Thursday, February 17, 2011

Freezer Cooking

As a working mom, I really struggle getting dinner on the table every night.  I’m sure you can relate.  We rarely make it home by 6PM, and our toddler is typically ravenous by this time and begging for snacks.  It is one of my New Year’s resolutions to figure out some solutions that will work for us.  And contrary to what my three year old would like, that doesn’t include hot dogs.

My first strategy has been instituting Slow Cooker Mondays.  I do the prep Sunday night so that I just have to pour everything in the next morning and turn on the slow cooker.  It’s wonderful to come home every Monday night to a delicious smelling house and dinner ready!  And since there are only three of us, there are inevitably leftovers for Tuesday!

My second strategy is to take up freezer cooking.  How incredible would it be to have a freezer stocked with meals ready to go?  I’ve found lots of resources online for recipes and strategies for freezer cooking that I thought I would share with you. (You can also check out this book and this book – I have and love them both!)

These are three of the many recipes available with special instructions for freezer preparation and cooking.
  1. Buffalo Chicken Shepherd’s Pie from Once a Month Mom
  2. Baked Penne with Chicken and Sun-Dried Tomatoes by Freeze Happy
  3. Italian Flank Steak Pinwheels from Once a Month Mom
My favorite resources online for freezer cooking planning are Once a Month MomLife As Mom, and Freeze Happy.

Each of them provide recommendations on how to store your goods as well as recipes.  Once a Month Mom even provides menus, shopping lists, printable recipe cards and detailed instructions for the day of cooking (even podcasts!). A day of cooking seems like a small price to pay to have a month’s worth of meals in the freezer ready to go.  But unlike G, cooking is not one of those activities I really enjoy.  So why not share the activity with a bunch of girlfriends?  Gossip and laughter make any activity bearable!  Even chopping 6 onions in one sitting!

By planning out your recipes and quantities of ingredients appropriately, you can expedite the process significantly and even save money.  You can gear your menu toward what is on sale and share shopping responsibilities.  On the day of, you’ll want to make assignments, like chopping veggies for all recipes, prep of the meats, and actual cooking/assembling or packaging.  I imagine it almost as an assembly line of food prep.  And how fun would that be with the girls!  The best part is you each go home with meals to stock your freezer!

To make your day even more enjoyable (and save one planning step for you) make sure to check out our Delicious Exchange pack.  It would be perfect for your Freezer Cooking party!

By the way, love the idea of throwing a freezer cooking shower for a pregnant friend.  What new mom has time to cook? Chef Tess Bakeresse has more ideas on planning a “Storking the Freezer” as a baby shower theme.



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