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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Not Just a Budget Challenge...

Not only is August going to be my $1,200 budget challenge, but I'm also adding another challenge to the mix. We have a large freezer that we bought several months ago and I want to make the most of it. Since it is not even half full right now, and my garden is doing poorly so I doubt that I will be getting anything out of it to freeze, I want to fill my freezer up! Not just with food, but with already prepared food! Yep, that's right, I will be doing freezer cooking.

I'm not going to the extreme of once a month cooking, which is where you cook 30 meals or more at once to stick in the freezer. Rather, my goal is to double a recipe at least once a week in order to stick one meal in the freezer. I'm starting off small so as not to overwhelm myself.

It saves money to have already prepared meals in the freezer. On days when you are overwhelmed with your to-do list, running around town like a frantic woman trying to get errands done, home late from an all day trip, sick, tired, or just too lazy to cook you are able to pull a meal out of the freezer and pop it in the oven instead of ordering take out.

It saves time as well. It takes nearly the same amount of time to make two casseroles, pots of soups, and so on as it does to make one. All the prep work and cooking is done at once. I don't know why I didn't think of this sooner!

I started last night, as a matter of fact. We now have cavatini in the freezer for a future meal. I would like to work myself up to where we have at least seven meals in the freezer at any given time. I've done this before with one or two dishes, a batch of cookies or a pie but then I'd pull them out and we'd eat them and never replace another dish in the freezer. My goal is to slowly, over several months, build up a nice supply of main dishes, side dishes, breads, and desserts so that on any given day I can make a whole meal out of the freezer.

For now I am focusing on one main dish a week. I will profile the recipe for those who are interested. Look for that in August as well!

Do any of you do freezer cooking? What are some of your favorite freezer meals?


  1. My sister and I did a huge batch of freezer cooking last weekend, and now my freezer is stocked for the next month or so! It is making meal planning so much easier. Good luck with your challenge!

  2. I have made a few things for the freezer, such as a huge batch of spaghetti sauce and rolls of homemade cookie dough, but never had much success with meals. They always ended up either covered in frost or watery and weird texture when cooked. I am looking forward to hearing about your recipes because maybe I was just making the wrong things! It sounds like such a neat idea--having food ready made at your fingertips but in the freezer rather than a box of convenience food that is loaded with preservatives and sodium. :) Be sure to take some pictures when you are doing this. :)

  3. I love freezer cooking! I have made it a habit to automatically triple any pasta dish I make so that I can 'feed the freezer' for later. I've only done one actual day of cooking but I have switched my shopping habits to include more freezer meals. For instance, if the store has B1G1F on pork roasts, I buy 6 and prep 5 for the freezer.

    Here's the details of my first attempt, if you are interested - http://moderatemeans.blogspot.com/2010/05/once-month-cooking.html


  4. I heard some things do freeze better then others. We are getting a deep freezer soon so this will be agreat series for me to read.

  5. I have always been intimidated by cooking once a month but doubling one recipe? That I can do! Recipes please and thanks for the manageable idea. :)

  6. I don't do freezer cooking per se- as in, I don't cook two of the same meal and freeze one. What I do is more freezer prep. My freezer is stocked full of meals my husband or I can pull out and defrost the night before and cook (crockpot/ stovetop/ oven/ grill) the next day. I started out by going to a meal prep place (Let's Dish) and making meals there, after awhile I figured out what we liked, what worked well and how to prep my own meals from favorite recipes so I wasn't measuring out ingredients for recipes every night. I usually can prep 8-10 meals in an hour or so. Some have sides, some don't. Some are as simple as tossing a piece of meat in a marinade and adding a baggie of rice or a package of sweet potato fries, some are a little more involved. I just write the instructions right on the bag- everything gets frozen flat so we can get quite a bit in there. I keep a running list of what is in the freezer right on the door, crossing things off as we use them. We love it and it is so easy and nice to have meals ready to go. This also makes it really easy to shop sale meat and still have a ton of options. I think we have 13 meals in our freezer right now- everything from Rum Glazed Shrimp to Asian BBQ Crock-Pot Beef.

  7. I love freezer cooking but can't do it in the summer time out here. My freezer is in the garage because there is nowhere to fit it in the house. During our crazy summer heat there is no way that I can keep the freezer on because it will run 80% of the day. I made that mistake one year and my electric bill went up $200 more a month! -Rose :)

  8. Miss Erin- The Asian BBQ Crock-Pot Beef sounds good! I think I am going to try to do a lot of freezer prep as well so that some meals (such as chicken or beef) is *almost* ready right out of the freezer. Thanks for the tips!

    Moderate Means- I read your post and love it! The only downside?! No recipes!! I want/need/have to have some of those recipes. I think I'll have to put that book on my Paper Back Wishlist.

    So glad that some of you are excited by this challenge! I can't wait to share some of my recipes with you and hope that some of you will share recipes with me! Anyone can e-mail their favorite recipes to babys_mama1 "at" yahoo.com



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