Do you fix freezer meals for your family? Freezer cooking is one of the best ways to save both time and money on your grocery bill each month. It keeps you from eating out less, it saves you from making too many impulse purchases, and it helps you to feed your family nutritious meals without stressing about what you’re having for dinner.
If you’re new to freezer cooking, you might be wondering what you need to do to get started. Take a deep breath, because learning the basics of freezer cooking really isn’t as hard as it may seem. The first thing you’ll need to do is stock your kitchen with these 10 must-have items for freezer cooking success.
1. Freezer Cooking Planner
Freezer cooking is a huge undertaking, and if you jump right in without a plan, you’re very likely going to end up with wasted food. With so many free printable freezer cooking planners available on the web, you can jump in with a well thought out plan. Planning right means that you’ll be successful in your freezer cooking attempts from the very first time.
2. Freezer Cooking Recipes
Contrary to popular belief, not every recipe is able to be frozen. Make sure that when you pick the recipes you’ll be making for dinner that you are paying attention. For some, you’ll be able to freeze the entire thing after cooking. For others, you may need to add ingredients to a bag and freeze those together with cooking instructions only.
We have a few freezer cooking recipes and resources here:
3. Slow Cooker
4. Ziploc Bags
Freezer meals that contain pasta and other firm ingredients freeze incredibly well in freezer bags. You’ll want to pick up a few boxes in both the quart and gallon sizes so that you are able to freeze smaller and larger portions.
5. Hands-Free Freezer Bag Holders
They might look funny, but these freezer bag holders will make your freezer cooking journey so much easier. They stand up and hold your freezer bags open and upright so that there is no fighting to keep them open.
6. Foil Baking Pans with Lids
When you’re baking casseroles, you won’t want to put your glass or metal baking dishes in the freezer. Instead, buy foil baking pans with lids so that you aren’t risking glass cracking or metal rusting. You can write re-heating instructions on the lid. If you’re worried about the cost, the baking pans are sturdy enough to be washed out at least once, if you’re careful. The lids can’t be re-used but a simple piece of foil will work as a great replacement.
Regular ink pens won’t work on most freezer bags or foil pans. Instead, you’ll need a Sharpie to write directions. Stick with a darker color like red, blue, or black to make sure that your writing can be easily read.
8. Freezer Labels
If you don’t want to write directly on bags or pans, freezer labels are a great option. You can buy them in packs of 100, and yes, a regular pen should work for them.
9. Food-Safe Freezer Containers
Freezer bags work great for firmer foods, but for things like soups you may want something firmer with a lid. Food-safe freezer containers are a great option, and since they’re made of firm plastic, they can be reused over and over again.
10. Chest Freezer
Okay, this one isn’t a must-have, but it will make freezer cooking easier for you. Most refrigerators have small freezers which means that you’re only going to be able to get a small amount of freezer meals stored. If you have a small chest freezer or small upright freezer, you’ll be able to store significantly more. If the cost of buying one new puts you off, check your local buy, sell, and trade Facebook groups or Craigslist. You can find used freezers significantly cheaper used than new ones.
If you need some help getting started with freezer cooking, FreezEasy is a great way to go. It will teach and equip you with a key strategy and set of tools and resources that will help you get organized and finally feel like you can get a delicious, wholesome dinner on the table without losing your mind!
The FreezEasy Freezer Cooking Meal Plans are printable downloads that contain recipes, shopping lists, assembly notes, assembly instructions – both loading “by recipe” and “by ingredient” – an assembly video, and printable labels for your bags and trays. The downloads are delivered immediately to your inbox after you purchase them.