Meal Planning for Freezer Cooking

Green Salsa Chicken

We are going to fill the freezer this next week or two. I am coming up against some heavy duty deadlines in Cookbook Hell, I mean in Happy Cookbook Land. That means that there are some days this month when I’ll be cooking like a fiend, making sure that the final tweaks are just right on these recipes. Other days will have me hunched over my computer, typing like my life depended on it.

The former means that we’ll have more than enough to eat. The latter means my poor husband may be tempted to a Panda Feast every night of the week. Just a little bit ironic, no? The cobblers kids have no shoes and all that jazz.

The solution is to make sure that we have plenty of go-to meals in the freezer. So, I’m planning a huge, ginormous, freezer cooking extravaganza this week. I’m really hoping that the big boys will help me pull it off. We’ll see.

Anyway, if you’ve wondered how to plan a freezer cooking session, here’s your introduction. For you pros, here’s a refresher, or at least a glimpse into how I do it.

1. Examine what you already have.

On the heels of the Pantry Challenge, I actually have not a lot of anything. I’ve got a butternut squash and some beans in the pantry, and some baking supplies, but that’s about it. I’ll be roasting the squash and cooking beans this week.

2. Check the sales.

This I can do. Boneless, skinless chicken breast is on sale for $1.97 at Ralphs. So, we’ll make lots of chicken dishes. I know that I can get ground beef for a decent price at Costco, so we’ll go that route as well.

3. Consider your needs.

I need easy meals that won’t take a lot of prep or input from me: quick lunches, simple breakfasts, fast dinner recipes. That means that we’ll lean on these items:

Trader joe's june week one

4. Make a list.

As you gather your recipes, begin to create a grocery list of all the things that you need. I often divide this list according to stores that I shop at to make it easier. I’ll buy the beef and beans at Costco as well as any cheese or bulk items. I’ll grab the chicken at Ralphs along with small specialty items that Costco might not have.

Check the list twice since it’s such a huge bummer to be in the middle of a cooking session and run out of the things that you need.

5. Go shopping.

Sometimes the idea of shopping wears me out, but if I do it well, then the cooking session goes well and we eat even better in the month to come.

So, that’s my “meal plan” for the week. I’ll be sharing the cooking plan and grocery list later this week at Life as MOM’s Freezer Cooking Days.

Doing any freezer cooking this week?

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Comments

  1. When is your new cookbook going to be released for purchase? I’m patiently waiting. :)

  2. I seriously need fill my freezer this week with snacks for the kids. But I´m also hoping to empty my freezer. I have lots of venison that I want to can to have some simple meals ready for when school starts. My family has been in mourning all summer with no carne guisada.

    By the way, if you´re wanting reviewers for your new cookbook, I´d love to be one. I loved Not Your Mama´s Freezer Meals.

  3. I use a spring loaded scoop to make my meatballs which really cuts down on rolling.

  4. I wish I could find chicken at that price. That’s my mental “acceptable price” and I haven’t seen it that low in ages. It is ON SALE this week at $3.99 and the ad says it is saving $1.50/lb! We’ve eaten a lot less chicken lately. I can get an entire rotisserie already cooked chicken from the deli for $5, why would I spend that on one pound of breast? We actually prefer the dark meat (although obviously some recipes just need the B/S breast) which was convenient since that price was usually significantly cheaper. I remember getting it for $0.69/lb, then it went up to $0.99/lb, and now even the bone-in thighs are around $2/lb. Ridiculous.

    • My target price used to be a buck, then two bucks, now I’m often lucky if I can get it under three. It is ridiculous.

  5. I’m hoping to get breakfast burritos made. For some reason I’ve been in the mood to do breakfast foods lately, so I’m taking advantage of the motivation :) Last week I made and froze 4 batches of buttermilk wholewheat blueberry pancakes and 2 trays of blueberry lemon sweet rolls. It’s time for something savory!

  6. For meals, I just do the double (sometimes triple) the recipe and freeze the 2nd one for later, routine. Or cook a bunch of ground beef or chicken (chop it up) and freeze the rest of it in portions for later.

    • That works best or me too!

    • I do that too… but mainly because I have a small family and most recipes give serving sizes of 4-6 or larger. To make it worse my husband works nights half of the week so half of the week we are down to 2 people. My favorite things to make that “freezer friendly” are cinnamon rolls and bread recipes that I can make and freeze half of the batch so there isn’t 12 rolls for the 2 or 3 of us. Hello portion control :)

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