I don’t do freezer cooking because…I don’t like to eat from the freezer.
When I wasn’t pregnant, I actually liked cooking dinner every night. Pregnant, I tolerate it. (I’m so looking forward to going back to liking it!)
“Normal” freezer cooking consists of preparing foods either completely or partially and then freezing them as meals. That is, you might prepare soups and freeze them. Or, you might make meatloaves and freeze those uncooked (that’s one meal I’d actually eat, since it would still be “fresh”).
It works just fine and many people love it — pulling a basically ready-to-eat meal out of the freezer when they don’t have time to cook.
Me? I’d honestly sooner run to the store, buy fresh ingredients, and spend two hours cooking dinner while exhausted than eat what’s in my freezer, most of the time. Ridiculous? My husband says yes. I’m okay with that.
However, I’ve come up with a way to make freezer cooking work for me….
My Freezer Cooking Plan
I don’t prepare meals. I prepare ingredients. That’s what takes the time, right, when you’re doing traditional cooking? So that’s what I do. Then, any meal I want to make can be thrown together quickly, but is still fresh!
Here are some ideas on what to prepare in advance, for both freezer and pantry:
- Loaves of bread, finished or through the first rise
- Chicken or beef stock (I freeze in ice cubes, or 2 – 6 cup portions)
- Frozen or home-canned fruits
- Properly soaked and cooked beans, frozen in 1 – 2 cup portions
- Sprouted grains (unground if possible)
- Spice mixes (taco seasoning, fish seasoning, etc.)
- Rice mixes (rice, dehydrated veggies, spices)
- Soaked and dried nuts
- Soaked and dried oats
- Marinated, sliced meats
- Breaded meats (like chicken nuggets)
With these sorts of things on hand, foods can be prepared quickly! I could throw together a pot of chili in 30 minutes when I’ve got the stock and properly cooked beans already prepared. Just about any meal could come together in 30 minutes or less if I have the ingredients I need ready. Which is huge for me — I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to cook dinner and thought, “Darn, I didn’t soak the beans…have to change the plan.”
Maybe this is just because I grew up eating SAD (Standard American Diet) and I used to open cans and boxes to make dinner. But really…who couldn’t use a little extra convenience? It doesn’t take anymore time to soak and cook 4x as many beans and freeze as it does to make enough for one meal. It was frustrating to look at all the ingredients in my house…and know that without preparation they really weren’t an option for that day’s meals!
Do you do any form of freezer cooking? Does or would this modified version work for you?