NWR- batch cooking and freezer meals

posted 3 years ago in Cooking
Post # 2
Member
9526 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

We keep chicken, shrimp and salmon in the freezer as well as corn, spinach, peas and broccoli. When I have extra herbs I freeze them with butter and/ or oil. Also, pasta, rice, pasta sauce in the pantry. Fresh potatoes and sweet potatoes last a long time in the fridge. Those can combine to make many easy meals. Does save us money. 

Post # 3
Member
8505 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

pussinboots83 :  I do it, but it’s not for every meal. I basically keep a stash for those nights I don’t feel like cooking something fresh so that I don’t get take out which is pricey and unhealthy. Typical freezer meals for us include marinated steak tips, lasagna, breakfast burritos, muffins, pre-seasoned/cooked taco meat. I know I’ve done others as well but that’s the main stuff I can think of right now. It saves us money primarily because I can make batches when the ingredients are on sale plus avoiding take-out.

If he is resisting start with regular meals you would eat. Don’t jump into a bunch of “cream of something” mystery casseroles if you don’t normally eat that way.

Post # 4
Member
175 posts
Blushing bee

I made 12 freezer bags for crockpot meals, and we usually have 2-3 a week (usually have leftovers and will eat out once a week). It’s great because we always have something ready to cook for the night. I’d love to be even better and have individual meals freezed beforehand but this is a good start. 

I also pre-cook all of my lunches on Sunday for the week. I have some kind of chicken dish, vegetables, potatoes or rice. It works very well for me. 

Post # 6
Member
2514 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2018

Yes. I love freezer cooking. I batch cook breakfast burritos (like 80 burritos at a time) and keep them out in our deep freezer in the garage. I haven’t done actual freezer meals in a little while, but I did them before i had my son and it saved my life PP. I didn’t have to worry about what was for dinner i just pulled out a meal from the fridge! I made chicken pot pies, enchilladas, lasagna….I think i did another pasta dish also. I just stored them in dollar store foil pans and then put them in freezer gallon bags and stacked them. TRY IT!!

Post # 7
Member
929 posts
Busy bee

I do this to some extent. When I am making something like homemade meatballs I will make a double batch and freeze half (or more). I also only make homemade lasagna, so when I do I make two and freeze one. Also when we have alot of soup or meat left from a meal, we freeze the leftovers so we have quick meals ready to eat. I have frozen crockpot meals in the past in zip locks bags but found it was just as easy for me to just make them when desired. One thing that really helps with meal preps for me is that chop up extras that I know I will need later in the week. For example, if I’m chopping up an onion and know I also need one later in the week, I chop up a second one so it’s ready to go.

Post # 8
Member
3442 posts
Sugar bee

I’ve tried the freezer/crock pot thing but I’m not a fan of mushy wet meat and vegetables. 

Post # 9
Member
8505 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

pussinboots83 :  for the lasagna I swear by foil loaf tins. They are just about the size of one lasagna noodle and you can stack them high enough so that you end up with two big pieces of lasagna when you cut them in half. I started doing this because my husband was getting sick of eating it for a week straight when I made a regular sized pan. It’s just enough for one dinner and he can pop it in the oven straight from the freezer. 

Post # 11
Member
2009 posts
Buzzing bee

I freeze things in usable sizes (like single chicken breasts, 2 cups of shredded chicken, a quart of stock). If my husband just wants a quick snack or meal, he can easily pull out a cup of shredded chicken, warm it up with some bbq sauce and make a bbq sandwich. I can pull it out after work and make shredded chicken tacos on the fly, grilled chicken works great over whatever salad we have in the house for a quick lunch. 

I think people are skeptical because it seems like you’re going to be stuck with a bunch of freezer burned, mushy, tastless goop- but that is not true! 

I have 3 categories: 

1- freezer to oven meals: lasagna, enchiladas, casseroles. This is stuff I thaw, and then bake in the oven. It’s typically a full meal. 

2- ingredients: shredded chicken, grilled chicken breasts, pre-formed hamburgers when organic meat is on sale, raw meat with marinade, meatballs (I always make double when I cook them), breakfast sandwiches (egg, meat, cheese, english muffin/tortilla. microwave or throw in the oven to heat up).

3- crockpot dump meals- basically all the ingredients of a crockpot meal put into a gallon freezer bag and frozen. Mostly, nothing is pre-cooked, it’s just pre-mixed. You thaw the bag and dump it in the crock pot the next morning for it to cook.

You can save lots of time and money. You save time because really cooking 2 lasagnas takes the same time as making 1. (same applies to shredded chicken, stock, grilled chicken). It is so nice to either have a full meal ready to go, or a lot of meal components ready for you to start cooking with. 

You save money if you buy in bulk/take advantage of sales. 

Freezer cooking obviously doesn’t really do much for you if you buy items at normal sizes, normal quantities, normal prices and just freeze bulk ingredients. I guess it would be convenient to have them at home already, but you do have to do some prep work to see a real impact.

 

Post # 12
Member
460 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2006

I did the 40 crock pot meals thing once. It took about 4 hours on a Sunday. Cost about $287 for everything. If you don’t have a deep freezer, don’t make that many. I didn’t have one and I was honestly so excited about not having to cook for a while that I didn’t think about the freezer space lol! Everything fit but it was literally making my shelves curve down a little and the bottom meals would get squeezed by the weight of the top ones so I had a few that leaked out of the bags (only a tiny bit and I was able to triple bag those just in case). All in all, it was a good adventure and I would do it again but maybe just 20 meals at a time instead of 40 😂 It did make those days so easy. We didn’t eat them everyday but on the nights when I was exhausted or not feeling creative, it was great to pull out a meal and just pop it into the crockpot. I also had people over for dinner and would cook 2 or 3 at a time which was nice. I HATE cooking with a passion. I wish I could pay someone to prepare 20 meals for me now so I can experience that freedom again. The worst part for me was the 4 hours in the kitchen that Sunday 😂

Post # 13
Member
9823 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

I’ve never done a months worth because honestly most of the recipes listed do not appeal to me at all.  A lot sound really bland from the lists I’ve seen.

But I’ve done freezer food for a baby and I just found recipes I liked or knew I would like that seemed like they would be freezable.  Most things were good with a few misses.  I did some casseroles, enchiladas, lasagna, soups (broccoli cheese, chicken enchilada, chili, chicken white bean creole, etc), also stuff like pulled brisket, pork carnitas, and my favorites were teriyaki meatballs and sk everyday meatballs.  Also did individual things like ham and cheese pockets, bierocks, beef and bean burritos.  Breakfast burritos, cookie dough balls.  Everything I did was pretty much cooked, so just thaw and eat.  Things like lasagna or enchiladas were cooked but needed to be heated in the oven, just like you would do as your final step if you were preparing them as normal.

I think the easiest thing to do would be to make a double or triple batch and eat it that night (and the next) and then freeze the other half for later.  Cook once, eat twice.

Post # 14
Member
486 posts
Helper bee

Whatever you do, remember to use freezer-friendly small portion containers and label them.  Not that anything would happen to a pan of lasagna that sits in the chest freezer for 10 years, but you probably wouldn’t want to eat it.

Post # 15
Member
1232 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

We do this.  We buy a whole bunch of ground beef and tomato sauce (like the good Sicilian my husband is, we actually have about a 6 month supply of crushed tomatoes stocked at any given time) as well as the other ingredients and make:

– Meat sauce

– Meatballs

– Veggie lasagna

– Meat lasagna

– Chili

Then package, freeze, and store. Makes life SO much easier.  We usually throw the chili on first while we prep the rest of it and then eat chili for dinner that night.  If it’s fall and football season we’ll do all the prep and work during our local team’s game during the commercials.

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