An Easy Freezer Cooking Method for Everyone
We've all seen the blog posts and articles on freezer cooking enough for a month's worth of meals. I have a hard enough time even planning meals for a week, let alone prepping them. I bought all sorts of books and meal planning tools only to fail with every different method. Finally, I followed my intuition and figured out an easy freezer cooking method that works for me. These fuss-free freezer cooking tips will reduce your stress and your meal prepping time.
How to Start My Easy Freezer Cooking MethodThe base to starting your easy freezer cooking is making a list of recipes or recipe components that you find yourself making over and over. Can any of those recipes be broken down into easy-to-freeze component? Such as:
- Mirepoix – this blend of onions, celery, and carrots makes up the base of most soups and some sauces.
- Sauces – teriyaki, marinara, and others for your favorite meals
- Vegetables – do you make stews and pot roast a lot? Usually, they call for the same set of veggies that freeze well together without the meat.
The Easy Freezer Cooking MethodAre you ready for this? This easy freezer cooking method is as simple as buying extra of the ingredients and components that freeze well.
- Prepare your favorite meal or side dish.
- Make extra of the base components that freeze well.
Examples of My Basic Freezer Cooking
- While making soup for dinner, I'll make three times as much mirepoix as needed and portion and freeze the extra two-thirds.
- When making baked meatballs, I'll double or triple the batch to freeze extras. These meatballs go great in a variety of meals – pasta, casseroles, soups, even frittatas! Just last night I threw together a meatball soup with odds and ends from our freezer and fridge.
- Taco meat is one of our go-to's. I'll make about 5lbs in the slow cooker, portion and freeze into freezer quart bags. It's very versatile – tacos, burritos, taco salad, nachos, etc.
- Kitchen scraps & bones for bone broth – I freeze onion skins, carrot peels, celery ends, and bones from making roast chicken. When it's time for another batch of bone broth, I pull what I need from the freezer!
- Sauces for slow cooker meals. One of our favorite slow cooker meals uses a cilantro-lime sauce made in the blender. I make a few extra batches and freeze the extra portions flat in freezer quart bags to just dump in the slow cooker for future meals.
- Slice and bake cookie dough – make a double batch, roll half into parchment paper and freeze in a freezer bag.
Freezer Cooking LeftoversWhile preparing those basic components in advance is the base of my fuss-free freezer cooking tips, the real winner is freezing my leftovers. Freezing my leftovers not only helps in a pinch when we have nothing planned for dinner – but it helps me when traveling with food allergies.
- Leftover soups, chilis, and stews in individual portions.
- Leftover cooked rice or quinoa in quart-sized freezer bags – very handy when you need these grains in a pinch!
- Leftover sauce-based dishes like stroganoff or tikka masala.
Organizing Tips for Easy Freezer CookingIt's easy for freezer cooking to get out of control when everything is a different shape. When your freezer is chaos, it takes away some of the benefits of easy freezer cooking. These organizing & space saving tips for easy freezer cooking will help save your sanity!
- Liquids in freezer bags – squeeze all the air out and freeze flat. Store in box organizers standing up.
- Thicker items, like soups and sauce-based meals – put in a freezer bag placed into a shaped container, like an 8x8 pan or loaf pan. After frozen solid, lift out of the pan and stack
- For small casseroles, line the pan with parchment paper and freeze. Once frozen, lift out of the pan using the parchment paper and put in a freezer bag.
- Label everything with what's in the bag and the date. When restocking the freezer, move older things forward and newer items to the back.
- Take a mental inventory when restocking, or keep a formal inventory on the outside of your freezer. You don't want a dozen bags of the same thing, but next to nothing of another favorite!