It’s 6:30 and I’m sure some evil time fairy has stolen the last few hours because I swear it was just 3:00pm a few minutes ago.
The stove is mysteriously devoid of any pots, cooking utensils, or yummy smells. A quick search of the fridge and cupboards produces one box of Annie’s mac and cheese, some eggs, pasta, white rice, and a bunch of things that should have been set out to defrost hours ago if we had wanted them for dinner.
The things that I had planned for dinner over a week ago are missing key ingredients because our plans changed and we went out to dinner on the night I was going to cook or decided to make something else and before we knew it the spinach was oozing slime in the stay fresh bag and the cheese had inexplicably disappeared. Possibly buried beneath foods that have passed their expiration dates and would only be beneficial for a science experiment.
By now the kids have sensed that there is no dinner forthcoming and are scrounging for snack food while I try to ward off the hungry masses with promises of… Cereal or PB&J’s.
This was the scene in our house all too often.
Enter freezer cooking, the key to being able to eat dinner as a family for the
lazy and disorganized, busy and free-spirited. The benefits far outweigh the work required upfront.
- I don’t have to worry about what to cook at 6:30.
- I don’t have to run to the grocery store with all 3 kids in tow because we are out of one ingredient needed for dinner that night.
- I save time in shopping once a month and each subsequent shopping trip is only for staples.
- We know at the start of the month, what our food budget will be.
- In the battle to lose weight, having preplanned and cooked meals help to reduce impulse buying or eating out and choosing less healthy options.
- We can enjoy more time doing other things in the evening instead of cooking, grocery shopping, or cleanup.
- Cleanup is usually only one pan or one pot.
- We still have a meal if I’m running late after a long day of home school, activities, or beautiful weather calling my name.
- We have a premade freezer meal if we have surprise company, or need to drop food off for someone who is ill, had a baby, or is just in need of a blessing, without having to scramble to put something together.
So how does on who is, ahem, free-spirited and busy get it all together to cook over one month’s meals in one day?
I’ll tell you the secret. I go to the ancient fount of all that is wise and wonderful. Pinterest.
There are magnificent women who have forged ahead into unknown territory to try out, plan, and organize an entire month’s worth of recipes that can be batch cooked in one day, complete with shopping lists, recipes, and even labels. The have blazed a path for those who would come later, burnt out from cooking every day. Let’s all take a moment of silence to honor them.
Have I sold you yet? Maybe this will help, when you are looking into the depths of your fridge at 6:00pm after a long day of errands, work, or mothering, and just want to lay on the couch with that book you have been dying to get back to or the next episode of Once Upon A Time, but you can’t because you have to scrounge up something to feed your family, think, you could be eating by now if you’d spent those days freezer cooking.
- But what about our special dietary needs?
- What about eating whole foods? We don’t want hamburger helper or tater tot casserole, are there options for healthy non-processed recipes?
- What can I freeze? How do you package or reheat things?
- How can I still use our favorite family recipes and freezer cook?
- What if I don’t have a deep freezer?
- How can I still shop the ads or use coupons if I’m cooking a month in advance?
- What if we only get paid once a week or bi-weekly? Can we still freezer cook?
Stay tuned this week as we journey together through the ins and outs of freezer cooking. I’ll be answering those questions as well as doing my best to address any questions you leave in the comments. I’ll also have some great resources and links from my favorite sources of freezer cooking wisdom for feeding my family.