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Freezer Cooking Day: The final results (and come link up your posts, too!)

I made it to the end of the list. Well, okay, not quite, but it's the end of the day so I'm calling it quits.

Compared to FishMama's accomplishments, it looks like I didn't do much at all these past two days. But she's pretty much Superwoman's clone, so I won't feel badly (I used to live in the same town as her and have spent lots of time with her and she's every bit as amazing as she seems on her blog–even moreso in real-life!).

Here's the fruit of around eight hours of labor:

013

Here are the final tallies along with links to the recipes:

2 dozen Whole Wheat Waffles
2 dozen Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
2 dinners' worth Freezer Mashed Potatoes
2 batches Granola
3 dinners' worth of Turkey Meatballs
3 dinners' worth of Slow Cooked Pepper Steak
3 dinners' worth of Farmhouse Chicken
8 dinners' worth of Chicken Tetrazinni (I made two different varieties since we really like this!)
4 dinners' worth of Chicken Broccoli Rice

All in all, we now have 21 dinners in our freezer plus at least 14 breakfasts and some snacks and sides. That will most certainly cover our dinners for the next month (and we still have some meals leftover from last month's Freezer Cooking Day!) plus a number of breakfasts, too. What a great feeling!

Freezer cooking is not for the faint of heart. It's a lot of work and I won't be lying one bit when I say that there's a point in the middle of every Freezer Cooking Day that I wonder what on earth I've gotten myself into. But it is worth persevering through as it saves me so much time, energy, and effort the rest of the month.

In fact, I rarely cook much during the month outside of my Freezer Cooking Day! And we eat out a whole lot less when our freezer's full, too. So it saves me lots of mental thought and physical labor the rest of the month and it also saves us a lot of money, too.

Things I learned from this month's Freezer Cooking Day:

::Always double-check to make sure you have more than enough ingredients on hand (so you're not trying to make a big batch of granola without oats!)

::Don't try to do other things on Freezer Cooking Day. Cooking a month's worth of meals is enough work for one day. Sigh. Why do I always have to learn these things the hard way?

::It's better for me to start early in the morning instead of waiting until the afternoon. Otherwise, I run out of steam way before I run out of recipes I'm supposed to cook.

::And in the same vein, I think it works better for me to do all the cooking on one day instead of breaking it up over two days.

I'm making a game plan for next month's Freezer Cooking Day based upon the successes and failures I had the past two days and looking forward to implementing it the first week in December when FishMama and I plan to hold another Freezer Cooking Day.

But for now? I have a very messy kitchen to attend to.

——————————-

Did you have a chance to do any baking or cooking this week? If so, post about it
on your blog and leave your link below to your direct blog post. I'd
love it especially if you could share pictures and recipes so we can get ideas for our next Freezer Cooking Day! And I'm guessing many
others would be inspired as well.

Subscribe for free email updates from Money Saving Mom® and get my Guide to Freezer Cooking for free!

46 Comments

  • WOW! That’s amazing! I am SO in for next month, however I’m thinking, as I’m not super woman, I will need a babysitter for that day. Great job!!

  • sarah y. says:

    i know you didn’t end up making this today, but could you post your recipe for pumpkin scones? they sound yummy. thanks!

  • Allison says:

    You are awesome! I want to try some of the recipes but I have a cpl of questions for you. When you do the Farmhouse chicken do you freeze it with the stuffing on top? And with the Pepper Steak what exaclty are you freezing. Just the meat mixture or do you add all the veggies and the rice too?

  • Rachel S. says:

    Okay, so I had planned to do WAY more than I did- but with homeschooling during the day and keeping the puppy loved- a lot went to the wayside. What I did do was a huge batch of “Pumpkin-Flax Puppy Treats”, a quadruple batch of whole wheat waffles, a huge pot of Pinto Beans cooked and frozen and today’s supper. (see, not quite as impressive as Crystal!) 🙂 But oh well- I ran out of muffin liners, and had no time to do my pumpkin dinner rolls, my bananas aren’t brown enough for banana bread- what can you do but try again next time! I’m still pleased that I got as much done as I did- especially since our homeschool workload is so full!

  • Rachel S. says:

    Okay, so I had planned to do WAY more than I did- but with homeschooling during the day and keeping the puppy loved- a lot went to the wayside. What I did do was a huge batch of “Pumpkin-Flax Puppy Treats”, a quadruple batch of whole wheat waffles, a huge pot of Pinto Beans cooked and frozen and today’s supper. (see, not quite as impressive as Crystal!) 🙂 But oh well- I ran out of muffin liners, and had no time to do my pumpkin dinner rolls, my bananas aren’t brown enough for banana bread- what can you do but try again next time! I’m still pleased that I got as much done as I did- especially since our homeschool workload is so full!

  • Dana says:

    Great Job!

    You mentioned that you won’t do much cooking over the rest of the month. Does that mean you will have the same menu 4 weeks in a row? It doesn’t seem like you have enough variety to do anything but that.

    Thanks!

  • desiree says:

    You are amazing!!

  • Catherine says:

    It appears that you have frozen many items in the dish that they will ultimately be baked in; do you purchase additional dishes just for freezing? do you use foil pans? do you just own a billion more dishes than I do? 🙂 I”m just curious as to your freezer storage method – not so much the wrap in foil/use a freezer bag, but do you use all your dishes and how do you fit them all in your freezer along with milk, butter, etc. that you seem to stock up on and freeze throughout the month?

  • Kudos to you and the other ladies who made it. I had every intention of baking, but it just didn’t happen. Two weeks of no sleep with a cranky 3 yr. old has just caught up to me.

    I can’t wait until you do the next one. Please give us another heads up. It is so fun hearing everyone’s progress.

  • This is the first time I’ve done anything like this, so I kind of winged it and just cooked what I had here…things I needed to do and hadn’t gotten done. And, I added in a few things along the way as I learned from all of the ladies on Twitter.

    I don’t have kids, just 4 dogs and the world’s best husband, so we don’t need the same things as a family. I am so very grateful, though, for all the tips and ideas because our schedule is hectic and quite often we have ‘fend for yourself night’ because I didn’t have time to cook. My hard-working hubby will be eternally grateful that I’ve pulled together some quick-fix meals. I’m grateful, too, for the time that I’ll save this month.

    Looking foward to an even better #bakingday next time.

  • Tara says:

    Wow! You constantly amaze me. I consider it an accomplishment for me to get one dinner made and served every day. And I only have 2 kids!

  • Angela says:

    My kids would take one look at all those waffles….and they’d be gone by tomorrow. 🙂

  • Natalie says:

    Wow Crystal! You did a great job. I know I couldn’t have done so much, but I am inspired by your dedication and am going to try this sometime.

    Just curious though – you mention you eat out a whole lot less when the freezer is full, but I don’t see many dinners out in your menu planning schedules anyway, so are you referring to impromptu dinners out, or your weekly dinner out that you would skip? Although we really don’t get dinner out as much as some, it would be nice to have ready to cook meals in my freezer to almost eliminate meals out!

  • Kristen says:

    Question:

    Do you usually let your dinner thaw before cooking it. Or do you just cook it longer?

  • I think you did awesome! I ran into a snag today and didn’t get my baking finished, but I have tomorrow.
    Thanks for hosting!
    ~Liz

  • Chelsea says:

    Wow! Good for you and all the other ladies that are freezer cooking.

    **Question** Do you have extra freezer storage than what is with your kitchen fridge? I ask because I’m afraid to try this with the rest of you because I only have one dinky freezer, but I’d only be cooking for two. What do you other ladies do for storage as well?

  • kelly says:

    I’m wondering if you know how much it cost for all of those meals that your prepared? I’m sure it was a huge savings.

  • Emily says:

    I love your post! It’s such a great idea to make ahead and freeze food. Then we can live our lives, but we don’t have to eat awful food. Thanks for writing this!

  • Lisa says:

    I have really enjoyed this series. It has been inspiring. And by the way, just making homemade waffles takes time and attention. That is a major accomplishment alone. Love all the recipes you shared. Thanks for sharing

  • FishMama says:

    You have an amazing gift for hyperbole, my sweet friend. Thanks for your kind words, but I was just trying to keep up with YOU. I learned a few lessons myself. Doing school at the same time was rough — and guilt inducing. So, I’ll be planning differently next month as well.

    Thanks for a fun ride!

  • kate says:

    I love this. But can I ask a question…where are your kids? I have the same situation as you, two girls 4, 2, and a 3 month old boy. And I have a feeling that they would be watching alot of TV that day. LOL. Do you find that it’s hard for you to start and stop if you need to? My kids always want to help and I find that it stresses me out even more. Maybe I just don’t have it all together to do it.

  • kc says:

    you deserve a standing ovation…and a good night’s sleep…and a whole next day to relax and enjoy all your hard work (yeah right!)! Oh boy, I am quite close to being ready to tackle a day like this, I’m still in the planning in my head stage. But the fact that I’m reading these blogs about monthly cooking is a start, right?! Thank you for posting all this bulk cooking stuff, I love reading about it and seeing the pictures, would love to have more details about what and how you freeze and recipes but I get you are kinda busy!!!

  • Christy says:

    In my old kitchen on tile floor, leg fatigue was always a big factor for an all day cook. In addition to wearing good shoes I gathered up a bunch of beach towels to put everywhere I would be standing. Sounds easy, but actually provided enough cushion to make a difference, and kept the floor clean too. I did have a load of laundry, but it was worth it!!! Even with our new wood floors I do this trick for all day cooking sessions.

  • Andrea says:

    That pepper steak looks great. I had planned to join you and get a start on my holiday baking and I accomplished NOTHING!! The kids are sick AGAIN!!!! Maybe next time. Do you have any good recipes for a sugar cookie—the old-fashioned drop kind, not the roll-out kind?

  • Andrea says:

    P.S. CAN you freeze milk and butter? If so, how?

  • Amanda says:

    I love your blog! I participated with your baking day and am excited to have so many meals ready to go. I have been making a pumpkin muffin for a long time but instead of chocolate chips I put in blueberries. My kids love them (as well as my husband). Thanks for sharing all of your great ideas!

  • Jenel says:

    How do you keep your casseroles and other meals that you freeze from getting freezer burn?

  • Jenel says:

    How do you keep your casseroles and other meals that you freeze from getting freezer burn?

  • Ann Marie says:

    Wow – you did amazing! And what a great idea to list the number of MEALS you cooked! That makes the list sound even better!! (note to self!)

    This was my first baking day – and I loved it!! I have small children so my serious baking happened during afternoon nap – cleanup after they went to bed!! I loved reading all the jokes/motivation via twitter and also the final result of wonderful homemade things for my freezer!!

    ps – We do not have an extra freezer (just the normal /average fridge/freezer combo) and I still had room to store these yummy things! 🙂 Thanks again for hosting!

  • Michelle says:

    Kudos to you for a job well done!
    I have a question though-how do you pack all of this into your freezer? Mine could never accomodate all of this food. Does anyone have tips on some space saving packing/wrapping/etc. methods? Thanks in advance!

  • Ellen Drake says:

    Hey, why isn’t there an “after” kitchen photo? 🙂 Just kidding… you got a TON of stuff accomplished and 2 days of a hectic schedule will be rewarded when dinner’s in the freezer for the rest of the month! Congrats!

  • Wow! I would need to buy a new freezer before I could embark on this type of project. 🙂 Like others alluded to, I was wondering what you did with your kids all day. I can’t imagine my son tolerating me hanging out in the kitchen for that long!

  • Wish I could have had as successful two days as you. 10 weeks preg with number 5 has caught me well off guard. Plus three of the other kids are sick and the 1 1/2 year old is the only one up an feeling good. It is hard chasing the 1 1/2 year old, taking care of the other three on the couch and throwing up. I felt good just being able to put cereal on the table this morning. Glad I had a lot of meals in the freezer still from last month. At least I have the energy to pop them in the oven when needed, even if I can’t stomach them myself right now. Peanut butter on bread is about all I can keep down. Maybe in a week or two I will get back up and running again. Then I will try some of your receipts for variety. Thanks

  • LMB says:

    Great job! I did follow the Twitter updates, it was fun to see what everyone was making. I think I’m going to join in the next one. I like to do make ahead meals. And since I’m doubling up on classes next term, we need some ready to go meals. Or we will eat out way too much.

  • Nancy says:

    I made your pumpkin chocolate chip muffins last night, with a reader’s modifications for a lighter version (applesauce etc) and they were fantastic!! Had enough to share with friends too. We make pumpkin waffles alot on the weekends. This weekend we’ll be making sweet potato waffles for a change. Love the fall flavors!

  • Pam says:

    You are so inspiring! I didn’t really do a full baking day like you, but I did a few things (muffin mixes, freezer mashed potatoes, brown rice, and a huge roast in the crockpot which I will use for several meals). I love this idea and will be doing more of it! Love your blog too :).

  • Libby Wilson says:

    I don’t do once a month cooking but what I’ve started doing is when I cook a meal, I double or triple it and freeze half of it so after doing that so many times, I eventually have enough meals in the freezer and I can take a break. I’m only cooking for two now so that works really well for us. We just eat cereal or eggs for breakfast so breakfast isn’t a big problem for us. It’s the evening meals that I need the most help with.

    You are a good mom and I know your family is so happy to eat the fruits of your labor!

    Libby

  • chels says:

    does anyone have any issues with chicken dishes – does the chicken get spongey or mealy after reheating? how about noodles? do they get too cooked, should i cook them eldente to make sure they dont get all weird when recooking?

  • Paula says:

    What a feat! Good job. I took the link to the Farmhouse chicken recipe, but didn’t see the instructions for freezing it. Do you freeze it after it’s cooked? What temp & time do you use to reheat? Thanks! Keep up the good work!

  • amy says:

    i didn’t do any freezer cooking, but i did make the chicken tetrazini last night, and both my husband and i loved it!!! this will definitely make it into the rotation, especially since i know i can make ahead of time and freeze!

  • Uncanny says:

    I do a freezer cooking day every few months – I can get 12 recipes done in 4 hours. I love it.

  • Nicole says:

    crystal – thanks so much for sharing your adventure into freezer cooking. I’m inspired!

  • Cathy says:

    Looks like you got lots done…congratulations!

    Just curious, though, do you really eat Chicken Tetrazini 8 times in one month? I’m sure it’s good, but twice a week on anything and I’d be sick of it.

    ******************
    Money Saving Mom here: No, it will probably last us for 6-8 weeks. I’m experimenting with just making a big batch of a few recipes each month and then they should last longer than a month so that we have more to mix and match next month. So far, it’s worked well!

  • Cathy says:

    OK, I see. That makes sense.

  • Abra says:

    Crystal,

    I just made your Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins (the traditional version) and they are fabulous! I am so excited about sharing them with friends this week.

    Also, I am very inspired by your freezer day posts. I live alone, so I wouldn’t need the quantity, but I think I will slowly try some of your recipes & freeze them so that I will have a few to pull from.

    Keep up the great work! I really enjoy your blog.

  • Abra says:

    Crystal,

    I just made your Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins (the traditional version) and they are fabulous! I am so excited about sharing them with friends this week.

    Also, I am very inspired by your freezer day posts. I live alone, so I wouldn’t need the quantity, but I think I will slowly try some of your recipes & freeze them so that I will have a few to pull from.

    Keep up the great work! I really enjoy your blog.

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