5 Simple Ways to Fill Your Freezer

Five Simple Ways to Fill Your Freezer

Any mom knows that dinnertime is the witching hour. Kids are hungry — and whiny, the clock is ticking, and everyone’s ready to sit down and eat. And sometimes, despite our best efforts, dinner prep can take its toll.

Make dinnertime a little easier by having a stash of homemade freezer meals on hand. Here are five simple ways to make that dream a reality:

Double tonight’s dinner.

Place the extra meal in the freezer for another night. You’ll be amazed at the meals that freeze well. Repeat twice a week and after a month you’ll be able to take a week off.

Combine bulk cooking and sale items.

Find a great sale on chicken breast. Stock up! Once you get home, mix up a few marinades, divide chicken into meal size ziptop bags, add the marinades. Seal, label, and freeze. The chicken will marinate as it thaws. Add a simple salad and steamed rice for an easy dinner.

Save leftovers creatively.

Have lots of leftovers from a party or holiday meal? Prepare individual “TV dinners.” Portion out mashed potatoes, vegetables, stuffing, and turkey into pie plates or other freezer safe containers. Wrap well, label, and freeze. Have convenient meals to grab on busy nights.

Bulk up.

Buy ground meat in bulk. Cook it right away and season for tacos and pasta meals. Freeze in meal size portions for your own convenience foods. Taco night will come together in a snap.

Bake yourself happy.

Love home baked goods? Prepare a large batch of rolls or scones. Flash freeze them and store in airtight containers or ziptop bags. Pull just what you need and bake without a lot of prep work.

Freezer cooking doesn’t have to be a daylong marathon. A few simple steps to feed your freezer can help you feed your family quickly, healthfully, and on a budget.

– Jessica Fisher, aka FishMama, is a busy mom of six kids. She regularly fills her freezer in order to enjoy easier mealtimes and good, cheap eats.


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Comments

  1. Alicia says:

    Ok, dumb question. I’m looking to start freezer cooking next year as a ‘new year’s resolution’. (Couponing / budgeting was last year, ohhhh buddy is it fun ;) Anyway, as I’m reading through all of this material I keep seeing the term “freezer safe container”. Someone please tell me, what qualifies as ‘freezer safe’?

    • Cathie says:

      I am not an expert, but have done quite a bit of freezer cooking myself. I believe she is referring to anything that will freeze with out breaking and seal well while not using up all your regular dishes. I often use zip lock’s freezer bags, parchment paper, plastic wrap and aluminum foil creatively, as well as the occasional disposable foil pan. Making sure you have a good seal is what is important to good tasting freezer food! Hope that helps and a real expert weighs in with more tips!

    • Catherine says:

      I use a combination of zip lock bags, foil pans (if they are on sale, I buy lots), or plastic containers.

    • FishMama says:

      Cathie and Catherine are both right. Great question and one I never really thought about. I use rubbermaid, ziploc, and glad plastic containers as well as glass pyrex with plastic lids. Ziplocs work well. If you’re not opposed to aluminum, those work well also. They even make foil lids that go on super quickly and can be washed and reused.

  2. tuxgirl says:

    I made a quadruple batch of pancakes this morning when I made breakfast. Now, we’ve got pancakes for the next few times I get the craving. (Flipping pancakes takes forever, so we don’t get to eat them as much as I’d like to)

  3. Good post! Thanks!

  4. Southern Gal says:

    I’m scheduled for surgery the beginning of December. I’m checking off a to-do list as long as my arm before then (including Christmas shopping and decorating). My husband said to me today that I needed to put some meals in the freezer. And I’m wondering when in the world I will find the time to cook all day. Thanks for the reminder that I can do this little by little all during this month.

  5. Just stopping by to say hello, I noticed you had visited me. I feel very honored, I have been reading yours for over a year. Thanks for stopping by.

  6. Angela says:

    Love, love freezer cooking. Freezer cooking + crockpots = happy families!!

  7. ann says:

    I’m with Alicia -what does qualify as a freezer safe container? Freezer bag that ziplock , I find still get ice in them and I do get all the air out of them. I burp my containers, use reynolds wrap and still get some type of ice on/in freezer meals. Heck even my ice cream gets ice things in them-What am I doing wrong? Also, while I’m here how do freeze gravies so that they don’t seem not to be gravies anymore ?

    • FishMama says:

      I’m wondering if it has to do with your freezer, how often it is opened, how stable the temperature is. Another thing that can contribute to frost is if the food is not cooled before you freeze it. Otherwise, the moisture in the warm air will turn to ice crystals.

    • Teri says:

      I use food saver bags, especially for longer term items, plastic freezer bags and the square freezer containers (usually found where they sell canning supplies). For my sauces, broth and homemade cream of chicken soup, I use cottage cheese-type containers or cool whip containers. I’ve read you shouldn’t really re-purpose those containers for freezer use but I have never had a problem. Pyrex works well also but I don’t like to take up that much space, so I usually use the plastic bags. Also, if you are having trouble with “ice crystals”, you might try taking a piece of wax paper, “wadded” up and put on the top of your fruit, soup, sauces etc. That helps keep fruit in the syrup so it might work for other items as well. I don’t do too much “batch” cooking anymore since it is just 3 of us now but I do use my freezer for leftovers and when I find great buys on meats, bread, etc. We do a lot of stockpiling and a freezer is a great way to help with that! I also blanch & freeze all our veggies for winter. Thanks for all the great ideas!

  8. Grace says:

    thanks for the great ideas. the one I use is make a double meal. One for tonight. The other one for future use. Today I make 3 meals of chili all in the freezer ready for us at a later time
    . I have done a posting to night about freezer cooking and have referred my readers to your blog and your ideas.

  9. Bobbi Kilbarger says:

    I love meat loaf freezer cooking. We make a triple or quadruple batch of our favorite recipe and make a couple of meat loaves and a bunch of meat balls. The loaves go straight in the freezer, wrapped in foil. The meatballs get cooked, cooled, and froze in freezer bags. We just pop a bag into a sauce pan and heat through. Then we add any sauce or gravy for a quick meal.

    Multiple meals and hardly any dishes to do.

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