This post contains affiliate links that I personally use to help me tackle freezer cooking for my busy family.
Have you heard of freezer cooking? Does it conjure up thoughts of spending ALL weekend prepping an insane amount of meals, spending a crazy amount of money and time at the grocery store, requiring a level of organization and effort that just makes you want to curl up in the corner in the fetal position? You are tired of eating out all of the time, but you just can’t get excited about spending $400 on groceries this week and then spending all day and night in the kitchen making meals for the future. No worries, I have a solution for you, 5 Freezer Cooking Tips For The Busy Family that help you enjoy fast easy dinner recipes without losing your sanity.
5 Freezer Cooking Tips for Fast Easy Dinner Recipes
1. Prep 5 Meals For Easy Meal Planning
Freezer cooking can mean lots of things to lots of people, but it doesn’t have to mean that every meal you eat for a week or month is a freezer meal. I like to keep a few on hand all of the time to make meal planning easy and dinner fast.
It is good to pick just 5 meals when starting out with freezer cooking. Think about that! If you have five meals prepped that means you already have Monday’s meals prepped and planned for the next 5 weeks. That is a big help. If it is your first-time freezer cooking or you are super tight on time, I suggest you pick freezer recipes that require no cooking just prep. It is amazing how fast you can have 5 meals prepped. Does it keep you from ever having to eat out? NO! But it is a step in the right direction.
2. 5 Minute Freezer Clean Out
Ok, I am not saying that YOU have a half-eaten-freezer-burned box of popsicles in the back of your freezer, but if you do, go throw it away. Freezers can become the abyss of random leftovers and freezer-burned veggies. It is hard to find your newly prepped meals in a junked up freezer.
So, go set the timer for 5 minutes and clean out what you can. Even if it is one shelf! Now you can easily store your newly prepped meals and find them. You would hate for one of your new meals to become a casualty of freezer burn. And it really only takes 5 minutes for your clean out.
3. Fast Easy Dinner Recipes
My favorite easy dinner recipes perfect for freezing are found at Once A Month Meals. OAMM is a member only freezer cooking website. So why am I telling you about a paid service when Pinterest is free? Good question. I have personally used OAMM for about 5 years.
I keep using it because the recipes have been researched and tested, they offer every kind of specialty-meal idea (gluten free, paleo, traditional, diet and more), plus they already have everything organized for you. If you are like me, having everything already organized is worth it. I just can’t spare another brain cell for organizing one more thing.
You can pick and choose from the different menus and the website will magically create a grocery list for you. What a time saver! They also come out with new menus every month. OAMM is not only a resource for awesome recipes, they have printable labels for your meals and lots of amazing freezing tips.
They also have freezer meals and tips for the Instant Pot. Do you know about the Instant Pot? No?! It is my FAVORITE appliance for fast easy dinners with little clean. The Instant Pot is an electric pressure cooker. It is the joy of hands-off cooking (like with a slow cooker), but so much faster. I cook in mine pretty much every day. You can cook everything from a roast, soft boiled eggs, or cheesecake. Yes, CHEESECAKE! And, I saved so much money from not eating out that my Instant Pot paid for itself in the first month that I owned it.
4. You Must Remember to Thaw
I have learned this the hard way! It is totally awesome to have dinner already made in the freezer, but you have to remember to thaw it. If you don’t, you will find yourself at the drive-thru picking off the 99 cent menu at Wendy’s. A freezer meal still frozen at 5 pm is not going to help you towards dinner (unless you are cooking in the Instant Pot and then you can cook straight from frozen)! When you are doing your meal planning (even if it is the night before) set a reminder on your phone or tape a big sign on your freezer to thaw your frozen meal.
5. Freezer List
Having to constantly do a major cleaning out of your freezer will give you Frozen nightmares. Not only do you freeze your finger tips to the point of pain, you are throwing out your time and your money. It is so easy to forget about a freezer meal or meals. A freezer list will help you use your freezer meals, and use all of your freezer items. So when you can’t even think about what you are going to eat this week, you can check your freezer list for easy ideas. To help you work on your list here is a FREE PRINTABLE PDF: Freezer Inventory List
Good luck with your 5-minute freezer clean out! I have a confession to make, I am the one with 2-year-old freezer burned popsicles that need to be trashed immediately. Once you get done with that five minute clean out come back and tell me what crazy forgotten items you found in your freezer!
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