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How I do my Freezer Cooking without Going Insane

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The Imperfect Homemaker: How I do my Freezer Cooking without Going Insane

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

How I do my Freezer Cooking without Going Insane

I am the world's messiest cook.  If you don't believe me just take a look at this picture:

I don't particularly mind cooking, but I hate cleaning up my horrible messes afterward.  That's why I love freezer cooking.  If you're not familiar with freezer cooking, it is making meals ahead of time and storing them in the freezer.  You can pull them out and heat them up on a busy night.  When we eat a freezer meal, I not only get out of cooking, I get out of cleaning up the mess!

Freezer cooking is also known to some people as "Once a Month Cooking."  They cook all of their meals for an entire month in one day.  Once a Month Cooking was my first introduction to freezer cooking.  It sounded like a good idea, so a friend and I got together, cooked and cooked and cooked, and then had a month's worth of meals ready to go into the freezer.  Sounds great, doesn't it?  But I absolutely hated it.  We cooked so many meals that it took us between 10 - 12 hours start to finish.  When we got done, we were absolutely exhausted.  But, we couldn't sit down.  We had a mess that seemed about 10 times bigger than the one in the picture that still had to be cleaned up.  It seemed to take forever to get it all done.  Every time we sat down to eat one of our freezer meals after that, I had nightmarish flashbacks to that long, grueling day in the kitchen.  I really wasn't sure if it was worth it.

However, I still do think the concept of cooking and cleaning the kitchen once yet eating multiple times sounds great.  Instead of a Once a Month cooking day, I have a "cooking week."  I plan my menu for the week and buy enough ingredients to multiply all of the meals times 4.  Each night, we eat one of the meals and put the other 3 in the freezer.  After a week, we have 12 - 15 meals in the freezer.  Sure, there are a lot of duplicates, but I just make sure they are things that our family likes really well, and nobody seems to mind.  It only takes a few extra minutes to divide whatever I'm making into 4 different pans, and the cleanup is basically the same as if I were making one night's meal.

This process seems much more manageable to me.  I don't have to give up an entire day to cooking (and cleaning up afterward!), and we still get a nice little stash of meals in the freezer. 

One of several pans of burritos ready to go into the freezer.

Do you enjoy freezer cooking?  What are some tips you have for keeping it manageable?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great idea! I'm going to do that with my meals.

February 3, 2012 at 2:15 PM  
Anonymous Um Enis said...

I love freezer cooking and spend my whole third trimester cooking up doubles! I actually am not quite so organized as you... I just try to double up on meals every so often. I've found I can also freeze components of meals instead of the whole meal. It takes up less space... and since there's no prep work, the cooking is not messy at all. One thing I freeze is what I call "soup starters" I saute onions and celery in big batches and then freeze them in little containers. I also will make big batches of broth which I freeze. I chop up cooked carrots and freeze them as well and make big batches of meatballs which I freeze. When it comes time to cook, all I need to do is heat the broth and throw the soup starters, carrots, meatballs in and add some noodles.

February 17, 2012 at 11:05 PM  

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