freezer meals?
There isn’t a one-size fits all approach to freezer meals. If freezer meals haven’t worked for you in the past, then you probably haven’t found the right meals or method to make them work. Freezer meals should be tailored to fit your family’s needs. You can make casseroles, marinated meats, soups, burgers – the list goes on and on! It’s worth mentioning that although there are a few foods that don’t freeze well (typically foods high in water, like lettuce), most meals can be prepared (at least up to a certain point) and then frozen, to make getting dinner on the table much faster, easier, and even healthier. For example, our family likes to eat salads. Therefore I cook a huge batch of chicken breasts so that when we want a salad, we simply grab a chicken breast from the freezer, thaw it in the microwave and add it to the top of our salad in minutes! If you’re family loves getting burgers and french fries at restaurants, then these are the types of meals you need to stock your freezer with!
Are you drooling over this gorgeous salad? I made it in less than 5 minutes, and let me tell you I’m not someone that’s good at putting salads together! If you love salads, you definitely need to try salad kits!
Do I have to spend a whole day (or even a couple days) in the kitchen cooking?!?!
I have to admit, in the past I’ve routinely spent a day or two cooking non-stop to stock my freezer, but I did it so that I would only have to cook once every 3 months! (If you want to learn more about this method – click here! – It’s not for the faint of heart!) This approach is something that can be built up to, but honestly as my schedule gets more chaotic, I realize that this probably isn’t the most effective approach for me anymore (or most people!)
That is why I’ve come up with another way to make freezer meals, one that is focused on simplifying the process. This method is called “Stock Your Freezer the Easy Way.” The entire system is geared towards helping you save money and time. More specifically, this system will be especially helpful for people that are new to freezer meals, so they can quickly and easily stock their freezer, without blowing their budget or requiring a ton of time. You can find the details of how this system works here!
And perhaps the most frequently asked question, do I need a deep freezer for freezer meals?
Absolutely not! A deep freezer is convenient because you can stockpile a lot of meals, but if you have limited freezer space, you just need to use it wisely! I plan on a doing post about this in the near future, but as a busy mom, working full time, managing my household, and raising two little boys, it will have to wait!
If you only have a freezer attached to your fridge, here are some tips to get you started:
- Only freeze foods that absolutely need freezing! For example, you don’t NEED to buy frozen vegetables, you can buy canned.
- Bread stays fresh in the fridge for quite awhile, so don’t use it to occupy premium freezer space.
- Avoid foods that take up a lot of space but yield a low number of meals, like waffles and french toast sticks.
Well that about sums up the basics of freezer meals and why you NEED to make some! I am so excited to help you out as you start this journey and realize how much easier meal time for your family becomes! Don’t forget to read about how to actually get started with freezer meals. In this post, I explain how you can easily stock your freezer with a variety of freezer meals in 1 months time.
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Now get out there and rock your busy mom life!