I love everything about prepping meals for my freezer.
When life gets completely hectic, my family doesn’t have to eat out or pick up fast food. We just grab dinner from the freezer. And I don’t mean prepackaged foods. I mean homecooked meals.
If I have a well-stocked freezer, it saves me money, time, and even energy.
On a day when I prep meals for the freezer, I have a huge mess in my kitchen. And then I clean it up. Then on nights when we eat out of the freezer, I don’t have a messy kitchen. It’s far less work to prep meals this way.
How Do I Make Freezer Meals?
When I’m on my A Game (which isn’t often!), I try to plan meals for the freezer a couple of times a month. This helps keep my freezer full. If I’m not able to do that, then I just do it when I can.
When I’m making a soup, gumbo, or chili, I double, triple, or quadruple the recipe. It doesn’t take much extra time, but it stocks my freezer very quickly. My recipe for Authentic Cajun Red Beans & Rice is another one that’s great for the freezer. Casseroles are also perfect freezer meals.
I’m a huge fan of the assembly line approach. I get a number of disposable pans and simply add all the ingredients in assembly line fashion.
This is how I stocked my freezer with 6 lasagnas last month! Anyone need some lasagna?
When Do We Need Freezer Cooking?
Honestly, all the time is a completely acceptable answer. I know many families who do this as a matter of discipline, prepping meals for the freezer on a regular basis. Breakfasts, dinners, and desserts pack their deep freezers. I love that approach.
For me, I have some essential times when freezer cooking is an absolute must:
When I’m expecting a baby. As part of my “nesting,” I will pack the freezer with all manner of freezer meals. I make up full meals and components of meals so that I won’t have to cook for quite a while. Of course I have c-sections, so this is added motivation for freezer cooking, but all of us have a rough time transitioning after having a new baby. Freezer cooking makes that transition easier. Or am I the only one whose children fall apart at 5 pm?
When I’m approaching a busy season. We’re prepping for a move right now, so back in March, I began packing my freezer, just in case this might happen. I knew that in the middle of crazy cleaning and packing, I would need a night off cooking without the expense of eating out.
When I’m expecting company. If I’m having company in a week or so, I like to prep some breakfasts and dinners for the freezer. This enables me to have the home of a Martha and the heart of a Mary, or at least that’s the goal. I always struggle with my Martha tendencies.
When I have friends who are expecting babies. I can’t always do this, but when I can, I try to put away some extra meals in my freezer for friends who are about to have babies. This makes it easier when I bring a meal because all I have to do is pop dinner in the oven and add a salad, bread, and dessert.
And if you don’t have a deep freezer?
I would save up for one. I think it’s completely worth it and will pay for itself eventually, if not in financial terms, then at least in terms of your sanity. It was an one of the first big purchases we made when we were expecting our first baby. I received an unexpected bonus from a job I no longer had. Instead of buying fancy schmancy baby furniture, we chose to buy a deep freezer. We’ve never regretted that decision. If you’re receiving money back from taxes, a deep freezer just might be a good investment!
Do you plan meals for your freezer? When do you find them to be essential? If not, what’s the biggest challenge you have with freezer cooking?