After deciding that this wasn’t the season of life for me to be doing big marathon freezer cooking sessions, I’ve been trying to figure out what might work for me and how I can streamline cooking and dinners around here.
I love having stuff in the freezer to pull out and use. I love not having to worry about making dinner every night of the week. And I love not having to do as many dishes. But I don’t love the upheaval the mega freezer cooking sessions were creating nor the massive mess and exhaustion that always seemed to result now that I have three children underfoot.
So I’m experimenting with another alternative… something I’m calling “Freezer Cooking in an Hour”. Basically, I’m going to set aside one hour one afternoon a week during Silas’ nap time to do as much cooking ahead as I can. And I’m bringing you all along on the ride with me to see how this goes. 🙂
Here’s what I did in an hour (plus a little extra!) yesterday:
3:00 — Start mixing up Pumpkin Waffle Batter. I “cheated” and used a mix I’d gotten for Christmas. I had set out some frozen milk the night before to use.
3:10 — Waffle batter finished and started waffles on the waffle iron. Realized I still had a few cups of milk left. Decided to make some French Toast Casseroles with the clearanced bread I’d gotten at Aldi plus the extra milk.
3:30 — Three French Bread Casseroles made and stuck in the oven, the pile of waffles continued to grow and I moved onto making the Marinated Chicken.
Uh-oh, Silas is up from his nap. I set the children all around the table with my laptop to watch Mary Poppins and dive back into freezer cooking.
3:45 — Chicken is finished and in the freezer, waffle batter is all cooked up, time to start on the Whole-Wheat Chocolate Chip cookies. But wait, someone needs a drink. And a snack. Silas needs a diaper change…
4:00 — So much for finishing in an hour! The children are back to their places at the table. I mix the cookie dough and roll it into balls.
4:20 — Finally finished! Well, except for the kitchen. I tidy up, have the children go out to play and survey my accomplishments:
3 pans of French Toast Casserole
4 meals’ worth of Marinated Chicken
Double batch of waffles (Half were eaten for snack. Sigh. How much are these children going to eat when they get a little bigger?!)
Not bad for an hour and 20 minutes!
And truth be told, I think giving myself a shorter time frame encouraged me to really focus and be efficient and productive. I’m looking forward to testing this theory out during my Freezer Cooking in an Hour segments over the next few weeks. Perhaps this method of cooking ahead might be the perfect solution for this time in our lives! We’ll see…