Is freezer cooking really worth the effort?

How do you find the strength/discipline to follow through with freezer cooking on a consistent basis? I’ve not disciplined myself to do so as of yet. I do so enjoy reading about your freezer cooking experiences, however. Is it really that well worth the effort? (time saved, easy clean-up after each meal, etc.?) –a reader

Yes, freezer cooking has been so worth it for our family. I wrote a post in 2010 with three specific reasons why I love freezer cooking. And those reasons still hold very true two years later.

1. I spend a lot less time cooking and cleaning up the kitchen.

I no longer have big time blocks in our schedule to do full day or half day cooking sessions, but I’ve found that doing mini half-hour or one-hour freezer cooking sessions works really well for this season of our life. And while I might not be making 20 or 30 meals at a time, by consistently cooking ahead once or twice a week, we always have some meals in the freezer for those busy days when I don’t have time or energy for cooking.

Instead of having to dirty up a bowl to make meatloaf three times in six weeks, I just triple the recipe and make meatloaf once and stick the extra two dinners’ worth of meatloaf in the freezer. If I’m already going to dirty up a bowl, I might as well double or triple the recipe saving me the effort and mess later on in the month. After all, it really doesn’t take but a few more minutes to make two extra batches of meatloaf — and the clean up time is pretty much the same!

2. I don’t have to dread 5 p.m. anymore.

I don’t know about you, but there are some days at our home when life whizzes by so quickly and all of a sudden, it’s 5 p.m. and dinner isn’t even a figment of my imagination. Before I started regularly cooking ahead and freezing meals, I’d be tempted to call my husband and ask him to bring something home for dinner.

Freezer cooking has solved the 5 p.m. “What’s-For-Dinner” panic. If I forget to pull something out earlier in the day, I’ll just pick a meal from my freezer stash that defrosts quickly — such as meatballs. I pair this with some frozen veggies, rice, and maybe a fruit salad. No one even has to know I forgot about dinner until 30 minutes before it was supposed to happen!

3. It’s not a huge undertaking to have dinner guests or take a meal to someone.

When I have meals already made in the freezer, it’s rather simple to bring food to a new mom or have friends over for dinner.

Lasagna casserole, spaghetti pie, and meatballs are great staple meals to have on hand to share with others. Just whip up some Bread Machine Buttery Rolls, make a salad or fruit and maybe some brownies and you’re set! I also like to sometimes make up chocolate chip cookie dough and freeze it so I can quickly make a dessert for friends coming over or to take somewhere.

Knowing the reward that comes as a result of the effort is what gives me the motivation and discipline to follow through with freezer cooking. Well, and it also helps that I have the public accountability of blogging about it and all. :)

More Helpful Freezer Cooking Articles

Start Where You Are and Learn As You Go

How to Plan a Freezer Cooking Day (and find more ideas here)

How to Cook for Your Freezer When You Don’t Like Casseroles

Can You Have a Freezer Cooking Day if You Don’t Have a Lot of Freezer Space?

How to Store Your Freezer Meals

How about the rest of you? Have you found freezer cooking to be worth it for you? Why or why not?

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Comments

  1. says

    LOL. I love how your reader said, “I do so enjoy reading about your freezer cooking experiences..” That’s definitely where I’m at. Our freezer isn’t big enough to fit anything more then the meat and cheese items I’ve stockpiled. I hope to implement more freezer cooking in the future with a deep freezer purchase, but until then – I’ll just enjoy reading about your cooking experiences as well! Thanks for all the tips! :)

    • says

      Have you considered incorporating some of the meat and cheese purchases into some freezer-friendly dishes to free up some space? That’s what I used to do whenever we just had an over-the-fridge freezer.

      • says

        That does make sense, Crystal. :) I’m going to try and come up with some recipes that might work. Your recipe for meatballs you posted today sounds awesome! But with our side by side refrigerator I might try to make them with 1/3 the recipe so I can still freeze them before putting them in a bag. A cookie sheet won’t fit. Hmmm… I think I might be up for the challenge of my small freezer.

  2. says

    To me, it’s totally worth it. I would rather spend a rainy Saturday or Sunday freezing meals for the freezer so I don’t have to cook every night of the week.

  3. says

    We are expecting our first baby in June, and I have been slowly stockpiling the freezer since late March. Even though our baby hasn’t arrived, yet, I LOVE the fact that I have food in the freezer that requires a minimal amount of time and effort to prepare when the days are crazy and I know I won’t have the time or energy to cook dinner.

    Since I’ve been preparing freezer meals toward the end of my pregnancy, I don’t have the stamina to make it through an all-day freezer-cooking marathon. I’ve found a lovely website (www.pepperclip.com) where I can input my recipes (I do this during evenings when I’ve been on my feet enough and am just watching TV or something), and when I plan for a freezer cooking day, I just go into “my favorites”, select how many of each recipe I plan to make, and it generates a shopping list for me! Then, I shop one day and cook the next. I’ve learned to limit myself to about four different recipes times three each, so I end up with about 12 meals when all is said and done. Of course, one of those usually gets eaten that night, but I’m not complaining if 11 meals go straight into the freezer for these busy days before baby arrives, or those sleep-deprived days after. :) By doing this several times, my husband and I are pretty well-stocked. Now, all we need is baby!

  4. says

    I first began freezer cooking after I started reading your blog. Then, we developed food intolerances, and freezer cooking has become essential. We can’t just go through the drive through if we have a busy day, and most convenience foods are off limits too. We make almost everything from scratch. Plus, we take our freezer meals on vacation with us so we have safe foods to eat.

    Keep up the good work! I really enjoy reading your freezer cooking posts.

    • Kate says

      That’s exactly what I was going to write, Melissa! For us it’s no gluten, corn, soy or other legumes, nuts, carrots, celery, and poultry – yep, I can’t feed my husband chicken unless I want to take him to the ER. I try very hard to make food at home pleasant for him since he can’t go to restaurants or eat at staff meetings or at church gatherings, so having things in the freezer is a must for days when I’m just worn out. I almost shed tears of joy a few weeks ago when my meal planning had fallen apart and I looked into the freezer hoping for a miracle and found something I’d made a few weeks before.

      There aren’t many of your recipes I can use, Crystal, but I do enjoy the posts and think I’m going to try the baked oatmeal soon – with gluten-free oats, of course. :)

  5. says

    I have done a form of freezer cooking for 7 years. I started out with making 4 different meals and swapping them with 3 other ladies. I attempted to do it myself a few times. I just don’t have the energy to do it alone. Then I did 12 different meals with a group of 4 ladies. We all got together and made meals together. Another attempt to do it with just 1 other friend. That was fun, but again the group fell apart. Now I am trying Crystal’s way. It is easier, but I dislike it. I don’t want to spend EVERY day in the kitchen. I really like to do it all in 1 or 2 days and have the rest of the time off. Whatever way we do it we save money, but not necessarily time. Without meals in the freezer though we spend so much more on ready made items. I also miss out on being a blessing to others because I have nothing prepared.

    • says

      Just to clarify, how I’m doing it this month is not how I’d usually do it. :) I don’t like to spend every day in the kitchen, either. ;)

      I’m just trying to “babystep it” this month for those who are brand-new to freezer cooking — and to also showcase some great freezer cooking recipes. But I’d recommend trying to do one or two one-hour or two-hour sessions every week or every other week. That’s what works best for me right now — and it means that I don’t have to do much cooking/baking otherwise.

      • says

        I forgot you did the mini cooking sessions. I might have to try your “real” way next time. Thanks for reminding me. :-) I even read through the posts a while back. Silly me.. I have only done batch cooking and I don’t like it. Too much time. But it works for me right now. Hard to knock what works even if I don’t enjoy it. I will be glad when I am done and I don’t have to cook/bake for a few weeks. Freezer cooking spoils you!

  6. Roxanne says

    The only thing we find we still like after it’s been frozen is cookie dough (baked, of course).

    I’ll admit we are food snobs. I like to cook nice meals, and finding texture or taste compromised because something has been frozen is disappointing to us. My husband frequently eats at very nice restaurants for work meetings. He is too well acquainted with eating “fresh from the market today” fare to like freezer casseroles.

    I only have a family of 4, so cooking meals fresh isn’t all that burdensome. Nevertheless, we do have days I don’t cook or we eat sandwiches. Tonight I made baked oatmeal for dinner because I had an appointment at 5pm. Hubby would prefer something like that over a frozen item.

    • says

      If you’re serving baked oatmeal for dinner and your husband is happy with that, you don’t sound too much like major food snobs to me. :)

      Have you tried freezing uncooked baked oatmeal and then thawing and baking? We can’t tell a difference and this saves me a little prep time on busy days.

      What about freezing raw meats in marinades or making up meatloaf/meatballs, etc. uncooked and freezing?

      I’m curious to know if you can tell a difference if something like that isn’t baked/cooked first.

    • Catherine says

      We don’t do caseroles either :-) i find that I mostly use freezer cooking for soups – pureed ones (not ones where ingredient quality gets diminished from freezing) and baked goods. If I make a few batches of foccacia and freeze them, then I can pull that out with a roasted red pepper soup or cauliflower curry soup and we have dinner ready to go. I also make muffins and scones and freeze them and we have them for snacks with some fruit. I also make my own stocks so having them in the freezer makes it as convenient as pulling out a box from the pantry.

      • Me says

        Interesting point about different culinary experiences. I was wondering how you find the energy to keep up with this Crystal..now that you are done with school etc and hubby is working, it seems like there may be more wiggle room to stock with pre-made store items. It’s interesting b/c I was hooked on the decluttering/cleaning series since I have no one to clean for me. But the freezer one…well I cheat and buy Trader Joe’s frozen meatballs. How do you stay motivated to continue to freezer cook?

        • says

          1) Because I enjoy it.
          2) Because homemade food is so much better than storebought freezer food, in my opinion. :)
          3) Because it’s so simple to do — and the savings are so worth it!

    • Emily says

      We’re pretty much the same. The only things I will freeze are: my homemade spaghetti sauce and meatballs, waffles, pancakes and muffins. We don’t care much for casserole dishes, except for lasagna, and when I do make that, I’ll usually make 2 and throw one in the freezer too. We also are a family of 4, and cooking dinner every night hasn’t been much of a problem for us. Our kids are still young (7 and 4) and so aren’t in too many activities yet. Things may change as they age and get involved in more.

  7. Michelle says

    For casseroles, I recently starting separating a single recipe (~13×9 dish size) into two baking dishes(8×8 size) and freezing the spare. First, my husband, who is watching his weight, eats less when less comes out of the oven, and second, we’re less likely to have waste from uneaten leftovers. Of course there’s the obvious ‘don’t have dishes one day next week’ helper too.

  8. Quintana says

    I LOVE the freezer cooking. I haven’t gotten to the lunches and dinners yet (that’s for next week). But I did get the breakfasts done and boy-oh-boy have my mornings been amazing! The last freezer session that Crystal posted I did all in one day and it only took my about 3 1/2 hours and it put SEVERAL options in my freezer.

  9. Jennifer says

    I must be strange but I have tried cooking up meat like ground beef, etc and can’t stand the taste of it. I thought I could try and trick my husband but he asked “Where did you get this meat at?” Even casseroles taste strange to me. Now baked goods are fine but mostly meat products.

    • says

      Have you tried doing marinades over raw meats and/or making up uncooked meatballs/meatloaf/hamburger patties and freezing it? I don’t think you’d be able to tell it has been frozen — but you’d want to start with raw meat (instead of frozen meat) if you were going to do this.

  10. says

    I don’t do a specific freezer cooking day, but freeze extra food as I cook or double what I normally make and freeze it. It is so nice to have something on hand when I find someone who could use a homemade meal, or if my kids need to bring cookies for a school event, or for days that are busy or I am not too motivated to cook. It is like savings in an ice box. You have it to draw from if you need it.

  11. Katie L says

    I freezer cook as it is convenient for me– usually by browning several lbs of beef at a time, or making 2 lasagnas instead of one, or extra pizza dough to add to the freezer. My favorite thing about it is this: I can spend time making quality food-from-scratch on the days when I have time, and spend time doing other things on the other days. But we still eat well.

    My kids want to play outside in the afternoon, and they’re too little to send them out alone. If I make a freezer meal, I can be out with them while dinner heats up instead of inside.

    On evenings that I’m working, my husband can focus on being with the kids instead of preparing dinner. This is great for him and for the kids.

    I agree that it’s much easier to have people over or bring a meal to someone when I have extra already prepared.

    I don’t go to the once-a-month cooking level, but I LOVE having several meals’ worth of cooked meat/soup/chili/rolls/pizza dough/enchilada filling in the freezer, ready to go.

  12. says

    I LOVE freezer cooking and prep cooking!

    The first time I ever did it was when I was expecting #5. The 4 boys and I took one day to shop, 2 to chop and cook, and by the time lil sister was born, we had 30 meals.

    I always try to keep cooked shredded chicken in the freezer and some type of dough in the fridge and lettuce on hand. This all keeps me from panic mode. Because something out of those 3 can be put together so easily.

    I’ve made it a practice on Saturdays to do prep work for the week, every week. The biggest goal is to have granola, pancakes, french toast sticks, crepes, breakfast bread, English muffins, or some other breakfast food ready for the week. -School goes off without a hitch that way!

    Crystal’s challenge has inspired me to do more and I’m SO thankful for it! Quick-fix lunches (with all of the ‘pockets’ I’m making) is just as important for me as supper since we home school and sometimes one of the children get ‘tangled up’ in math and ‘need mom’ a little longer ;-)

  13. phyllis says

    I would love to do some freezer cooking but I am pre diabetic and have to watch my carb intake. Do you have any suggestion?

  14. Patti says

    I don’t do major freezer cooking but I keep a full freezer nevertheless. Like this week: I cooked a large roast which we ate as plain meat with broccoli and mashed red potatoes. Then Monday I cut the meat up and used a cup or so for homemade vegetable beef soup. I had enough soup after eating it to make fill two 6 cup containers and two 3 cup containers plus enough for me to eat for lunch today with a salad. Tonight I made a beef stir fry and made enough for two meals (using the roast beef cut into strips). I cut the rest of the meat into thin slices for roast beef roll-ups (use a tortilla spread with herbed cream cheese and endive or red lettuce). If we don’t eat those in a day or two, I’ll freeze the thin slices. I still had enough “bits and pieces” to bag for another round of vegetable soup later. I also do this when I cook chicken or pork. Always a few meals out of each that I keep on hand for those nights that I don’t want to cook fresh.

    • Patti says

      That’s why I haven’t been able to participate in much of your freezer cooking this time, Crystal. My freezer is too full!!! : )

  15. says

    I had read some of your freezer posts quite a while back, but I didn’t really understand the concept of it (you make a bunch of food and then freeze it, instead of eating it right then?!). Recently, my mother-in-love introduced me to a freezer cooking focused site and asked if we could do it together. When I read through that website, I decided I’d give it a try. After all, I rarely turn down trying to cook something new! It has changed my “5 o’clocks” too! I am recently married without children, so I am currently working full time. I can’t describe how wonderfully easy packing lunches and making suppers has been over the past 2 weeks! And the variety in my lunch box has really excited me to actually want my homemade lunch instead of cheating and going out. I am so thankful for all the recipes you post and can’t wait to try them!!

  16. Jennifer Gaynier says

    I think freezer cooking is so worth it. On nights when we are super busy with our two kids sports schedules we grab a meal already prepared out of the freezer. I prepare everything from breakfast to dinner dishes and freeze.

  17. says

    I embraced freezer cooking before our 2nd baby was born. Love it and doubt I’ll go back anytime soon. Daily stress is significantly less, and we get to eat real meals every day. It takes planning, but it works well for our family– me, hubby, 3 yr old, and 6 month old.

  18. says

    I used to do Once A Month Cooking. But I found by doing so many meals at one time I was tired and worn out. I started doing batch freezer cooking and I really like it. I recently bought 40lbs of chicken from Zaycon foods. It took me about 2 hours to process it all but afterward I had all the chicken meals I would need for months. I don’t cook all my meat before freezing. In fact with this last chicken batch I only cooked 6 breasts. I make what I call dinner packs. . I make BBQ chicken,Sweet Asian chicken, Italian chicken, fajita chicken, chicken curry and leave some as plain chicken breast for grilling or cooking later for more cooked chicken ready to go in the freezer. I do the same thing for my ground beef. I make some into meatballs, some into meatloaf, I will cook some up and have it ready to add to spaghetti sauce. I have found by freezer cooking this way I can take advantage of sales and stock up my freezer with packages ready to go into the oven, on the grill or into a skillet or crock pot with very little time needed.

  19. says

    I am one of those people who loves making homemade meals each night so freezer cooking doesn’t work for me, BUT, I do a lot of freezer baking.

    Because we eat no processed foods, everything has to be made from scratch. Every Monday morning, I spend 3.5 hours baking our breads, muffins, and snacks for the week. (And I’m blessed to be able to have the opportunity to have that time slot available. At other seasons in my life, that never would have worked.)

    I can’t imagine having to bake everything every day!!

    (Not sure why I love cooking dinner every day, but I don’t love daily baking!)

    • says

      Freezer cooking and freezer baking are interchangeable to me, so it sounds like you’re big into freezer cooking to me. ;)

      And I think I’m the opposite of you: I love baking (most days, at least!) and would usually choose that over cooking any day!

  20. Barbara M. says

    As I read this, we are eating the burrito’s…..YUM! I have been reading your blog for about six months now, looking forward to when we were able to get a deep freezer. Well, we were able to get a nice one a couple of weeks ago and I have been starting to stock up and everything is turning out wonderfully good, easy, and conveinient. I have printed out several recipes to try in the future, trying out what works best for us for freezing techniques, etc. I am enjoying it, and as a mother of a 3 and 5 year old I completely understand the exhaustion that comes with the end of the day and worrying about dinner. I appreciate all your hard work Crystal and thanks for all you do!

  21. Amy says

    I do a lot of freezer cooking the way you do it, too. I used to do once-a-month cooking before kids, but that’s really hard to do with little ones. It’s about impossible with a nursling, and really hard with toddlers. I simply don’t have a full day to devote to cooking (or the energy to do it!).

    I make double and triple batches of thing and freeze them. Every once in a while I’ll get motivated and freeze several things at once, but they’re all things that use about the same ingredients, and where I can reuse mixing bowls without washing them.

    I buy meat from a farmer in big batches. I find the best way to make room in the freezer for cooked meals is to start with bone-in pieces of meat. If you take the meat off the bone while cooking, the extra ingredients in the dish take up the space where the bones were, and you have space. Plus a cooked dish is usually more uniform in size than, for example, a roast, so it’s easier to squeeze in. Making huge batches of stock with my soup bones and then making 2 cup packages plus ice cubes of stock is a great way to clear out space.

  22. Brianna says

    I do a lot of freezer cooking. I also started a freezer meal exchange group with 5 other young moms like myself. Once a month, we get together and exchange meals. I make 6 of the same thing and come home with 5 other meals for my family. With an infant and toddler demanding attention after work and a husband who works second shift, freezer cooking has been a lifesaver!

  23. Jessica says

    After reading about the concept and trying a few things I finally figured out what works for me. I keep broth, hamburger patties, and homemade hashbrowns stocked pretty much all the time. I don’t really freeze full meals, just parts of them. It helps take a lot of stress off of me.

  24. says

    I love having a freezer full of ready to go “starters” such as already browned ground beef that can be the base for tacos, chili, or meat spaghetti sauce. It really doesn’t take that much longer to cook up an extra pound or so of ground beef and it is so nice to not have to do the dishes on a busier night.

    I also cook batches of chicken breast in my slow cooker with bottled barbecue sauce or salsa and then shred it. I portion it out into meal sized portions (for 2 adults and 3 young kids that is about a 1 quart freezer bag) and stick those in the freezer. It makes great sandwiches or burrito filling.

    I also freeze chicken breast and beef in about 1 pound portions in freezer bags if I find a good deal at the store. Sometimes I will add a marinade, sometimes I just leave them plain. This not only saves me a trip to the store on a busy day, it saves me money by buying it at a lower price.

    I have been able to provide meals to lots of moms to be or new moms, neighbors, and friends who have recently had surgery or have been sick- all by “shopping” out of my freezer and pantry.

    I also keep things like chopped onions, and pepper and onion strips in baggies to use for pizza, soups, stir fry, or fajitas. I despise chopping onions and peppers, so if I knock it out in one session it doesn’t seem so bad when I can grab a baggie from the freezer.

    One last thing that I want to mention that I like to make in batches and keep in my freezer is chicken stock. I actually keep the chicken bones from a whole chicken – whether I cooked it or cheated and got a rotisserie in my freezer. When I get two sets of bones I put them in my slow cooker with water, some herbs, carrots, onion, and celery and make my own stock. I then portion it out into 1 cup portions and freeze it in freezer bags. It is so nice to have it on hand to add to soup or my favorite thing is to add it to rice for extra flavor.

  25. Cece says

    I found your blog about a year ago. I started freezer cooking about once a week. Once I saw how much time and money this saved, I bought an upright freezer. (I had already filled my freezer above the fridge.) Well, now my upright freezer is full of breakfast foods, baked goods, soups, casseroles, and meats. Not only do I have many meals ready to go, but my husband also has healthy and fast choices for those nights when I have to work late.

    Thank you Crystal for inspiring me and continuing to offer up new recipes to try. And thanks for showing the flops too, we all have those days.

  26. Melissa says

    Does anyone with larger families and allergies find freezer cooking to work? Our family can go through two and a half pie plates of baked oatmeal in one meal. I noticed Crystal made three pie plates of baked oatmeal for one of her freezer sessions, and I thought, well, that would feed my family for one meal. We are only a family of six, but due to early deprivation in some of my little ones (they were adopted), they are HUGE eaters!

    The time I spend in the kitchen is overwhelming. I have to make so much from scratch due to multiple allergies (gluten, dairy, corn, eggs) in the family and the large amount we consume. Any hints to deal with this would be GREATLY appreciated!

    • says

      I used to cook for nine very hungry people (there were nine in my family growing up) — and it would have taken a six pie plates of baked oatmeal to sort of fill us up. And we would have had some sides with it, too. Oh you should see how much we could eat! :) It feels like I cook such small portions these days when I’m just cooking for my “small” family of five, three of whom are children. :)

      We did lots of freezer cooking growing up; we’d just do it on a larger scale. So instead of making a single batch of baked oatmeal, we’d take a recipe times four or six. It was a bit more work, but not that much more work. And it was definitely easier than making the recipe twice or three times.

      Oftentimes, more than one of us would pitch in to help so that the work would go faster. I’m not sure if any of your family can help out, but that might be something to consider.

      • Melissa says

        Thank you for the encouragement! I think I will try a few cooking sessions with some help from one or two kiddos that should be able to help at least a little! I might need to invest in some larger bowls and pans for sure!

        • Momof5 says

          Melissa, we have that issue, too – there have been nights when I’ve made a “double” batch of something, only to find that by the time I got the little one bathed and in bed, the teenagers had finished the second pan of it off the stove where it was cooling to go in the freezer :) And when I accidentally freezer cook, as when I have more of something than one of my big pans will hold so I stick it in a smaller pan and freeze it for a night when just a few of us are home – well, so far 2 shelves of my smaller upright freezer have been filled with “small” dinners. Maybe I need to start sharing those with smaller families :)

          But – I have found, like some of the other posters, that freezing ingredients rather than whole dishes is still a huge help for me come 5:00. So I freeze lots of fresh fruit and vegetables (blanched and chopped) in season, lots and lots of broth in everything from 1/2 cup to 2-qt containers, shredded cheese in dinner-sized bags (usually about 2 cups), and because we get a whole beef’s worth of meat from a rancher, we have lots of packages of meat ready to thaw and cook. When feeding in quantity, any shortcut helps. Good luck!

  27. C.Holmes says

    I started freezer cooking after I became a mom. I started reading this blog and had an “ah ha” moment when I read a post about freezer cooking. I am a full-time middle school English teacher. I take both my jobs (mom/wife and teacher) very seriously. I want to stay after with my school kids who need an extra boost, but I want to provide my family with wholesome, budget friendly, organic meals. Freezer cooking is the only way I can manage both my jobs. I started small with meatballs and burritos. Soon, I saw the benefits. I wasn’t stressed about dinner anymore. I had more time with my family on weeknights because I had less dishes and I wasn’t spending a hour banished in the kitchen making dinner. It makes giving easier too. I have cookie dough I can throw in quickly to take fresh cookies to the neighbors. I have lasagna and bread I can take to a co-worker whose spouse is in the hospital. These things would not be possible for me on a weeknight if it wasn’t for freezer cooking. I don’t have the daily time to do the “4 weeks to fill your Freezer.” So, I try to plan one big huge freezer cooking day every month. I rotate between a baking day, a breakfast/lunch day, and a dinner day. My daughter helps and we make huge batches of our favorites. The freezer is my new best friend!

  28. Mel says

    Some of you hinted at this already, but I generally bake/prepare a double batch of every meal I make. That way, I can have one for that night and one to freeze for the following week. Then I have a few meals on hand at any given time for busier days or if we have unexpected things occur. And for the most part, I’m only cooking every other night. This works well for us as we have a very small freezer and cannot add an additional freezer in our apartment. I’ve loved reading your recipes Crystal. Can’t wait to give a few of them a try.

  29. says

    I don’t do a lot of freezer cooking for entire meals, but I do love to freeze staple items like rices and beans. For example it takes the same amount of time to make the entire package of brown rice as it does to make a portion of it. So I cook the entire package and split into freezer bags for easy to thaw meals later. I do the same thing with beans. Its so much cheaper and bpa free to buy them dry. I cook up the whole package at once and divide them into bags for freezing. They thaw fast and my kids sure don’t know the difference.

    • says

      I didn’t know you could freeze cooked rice! I might have to try that. I love the convenience factor of Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice but not the price and (I’m sure) the added preservatives.

  30. Rachael says

    This past school year, I returned to teaching after taking eighteen months to be at home finishing school and to be with my two children. We’d gotten really used to homecooked meals (and our budget had, too), so I’ve made a real effort to continue to cook from scratch when possible. I find I don’t have the energy to cook much when I get home from work now, and I teach two evening classes, as well. Cooking ahead has been a real life saver! I have a small freezer, so I often just make things for the upcoming week. I find a lot of inspiration from this website, but also from Rachael Ray’s Food Network Show, Week in a Day. So, yes, I think it is totally worth it!

  31. says

    I have not yet gotten good at this myself.. but a good strategy might be just to double or triple a “regular” meal you make at dinner time if it freezes well.

    It’s not going to give you a month of meals.. but it does free up many nights in the month for you. And you don’t have to set aside any extra time.

  32. Kara says

    Right now in our home it’s only the hubby and I, no kids yet, but I have found freezer cooking to be a tremendous help. I still work full time at this point and sometimes my hours can fluctuate and I have to work later into the evenings. I have done freezer cooking both ways, sometimes spending a day in the kitchen cooking up a bunch of meals that will last our little 2 person family through the month, and sometimes I just double what I’m cooking for dinner and freeze it. I find both methods to be effective for us, though with my freezer looking a bit empty right now I’m itching to do another big freezer cooking day! I find this to be very helpful when I go out of town too. My parents live in California and I try to go visit them a couple of times a year, usually for a week or two at a time, and my hubby can’t always come with me. If I have the freezer stocked with quick dinners for him (those yummy southwest chicken rollups, tacos, homemade frozen pizzas, etc) it’s much more likely that he’ll make himself dinner versus going out and getting fast food all week; which in turn makes me feel like a better wife knowing I’ve provided good homecooked meals for him even when I’m away!

  33. Lorna says

    I love the freezer recipes over at Savingdinner.com – you freeze all the raw ingredients ready to make a meal, then defrost and cook. I find I don’t often have time to cook for the freezer but with this method I can do five or ten different recipes in an hour or so, and it tastes fresher because it is cooked just before you eat. Freezing raw meat in a marinade is brilliant too.

  34. jessica says

    I would really like to get into a freezer cooking routine, but have not done it yet. I will say alot of times when I make something like taco meat, spaghetti and meatballs etc…I just cook a double batch. It is really easy to do and it hardly takes any extra time to do that. It saves me time on those busy nights. A few weekends ago I put together a few meals for a friend. I cooked extra of everything so we had some things too. It was so nice to have dinner taken care of for the next 3 to 4 nights!!!

  35. Sarah says

    Hey Crystal, always love your motivating freezer cooking posts! Can you tell me where to find the recipe for the food in the picture at the top of this post? Looks delicious!

    Thank you!

    Sarah

  36. A Reader says

    Thanks so much for this post.

    I can DEFINITELY relate to reason #2. :)

    I recall, ( and now often repeat), a quote from one of your previous posts. I don’t remember the exact wording, but it went something like this: “It’s better to try and say ‘oh well’ than not try and wonder ‘what if”.”

    That being said, I’ll give freezer cooking a try…… perhaps starting with the baby steps. :)

  37. Lee Anne says

    I love freezer cooking because if I made any 9×13 pan of anything it was way too much for my little family of 3. My little one is only 2, I’m sure I wont always feel my little family can’t finish a whole casserole when he’s in high school!! I can make an entire recipe and then portion it out for 3 meals! Dollar Tree has great little aluminum containers that make baking and freezing a cinch!

  38. Linda H says

    Thanks to your fabulous blog, a whole new world has opened up to me in so many ways!

    Freezer cooking/baking is 100% worth it! While I admit that doing a full day of cooking depletes my energy for several days after, I’ve learned through that experience (several times) that a full day is not for me and instead spend about half that time in the kitchen.

    My husband loves walking in at night and not seeing a pile of dishes in the sink, and from time-to-time still asks me (while we are eating dinner), “Is this from the freezer?”

    The money we’ve saved, the health we’ve gained and the time I’ve saved in the kitchen – this is has become a lifestyle habit that I’m not willing to give up.

    Thanks, Crystal!

  39. Elisa says

    Here’s another plus for freezer cooking: I am pregnant with our 4th and know I will be going on bedrest in a few months or sooner as I did with the previous three. So now I am starting to make double of some dinners and sticking them in the freezer so we will be ready for when I can’t make dinner every night. That way, we won’t have to impose on friends like we had to in the past. Don’t know why I didn’t think of this before — maybe all your post lately on freezer cooking have put the idea in the front of my mind :)