Does the idea of paleo freezer cooking scare you? Do you envision piles and piles of dishes after 12 hours in the kitchen? I don’t blame you! That’s often what freezer cooking means! Fortunately, I have some tips to help you simplify freezer cooking.
n’t do it all in one day
Most freezer cooking resources recommend that you do the prep work the day before but what I mean here is a bit different. Try the following methods:
Cook one week a month instead of one day month
For quite a while, I would spread my freezer cooking over the course of a whole week. I would plan out the meals that I wanted to keep in the freezer, usually about 8 recipes. I would buy enough ingredients to triple all my meals and, each day, I would make at least one of the recipes. We would eat one portion for lunch/dinner that day and freeze the rest. By the end of the week, the freezer was filled with delicious meals without much extra work. Learn how I saved even more time in the kitchen here.
Focus on one food item to batch cook at a time
Batch cooking is a great way to simplify freezer cooking. Instead of preparing whole meals on cooking day, you can prepare specific food items. For example, you can have a baking day and bake piles of muffins, bread, pancakes, etc. You can have a fermented veggies day and another day for soups and stew or even just bone broth and seasonings like onions, garlic, carrots, celery etc. A day for breakfast would also be a great one to do.
The post Make Ahead Freezer Meals and Tips has lots of useful tips. It’s a great starting point for this type of freezer cooking. Read it and get inspired with these breakfast, casserole and slow cooker recipes.
Plan a mini menu
Instead of aiming at filling your freezer for the whole month, you can simply plan for a half month or even just a few meals. Having a few meals in the freezer can make a huge difference when you are trying to stay on track and days get busy. Some people also cook during the weekend and freeze some of the meals for the week. This could be a good option for you. In this helpful post at Empowered Sustenance, Lauren explains in detail how to make 4 days of breakfasts, lunches, and dinner under 2 hours. Once a Month Meals is also a great resource, check out this menu for example. You can also search on Pinterest. You will find lots of freezer cooking pins, just be aware that most of them are just an assortment of recipes that freeze well. Once a Month Meals actually generates your grocery shopping list and your preparation steps. A real time saver!
One last resource that really helped me reduce the overwhelm that comes with freezer cooking is the book and class Grain Free Afternoon Freezer Cooking. The recipes are simple and delicious, the step-by-step instructions and videos take all the guessing work out of the equation.
Think slow cooker
Slow cooker meals are easy to assemble anytime. When you are freezer cooking, assembling an assortment of slow cooker meals is usually the fastest and most efficient method to fill your freezer fast. Some slow cooker meals are so fast to put together, it makes me wonder: why prepare meals like that in advance? Might as well cook as needed if it takes less than 15 minutes! Either way, it can still be a good option, even if just to bless someone with a meal that they can just throw in the slow cooker.
Let me share some links with you to give you an idea:
- A week of family meals in the freezer in 2 hours: A helpful resource, she doesn’t just give you links to freezer recipes, she has them all on the post and explains exactly what she did.
- The Ultimate Whole 30 Freezer Slow Cooker Freezer Cooking Plan: Grocery list and meal planning calendar PDFs are included too.
- Whole Food Crockpot Freezer Meals: This is actually an ebook, but it is very affordable and worth the investment if you are looking for some great freezer cooking help. All the recipes are grain-free, sugar-free and dairy-free. You will get a shopping list, freezing labels
andall the instructions.
Do a meal exchange
If you have friends who have similar dietary restrictions as you, doing a meal exchange with them would be a great way to fill up your freezer without having to cook it all. You pick 2 recipes and cook enough to share with them and they do the same. It’s easier to cook the same recipe six times than to have to make 3 different recipes.
No need to do it all on your own
If your children are old enough to help, enlist them. Even younger children can peel carrots and cut celery. Your husband can help too. Although it might not look quite like this, it will make it easier on you.
Use the right kitchen tools
Obviously, the slow cooker is a wonderful asset, but other kitchen tools will greatly simplify your life.
- Food processor: Really, my food processor is a must when batch cooking!
- Good kitchen knives: You do not want to be working with dull knives.
- Big stock pots: You can use them to saute your veggies and prepare big batches of chili or pasta sauce to freeze.
- Big bowls: You will need them to mix seasonings in your ground meat for example.
- Ziplock bags: By far the easiest way to store your food in the freezer.
I hope these tips help you feel confident that you can do prepare freezer meals without the overwhelm. If you are seasoned at freezer cooking, you might decide to try a few of these ideas and if you are brand new, just give it a try, you can absolutely prepare delicious foods for your family ahead of time without wanting to pull your hair out.