Freezer cooking is the biggest time-saving technique for Busy Cooks, so it is the base of the pyramid. Experienced cooks know that dinner in the freezer is like money in the bank. Some cookbooks even refer to this technique as “investment cooking.”
Two ways to make freezer cooking easy and painless:
Triple at least one recipe that freezes well each week. Once a week, find the time to make a triple amount of a recipe that freezes well. It doesn’t take that much longer to make a double or triple amount of a dish, than a single amount. Freeze two of the three for future use, and either eat the third for dinner, or if it’s a weekend and you have extra time, refrigerate it for a weeknight meal.
If you add two main dish meals to your freezer each week, you can pull two different, previously made main dish meals from your freezer each week without depleting your stock. For this one bout of cooking, you get three different ready weekday meals—a great return on the investment! Each weekend, focus on a different major ingredient, rotating through poultry, beef, meatless, seafood, etc. This gives you a nice selection of ready made meals in my freezer at all times.After 4 – 6 weeks of this weekly cooking to stock your freezer —as long as you continue to make one tripled recipe a week for freezing—you will always have a supply of ready-made main dishes on hand. Imagine having 30 – 40 prepared meals in your freezer at any one time. All it takes is about an hour a week!
Cook and freeze ingredients in bulk. Keeping cooked ground beef, cooked chicken, sautéed onions and peppers, prepared dry beans, and other ingredients in your freezer makes dinnertime prep fast and easy with fewer dishes to clean. Just as with tripling a recipe, it does not take 3x the time and effort to do 3x the prep.
Each time you prepare a single pound of ground beef, you are taking not only the time to cook the meat but also the thawing and cleanup time. Doing 5-10 pounds at once and freezing the cooked meat on a regular basis ends up saving you hours of time. If you combine this with buying the ingredient at its best price, you are saving both time and money.
Our Free Meal Plans Integrate the Secrets of a Busy Cook—Subscribe by Email!
More Secrets of a Busy Cook
* Adapted from Secrets of a Busy Cook by Lynn Nelson, used by permission