I like freshly cooked meals.
Okay, that’s my big confession. So traditional “freezer cooking” wasn’t working for me. Every time I tried, I came up with an excuse for why I didn’t want to do it. But that’s the biggest reason: I wouldn’t eat what was prepared in my freezer! And that is a waste of time and food.
Luckily, there was still a way to do freezer cooking and not have to just fill my freezer with a bunch of soups and casseroles that were already prepared. Curious what I ended up doing?
The way that I cook, advance preparation is everything. I have to constantly check my meal plan to see if something needs marinated, or soaked, or something in advance. It doesn’t do me any good to look at the meal plan at 4 pm and go, “Oh…I should have soaked some beans last night….” There are meals I make that aren’t like that (like taco salad), but a fair amount are.
What am I going to do if I don’t have soaked beans…or sprouted grains…or marinated meat…or stock? Those would be huge issues! They’re not time-consuming, in that they don’t require any work from me, but they do require a lot of wait time.
I decided my best option was to do as much of this stuff as possible. This advance prep on the ingredients, so that if I wanted to make dinner I could just pull ingredients out of the freezer and throw them in a pot. It took chili prep from 24 hours to 30 minutes. That is soooo convenient! And it really didn’t require that much work, so I might keep doing it even after baby arrives and we’re settled.
So what’s in my freezer now?
- 6 lbs. chicken nuggets
- 6 lbs. marinated strip steak (for stir-fry or taco salads)
- 4 2-c. packages of black beans
- 4 2-c. packages of red beans
- 15 qts. of chicken stock
- 10 qts. beef stock (I’m still making more)
- 2 cooked, sliced beef roasts
I’ll probably do more beans if I have time over the next few days, adding pinto beans (which I’ll do as refried) and garbanzo beans too, as well as more red/black. It just saves so much time!
These ingredients are versatile, too. Beans could be tossed in soups or served alongside strip steak. Chicken nuggets could be served with some quickly baked fries (which my husband can easily make) or some mac’n’cheese. Fresh fruits and vegetables will easily round out our meals. I’ll likely make a couple salad dressings to add to the fridge too, and I’ve bought some organic salsa and corn chips to keep in the pantry.
And I’m not stuck eating junk food, take-out, or frozen meals I just don’t really want! It’s my perfect solution.
Have you done any freezer cooking? What did you freeze?