Guest post by Melissa from Mom’s Plans
By the time my second child was born, I was a die-hard freezer cooking mama. I had my freezer cooking session every month, and we ate meals from the freezer every week. I couldn’t imagine it any other way.
After my third child was born, I relied on freezer cooking even more. I followed Crystal at Money Saving Mom® and Jessica at Life as Mom and had my freezer cooking day on the same weekend everyone else did. I loved feeling like I was part of a freezer cooking community.
But then I quit my outside job so I could stay home. Without my income, our family could not make ends meet, but I was willing to sacrifice so I could be home with our kids.
We trimmed our budget, but I still found it necessary to bring in some money, so I began to do work as a freelance writer and virtual assistant in the evenings when my kids were sleeping. God does provide, and slowly more and more work trickled in until I was making enough to supplement our budget so that it finally balanced every month.
However, I was no longer able to get all of the work done in two to three hours at night. My husband watched the kids on the weekend so I could go someplace quiet and write for a few hours on Saturday and Sunday in addition to my evening work time.
My weekend work time was when my freezer cooking time used to be. I could no longer find a place to fit a large freezer cooking session, and I was growing frustrated. Shortly before this, Crystal admitted that having a freezer cooking day was no longer working for her, and she turned to freezer cooking in an hour.
I loved the concept! Seeing Crystal’s flexibility created a new way of thinking for me. Instead of stressing about not being able to freezer cook, I gave myself permission to realize that in this season of life, it was no longer working for me.
The five o’clock hour with three small children still gets crazy, so I had to come up with another plan. Now, I prepare our meals based on the week. If it has been a chaotic week, then on the weekend I do what I can which may be only prepping some foods such as veggies to make dinners easier on the week nights.
Last weekend I had time to prep all of our upcoming meals for the week night and put four additional meals in the freezer. This will give me some leeway when I have another chaotic week. Other times I cook all week long, but I double each recipe so I have five new meals in the freezer for another week. In short, I do what I can, and it seems to be working.
Here are some of my favorite meals to put together quickly:
- Tacos – We make up a large batch of taco meat and put some in the freezer to pull out on a busy night. This meal is great because it takes no more energy to prep five batches of taco meat instead of one meal size serving.
- Chili – I love meals that I can double and put in the slow cooker. I just put one in the freezer to save for another night.
- Chicken “Dump” Packages – Simply put the chicken breasts in a freezer bag with the sauce of your choosing. Put this in the refrigerator to use later in the week or put it in the freezer – Simply toss it in the slow cooker in the morning.
- Meatloaf – I make three batches of meatloaf, bake them, and put two in the freezer for later.
Don’t forget if you work outside the home to take some of these meals and put them in the freezer in single serving packages. They make quick, nutritious lunches and will save you a bundle.
Also, I love to cook up a bag of dry beans and put the extra in the freezer. I just pull them out when I am cooking; it is like using canned beans without the extra price and sodium.
Thanks to Crystal’s inspiration, I have modified my cooking plans, which has lifted my guilt and made me feel less tense about meal preparations. It is still busy around our house, buy I am much more relaxed about feeding my family.
Melissa is a work-at-home mom to three little ones ages 7, 2, and 1. She blogs at Mom’s Plans where she shares her family’s desire to learn to live a fulfilling life on less.