Monday, July 14, 2014

Freezer meals? Anyone?

So this upcoming school year is going to be bananas. Like, far worse than it usually is. Between me having two jobs, Matt working upwards of 70 hours each week, both kids in school, Olivia with dance and Jackson possibly in karate, I'm really worried I'm going to be that mom in the McDonald's drive thru multiple times a week.

Not that that is the worst thing ever, at least you're feeding your kids, I just feel like if we really get to that point, something has to go.

But I am also cognizant that it's really difficult to come home at the end of a long day and make a meal from scratch. If I'm working until 9pm, that means Matt is going to be left cooking dinner a few nights and he's even worse because he'll literally let the kids just eat cereal and cold hot dogs for dinner. The worst meal prepared was ice cream with pop tarts and he called it good.

In order to prevent this, I'm going to try getting on the freezer meal bandwagon. It was all the rage a year or two ago and it's kind of faded away and I'm not totally sure why. But in the essence of saving money and time, this seems like the most plausible thing for me to do.

So in the next few months I'm going to try out meals and then start doing the large planning weekends where people whip out multiple meals in one afternoon and are seat for weeks. Which sounds like an absolute dream but I am certain I'm going to hit some road blocks. So here are some questions for you:

If you currently do freezer meals:

1. Can you literally do any meal and make it a freezer meal or do you look for specific recipes?
2. What are you storing these meals in so they don't get freezer burned?
3. Any tips on foods to avoid for freezing?

I found one freezer cookbook at the library sale and honestly, none of the recipes looked that good once I really started looking at them. I have found a few things on Pinterest that look promising so I am hoping this weekend I can plan out 5 meals to try to prepare all in one afternoon and see what I think of this. I'll keep you updated!


Life Love & High Heels said...

What about just freezing the meat already prepared? For example, taco meat, sloppy joes, etc and then all you need to have are the rest that makes up a taco? Or maybe Matt could learn to make hamburger helper? We ate that a ton growing up.

Unknown said...

I do crock pot freezer meals and occasionally do a freezer lasagna.

those are some decent examples. For matt I would have simple Boil in bag rice or pasta to go with them.

Kattrina said...

I don't really do freezer meals but I definitely do a bunch of meals on Sunday and freeze stuff for easy use. For example, I try to make a bunch of plain chicken in the crock that I can shred and then put in the fridge for the week or the freezer for a later time. It's super easy to just heat it up and pour a sauce over it and call it a meal. I also do the same with bean (I cook them in the crock pot) and lentils - I cook large batches and put them in the freezer. Then I can easily get to them and make stuff with them. If Ivan's in charge of dinner I usually have him cook eggs - eggs with tomatoes, eggs with cabbage, eggs with beans, etc. He can handle that pretty well and it's not the worst thing in the world. Or I have a crock pot meal cooking and he eats that when it's done. I find the easiest thing is to make sure Ivan knows what is for dinner, because if I haven't told him, he can't figure it out as well. Good luck and let me know if you find any good recipes!

ComfyMom~Stacey said...

I do a two week meal prep where I plan out 12 meals (the other 2 are leftovers or take out) and then sort out and bag up what I need for each. I plan them so when one meal I am baking chicken breasts I bake a double amount & save the extra for chicken salad or soup or some other dish that needs cooked chicken. Same with ground beef. I'll brown two pounds, use one to make cheeseburger pie & the other for tacos. Or you can pre brown them and freeze them in portions but I generally have enough time pre-cooking all the meat isn't necessary. I freeze meat with marinades added so they marinate as they thaw & then just need grilled/broiled & some raw veggies on the side.
Seriously, giving up the idea that vegetables have to be cooked has been liberating & the kids are more willing to eat stuff raw.
I just use my existing recipes and plan them out to use some of the same ingredients & just prepare everything up to the cooking point. So I only chop onions once for 4 meals & divide them up in baggies. I like quick stews, cut up the meat & the veggies, freeze in separate bags & then put in a larger bag with a card saying what to do. Put frozen bag in fridge in the morning & then you need maybe 30 minutes for stew, and only 5 minutes of work (browning the meat) for supper.
I don't crock pot very often. I think everything I make in it tastes watery.
I got one of those Food Saver machines for Xmas a couple years back & use it for long term freezing but if I have meat fresh from the store I will be using in the next two weeks or raw veggies I just use regular freezer bags. Quart size for the various ingredients and then stuff all the meal's ingredient bags into a gallon sized one.

Julie H said...

There's a lot of pins on Pinterest.