When my freezer gets empty, I think about making freezer meals again. Back to school is a great time to have meals on hand. It can sure help with the transition and adjustment of schedule changes to have some evening meals prepared and ready to go. For me, I’ve found that I enjoy cooking when I have the time. On the school evenings, there is often not enough time. Or if there is, I still use minutes to cook that sacrifice my availability to be there for my children as I would like. I literally feel a sense of relief and “I can rock this day” in the morning when I get out a prepared meal to thaw and bake for dinner that evening.
How do I make a plan?
I have some suggestions. I’ve done freezer meal prep a few different ways.
With a friend all at once.
Get with a friend and decide on recipes you both love. Split up the shopping or go together. Set aside half a day to prepare and package meals. The end result is several meals for your freezer. The best part of this one is that working together makes it a lot more fun!
One time a friend and I each found three recipes we wanted to make. We talked about the recipes to make sure both of our families would like them. Then, she made her three recipes and doubled them and I made mine. We arranged a day or week that we would have them ready to “swap”. My kids really liked this because it was fun to them to eat something that a friend made. Sometimes I get in a rut and her recipes were things my kids weren’t tired of me making. Another way to meal swap is to form a bigger group. If there are five in your group, each person makes five of the one dish and then you all swap.
A little at a time.
The way that I most often do freezer meals is to just plan one or two recipes into my weekly schedule that are easy to double and will freeze well. You can do this and “save up” the freezer meals for the season you know will be busiest. Or you can immediately start eating the freezer meals on nights you don’t have time to cook. If you pull out one freezer meal a week and cook to freeze one recipe a week, then you can keep up.
What recipes should I use?
There are a few dishes that my family likes that work especially well for the freezer, so I will share a list of those here. I don’t really have recipes in writing for these things. I’m not real good about doing the same thing every time on cooking! I usually prepare and freeze these unbaked or uncooked. Then I thaw in the fridge 24 hours ahead (if I remember) or just set the pan out a couple of hours before time to bake. Here are a few of my favorite things to prep and freeze:
- Chicken Alfredo bake
- Mexican casserole
- Chicken and rice bake
- BBQ chicken (for crock pot)
There are so many good websites with freezer meals, so I encourage you to look around and find things that sound good. I’ve enjoyed trying some of the Ziploc bag recipes you can freeze and then dump into the crock pot later. If you have a favorite recipe, feel free to share it here in the comments with us all!
I don’t always cater my cooking to picky members of the family, but I generally choose freezer meals that they all like. Sometimes a prepared freezer meal is the very thing that allows time to sit around the table with the people that I love before someone has to rush off to an evening activity. And just like that, dinner becomes a bright spot in a crazy day for mom and the entire family.