Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Freezer Meals and Food Prep

It is no secret than moms are busy people.  Wake people up, get them fed and dressed, send them to school or school them yourself, clean the house, run errands, run kids to sports or lessons, fix dinner.  The list goes on and on.  And on!

Sometimes there is just seemingly not enough time in the day.  I am right there with you!

Through the years, in an effort to lighten my load and preserve my sanity, I have tried to find little ways to help make my life easier.  Especially when it comes to cooking.  As a homeschooling mom, I typically fix THREE meals a day.  Sometimes more, sometimes less, but you get the idea.  That is a lot of time in the kitchen.  A lot!   

One way to do that, especially in certain seasons in my life, has been freezer meals and meal prep.

Let's start with freezer meals.

There are lots of programs and subscriptions out there, but the main idea is fix things ahead of time in a large prep day and freeze.  Then when you are busy you can just pull a prepared meal out of the freezer and go.  While many of those meals advertised are crock pot friendly, they do not have to be!  I have many "packet" meals in my freezer that are defrosted the night before and cooked on the grill, as well as skillet meals and casseroles to pop in the oven.  The main point is the timely prep is already done and you just have to factor in cooking time. 

The last time I did a freezer cooking prep I froze 12 meals (two of 6 different recipes) and 13 "just meat" bags. (pork loins, pork chops, hamburgers, chicken breasts, rotisserie chicken, fish and ground beef.)

That equated to 25 freezer meals at a cost of about $5.04 each for meat.

I will tell you that the MyFreezEasy plan is one of the best I have used.  (NOT an affiliate, just sharing!)  With a subscription you get monthly meal ideas and are able to mix and match as you like, as well as adjust your serving size to fit your family.   Erin Chase, creator of the $5 Dollar Dinners and MyFreezEasy, provides amazing options to include Keto, and Paleo/Whole30, clean eating, and kid    friendly meals.  Once you choose the meals you want to fix for the week or month, you print the menus, shopping lists, and directions and you are ready to go!  SO SIMPLE! 

I usually choose 4-6 recipes (each recipe makes two meals) to make each month and freeze so I always have a good selection in my freezer.  Our family typically uses them twice a week.

As far as further meal prep, I have blogged on this before.  Here are a few of my basic recommendations-

  • Buy rotisserie chickens!  I used to cook whole chickens myself, but since we do not have access to our own chickens at the moment, I have found Costco chickens to be a life saver.  I buy two each month for less than $5.00 a piece and come home and immediately de-bone them and freeze.  Two chickens yield 4 freezer packs of meat for our family!  We use them in casseroles, salads, tacos, stir fry, and soups!

  • Brown meats ahead of time.  I am not always good at this, but at the very least buy in bulk and separate into meal size packages.  If you have time when you first get home with ground beef, go on and brown it up and freeze in batches. It will save you time in the long run!
  • Shape and freeze hamburger patties. Again, saves you time on a busy night!
  • Filet chicken breasts.  First it saves you money!  And secondly, it yields a more appropriate serving size of 4-6 ounces of meat!

I am sure there are so many more ideas- feel free to share!

And have fun planning and cooking!


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