New to making freezer meals? These 10 tips for beginners will help you save time, money and stress while you stock your freezer.
Having a freezer stocked full of meals is a great feeling! You never have to worry about what’s for dinner and you’ll avoid ordering out, because dinner’s always in the freezer.
If you’re brand new to making freezer meals or just need a refresher, here are ten things to keep in mind before your next freezer cooking session.
1. Have the Right Tools
Have the tools you need for success ready to go before you even start. Some things you may need: a permanent marker, freezer bags, plastic wrap, tin foil, foil pans, parchment paper and freezer labels.
Every freezer cooking session is different, and what you’ll need will depend on the types of meals you’re making and the methods you’re using to cook and store your freezer meals.
2. Get your Groceries Delivered
To save time and stress, get your groceries delivered. I know this sounds like a huge luxury, but as someone who uses delivery services a ton, I can tell you it saves you a lot of time for not that much more money. It’s just one less thing you have to spend time on and worry about getting done.
My favorite delivery service is Instacart. If Instacart isn’t in your area (you can check here), Shipt and Amazon Fresh are also options. All three services have free trials if you’d like to try any of them out.
3. Double the Batch
No need to plan a special cooking day… just do it bit by bit. Make a double batch of dinner when you cook. Serve one on the night-of and freeze the other half for later. If you do this regularly, your freezer meal stockpile will start looking full in no time at all.
4. Get Organized
Write things down in a notebook or on your phone and get organized. You’ll need a meal plan, recipes, and a shopping list. If you want to be super organized, things like prep sheets and instructions for efficiently assembling your meals are also helpful.
5. Use a Freezer Meal Plan
Planning your meals can be more work than actually making them, especially if you have dietary restrictions. Get yourself premade freezer cooking meal plans like these and save yourself a ton of time. You can keep reusing them after the first time, so eventually you’ll create a collection of freezer meal plans that you can quickly turn to in the future.
6. Go With What you Know
Every kitchen has a few recipes that are always in rotation. Choose a couple of your family’s favorite recipes, and prep them for the freezer. You know the whole family loves the meals and you’ve made them so many times you can probably make it in your sleep anyway, so you know it’ll be a home run. Just make sure the recipes you choose are freezer friendly.
7. Have Enough Room
Don’t plan a freezer cooking day if you just stocked up on frozen foods at Costco last weekend. Before heading to the store, make sure you have enough free space in your freezer. This is a simple tip, but it never hurts to plan ahead. If you have one of these, you probably don’t have to worry about this one so much.
8. Don’t Cheap Out on Bags
Trust me on this one, spend the extra dollar to get high quality freezer bags that are thicker. It’ll preserve your food longer, and they’re less likely to break. Your freezer meals are only as good as your storage.
9.Don’t Cook… Assemble
You don’t have to actually turn your stove on when freezer cooking. If you’d prefer, just make “dump meals” also known as slow cooker freezer meals, where you pop the ingredients into a bag, freeze, and dump into your crock pot on the day-of. You can also layer casseroles and bakes in foil pans that lend themselves to no cooking beforehand.
10. Vary Cooking Methods
This is my favorite tip and it will save you a bunch of time! You will be able to get so much more done if you’ve got the rice cooker, oven and stove going at once. Baked meals don’t need your undivided attention and neither do ingredients you’re cooking in the rice cooker. So cook something on the stove, while you roast something in the oven, and have rice, potatoes, oatmeal, etc. going in the rice cooker. You’ll be done so much faster, and you’ll be so much less tired!