Do you like saving money on home-cooked food, but hate actually doing the cooking part?
I’ve been on a huge home-cooking spree in the past half a year or so in a desperate effort to tone down my food budget. I’ve tried finding and collecting new recipes, planning my meals, and even streamlining my cooking process so it’s not as painful.
But still, even with all the progress I’ve made in cooking more meals at home, I still haven’t solved one big problem yet: how to eat home-cooked meals each night without actually going through all the hassle of cooking them. First-world problems, I know.
Nevertheless, it’s still a problem that needs solving, and I’ve recently found just the thing. It’s cheap. It’s almost too simple. It saves a ton of time. It’s…
Wait, wait, wait…what’s freezer cooking all about?
It’s a simple process, and it’s broken down into three easy steps:
- Do all the meal prep on the weekend, or when you have more time available. This involves pre-cooking of meats, chopping vegetables, mixing everything together, etc… At the end, you put all of the raw ingredients together in a bag, and pop it in the freezer—preferably on a cookie sheet, so it freezes flat.
- Thaw the meals so they’re defrosted when you want to cook them. You can thaw them the same morning you’re planning on cooking (use warm water), or thaw it in the fridge. I usually find it takes two days at least to fully thaw in the fridge.
- Pop all the contents of the bag into your slow-cooker before you head off to work for the day, or pop it in the oven when you get home from work.
It’s so simple! All you have to do on the day you want to eat it is cook it in a brainless way that doesn’t require chopping, hours of stirring, watching when to add certain ingredients in the right order, etc… Why didn’t I find out about this sooner?
What I really like about freezer cooking
Freezer cooking has definitely made my life a lot easier. Here’s why:
- It saves time. I can do all the meal prep in one go, rather than in seven separate sessions.
- It saves money. If there’s a sale on a certain cut of meat one week, I can stock up and make a whole pile of meals ready-to-go. Recently my grocery store had BOGO pork chops—guess what’s in my freezer now?
- It’s easy. The types of meals amenable to freezer cooking are simple to make and don’t require a lot of fancy ingredients or hassle.
- It makes my freezer more organized. I freeze everything on cookie sheets so it’s flat, and as a result, I literally have a library of meals in my freezer.
- It lets Zach eat meals while I’m away. I am doing scientific research this summer, and as a result I’m away for days at a time while in the field. With freezer cooking, I can make the meals before I go and even my husband can figure out how to cook them for dinner.
What I don’t like about freezer cooking
There aren’t many downsides to freezer cooking, but there are a few that I’ve found:
- It can be a bit wasteful. Each batch calls for a separate plastic bag, and some recipes are frozen directly in disposable aluminum trays. It’s a bit much to throw away. I suppose you could always wash and reuse the bags and nix the aluminum trays, though.
- The types of recipes amenable to freezer cooking is limited. It requires a special type of food to be able to be frozen and cooked all together in one go. You might not find all the recipes that you might otherwise like to eat with this method alone. But, no one ever said you had to stick to freezer cooking! I still like to make fresh meals during the week too.
You can learn to freezer cook too!
Freezer cooking isn’t rocket science, but it still helps to have some guidance when you’re just starting out.
I started out by subscribing to Erin Chase’s MyFreezeasy membership program because it’s saved me so much time from running around all the corners of the internet to find the best freezer cooking recipes. I really like her program because she comes out with tons of new meals each month, and my husband never gets bored of them! She also has videos and in-depth shopping guides, preparation instructions, and printable labels for each meal.
For even more freezer cooking recipes, I recently started up an entire Freezer Cooking board on Pinterest. You can check it out here!
Most of the freezer cooking meals rely on slow-cookers because it’s pretty much the easiest way to cook meals. Even so, sometimes I have problems with slow-cooker cooking. Sometimes the food I make comes out dry, or just plain…weird. Craftsy has a great class that I’m going to take soon about slow-cooker cooking, and it looks like it’ll be super helpful!
(note: this post may contain affiliate links)
Have you tried freezer cooking? What did you like or not like about it? Leave a comment below!
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