I’ve been getting into freezer cooking recently. Some people take a day and make all the meals, but I’ve been taking a lazier approach: When meat/ingredients are on sale, I get a bunch and go ahead and sort them into bags for dinners. Meals that require little to no preparation before going into the freezer are my favorites- just dump it in a bag and go. This way, I can made dinner for the night and prep another 3-4 meals in about half an hour, including clean-up. It takes a few days to get through the whole freezer list.
Every few weeks, I go through the sale flyers, pick a grocery (or farmer’s market), make up a list of recipes that, together, use whole units of ingredients, and then make a shopping list of the ingredients that I don’t already have in my pantry.
An example of my list:
|Pineapple flank steak||http://onceamonthmeals.com/pineapple-ginger-flank-steak/|
|Cilantro lime chicken||http://onceamonthmeals.com/grilled-cilantro-lime-chicken/|
|Coconut curry pork||http://onceamonthmeals.com/5-ingredient-coconut-curry-kebabs/|
|bacon quiche pie||http://ourgaggleofgirls.com/recipes/2009/05/02/bacon-quiche-pie/|
|Chicken bacon apple sliders||http://onceamonthmeals.com/gluten-free-dairy-free-chicken-apple-bacon-sliders/|
|Garlic crusted pork tenderloin||http://onceamonthmeals.com/garlic-herb-crusted-pork-tenderloin/|
And the groceries:
|1.5 lb flank steak|
|sm can pineapple juice|
|2 lbs ground beef|
|3-4 lbs chicken breast|
|country-style ribs (2lbs)|
|granny smith apple|
Now, on this occasion, I didn’t make everything I’d planned. I didn’t find the curry paste (subbed for curry powder in the recipe), cilantro, or a good price on the pork tenderloin. I didn’t find ground chicken, but I did find a sale on ground turkey + a coupon, so I made a switch. I also found a great deal on the ribs, so I made/froze bbq ribs to use up the whole package and to use up the rest of some bbq sauce. Finally, I ran out of time to make everything to get it in the freezer by the "freeze by" date on the package (and ran out of space in the freezer to store everything), so the tex-mex burgers didn’t get made, the chicken became something else, and I skipped the enchiladas. The tenderloin went onto the next spreadsheet as a possibility.
This has been really convenient- we just need to pick out our dinners the night before, so they can thaw in the fridge overnight. We can pick out our dinners after Lena goes to bed, and we can throw them in the oven/microwave/heat in crockpot as called for in the recipe, without having to figure out if we have everything or if we have time to get it on the table before Lena goes into Hangry Toddler mode (our incidents of Hangry Toddler and "just make some nuggets" have gone down dramatically.) I have found some terrible recipes (like the bbq meatloaf of last night), and some excellent ones that I kept making until we were tired of them (honey mustard curry chicken). It’s also been nice on our budget, cutting it in half by purchasing most foods on sale (it had gotten a little out of control.)
In conclusion: I like this method of cooking for the weeknight stress relief, the knowledge that we can have a tasty dinner on the table no matter who’s home to cook, we are trying new foods, and the ease on the food budget.