For those of you new to this, check out a previous post I did on Freezer Cooking Tips! And I have some new ones for you below...
1. Try swapping meals. Find a friend or family member who likes to or wants to try Freezer Meals. I tried this out for the first time recently and it was a great way to switch things up. I made 14 meals (each recipe makes two meals worth) and swapped with someone and ended up with 28 different meals in my freezer...enough to last my family for more than a month.
2. Buy bulk bags of frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts for the meals that call for chicken.
3. Let your kids help. This was the first time I have had one of my kids help with preparing meals. My almost 8 year old daughter and I had a blast doing this together. Even for those of you with slightly younger kids, letting them pour some of the ingredients in the bags lets them feel important. And I have found that when my kids help with dinner, they are less likely to complain about it.
4. I like to do all my grocery shopping for meal ingredients in one big trip. Saves time and gas and money. And don't go food shopping when you're hungry...you'll end up spending money on things not on your list-I know from experience ;)
5. Know your crockpot. Mine cooks very fast so I learned (the hard way) that it won't take 8 hours for mine to cook any meal. If you aren't sure how fast or slow your crockpot settings cook, you might want to try a meal out on a weekend or day you're at home so you can be there to keep an eye on it.
6. There are different containers to store your freezer meals in but my favorite way is with gallon size freezer bags. They are easier to get all the air out of when you are sealing it up and they take up less room in the freezer. Some meals, like the ones you will put in the oven, need to be stored in a different type container. Since you can squeeze all the air out of these containers, make sure you seal them up tightly.
7. Clean your freezer out before you start preparing meals. I got rid of bulky boxes I had in my freezer (that waffles, black bean burgers, etc come in) and put those things in freezer bags. Just doing this (and tossing a few things that had been pushed to the back and forgotten about) made a huge difference in the room I had in my small freezer!
|I didn't think there was any way to fit all these meals into my freezer...amazing what a little reorganizing can do!|
8. Organize your recipes! I found the easiest way to do this was print off the recipe when I find one I like (either by using the print button on the website or copy/paste into a Word document) and then putting them into the clear plastic page protectors and sticking those into a binder. I have organized my binder by chicken, beef, pasta, sandwiches, soups, etc so all the recipes are easy to find. And printing them out lets me make my own notes (such as family favorite, or perfect for when company comes, or even side dishes that go great with them) on each recipe.
Here's a list of some of the sites where I have found great recipes...
Or if you are looking for something in particular (breakfast freezer meals, gluten free freezer meals, etc.) head on over to Pinterest for lots of ideas!!
More to come soon...Stay tuned!