Family life is busy! Between activities, working, homeschooling, and keeping up with housework, it's easy to slip into a fast-food rut to avoid cooking and meal planning. But shopping, meal planning, and cooking don't have to be a huge task. Freezer cooking can be a great way to prepare for busy times and with these freezer cooking tips for busy families, your freezer will be stocked in a flash!
4 Freezer Cooking Tips for Busy Families
When people first hear the term freezer cooking they usually think you have to do one of those massive weekend sessions that produce 30 meals. That type of freezer cooking does work, but it's a lot of time and effort. My goal is to save time and having to take a whole weekend to prepare a bunch of frozen casseroles is not my idea of time-saving.
Instead, I like to prep ingredients for the freezer. I still need to cook dinner every night but the hardest part is already done - the prep work. When ingredients are all prepped, all I need to do is pull ingredients out, throw them together, let them cook, and we're ready to eat.
Here are my freezer cooking tips for busy families:
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Buy in bulk
I love shopping at Costco. There's just something about those huge packages of stuff! Especially wonderful are their large packages of beef, pork, and chicken. I love buying these and precooking them for the freezer. When the protein is pre-cooked, you can throw together a weeknight meal in just a few minutes.
One of my favorite resources for cooking in bulk is Fix, Freeze, Feast - which focuses on this method of cooking one main protein.
Stock up on sale items
Another great way to fill your freezer is by buying items (that are freezable) when they are on sale and freezing them in bulk. When carrots are on sale, buy a few huge bags, chop them up, give them a quick boil, cool, and freeze in family-size packages. This step does take some time, but fresh vegetables prepared this way take just minutes to cook when it's time to eat.
Double or triple a favorite recipe
Having lasagna for dinner? It doesn’t take much more time to triple your recipe and make two extras for the freezer. Choose family favorites that can be frozen and whenever you make one, double or triple it and freeze a few.
Cookie dough is perfect for the freezer – you can freeze them in logs or scoops, ready to pop in the oven (or nibble on straight from the freezer!).
Not sure a family recipe should be frozen? Take one small portion and freeze it. Thaw and cook – you’ll discover some great new freezer recipes with this simple test.
Dump recipes are time savers
Have you heard the term ‘dump recipes’? Basically, put your protein (chicken pieces, steak, etc) into a Ziploc bag and add your other ingredients – usually marinades and sauces. Seal the bag and squish the ingredients around before tossing it into the freezer. I LOVE these kinds of freezer recipes because they are super simple and fill your freezer up quickly. It’s especially nice when you can find meat on sale – it’s a money save and a time saver!
I like to keep a few items in the freezer that make meal prep quick and easy. I don’t generally have complete meals all frozen (too much like reheated leftovers for me) but by just prepping some ingredients and a little pre-cooking I can have dinner on the table in no time flat.
The iHomeschool Network is sharing tips for feeding the homeschool family.