Make Ahead Freezer Meal Recipes and Batch Cooking Ideas
Whether you actually like to cook or not, having a small freezer stash of either full meals (think casserole) or meal kits (think chicken or flank steak frozen in a bag with marinade that can be moved the frig in the morning or the night before to defrost, then thrown on the grill or into the oven) can really simplify dinner on those crazy nights. Even if you dno't want to cook ahead or fix freezer meal kits, just having small packages of ground beef in the freezer lets you stock up during sales.
There are several ways of thinking about cooking ahead. You might set aside a day and "cook for a month." This can be especially useful if you work nights or just need someone else to start dinner for you before you get home. I don't have full monthly plans for this method as it's not what I follow.
You can also just double whatever you're fixing on the nights it makes sense. Meatloaf and meatballs, even hamburgers, are easy to double and freeze. You can also just set aside a day for fixing lots of whatever is on sale that week. Cook up some chicken dishes, prepare a 10 pound bag of potatoes, roast a few chickens, etc. Here are some articles to get you started.
- Boiling Ground Beef
- Potatoes Every Which Way
- Stretch that Beef Roast
- Stretch That Chicken or Turkey
- Save Money with Chicken Leg Quarters
- Calculate the Cost Per Serving
- Save Money with Your Crockpot Slow Cooker
- How to Cook Dried Beans
And while this article was written in terms of giving others the gift of freezer meals, it might spur some ideas for yourself as well! Don't neglect breakfast items, for example. A few frozen muffins or Egg McMoms can be a lifesaver on a hectic morning!
Here are a few recipes that freeze well.
- Meat Pies or Cornish Pasties
- Flank Steak with Marinade
- Breakfast Burritos
- Eggplant Parmesan
- Chicken Enchiladas
- Baked Ziti with Meat Sauce
- Pizza Dough
- Pulled Pork (freeze after cooking)
- Bean Soup
Here are some of my favorite cookbooks for learning how to cook ahead and do some freezer cooking.