10 Must-Have Items for Freezer Cooking Success

Freezer cooking is one of the best ways to save time and money on your grocery bill. You'll want to stock your kitchen with these 10 must-have items for freezer cooking success.

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.

6 Easy Freezer Meals

We have a few freezer cooking recipes and resources here:

3. Slow Cooker

If you don’t already have a slow cooker, pick one up before you begin freezer cooking. Having at least one slow cooker makes cooking meat and other ingredients in bulk a snap.

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.

Freezer cooking is one of the best ways to save time and money on your grocery bill. You'll want to stock your kitchen with these 10 must-have items for freezer cooking success.

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.

7. Sharpie

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.

FreezEasy Freezer Meal Plan

FreezEasy

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.

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

5 Simple Ways to Get Your Kids to Eat Vegetables

Wouldn’t it be awesome if your kids requested veggies as much as they did pizza and pop tarts? When my kids were little I was tired of meal time battles (and chicken nuggets) so I made it my mission to get my kids to eat healthier.

Wouldn't it be awesome if your kids requested veggies as much as they did pizza and pop tarts? When my kids were little I was tired of meal time battles (and chicken nuggets) so I made it my mission to get my kids to eat healthier.

But I didn’t want my kids to make better food choices because I forced them to, I wanted them to actually like the fruits and vegetables I served at mealtime so that when they were older (and not eating every meal with me) they would continue to make smart, healthy choices.

Here’s how I expanded my children’s palate and encouraged them to eat more vegetables.

Limit sweets and processed foods when they are young.

Most children (and I know there are exceptions) will prefer a cookie over cauliflower. You can still give your children choices, but give them two healthy choices instead. I am always amazed at the two year olds who will eat anything from salad to okra, but it is usually because they have been introduced to a large variety of vegetables and fruits as babies.

Involve your children in the kitchen.

My children are always more likely to eat something they made no matter what it is. Kids like to take ownership of things and the kitchen is a great place to start. If they are old enough, they can be involved in the menu planning process, from choosing what’s for dinner, to preparing it. Younger children can help by washing fruits and vegetables, cutting softer vegetables with a butter knife, and arranging them on a plate.

Don’t be afraid of ranch dressing and cheese.

For a long time I didn’t like my kids to dip their veggies in ranch or melt cheese on their potatoes, but then I realized that if it was helping them to eat more vegetables what was the harm? You can make your own (healthier) version of ranch dressing and kids need the protein in cheese so this can be a great way to help get kids to try new vegetables.

Pay your kids to eat vegetables.

I realize this is a bit unconventional, but I tried it a few years ago when all my kids went through an exceptionally picky stage. It worked. I made a chart, had a list of vegetables I wanted them to eat, and paid them a quarter each time they ate a small helping. Little kids (especially those who think a quarter is a lot of money) are very excited to earn money by eating. What happened when I tried this was that many of my children realized that they actually liked certain vegetables that they had been unwilling to try in the past.

Sneak them into their food.

This is my least favorite option, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. Smoothies are my favorite way to add extra vegetables to my kids’ diet, but you can also incorporate cooked and pureed vegetables to soups, sauces, and even pizza crust!

If you still need help, check out my ebook The Happy Housewife’s Guide to Dealing with Picky Eaters, it’s only $1.49 on Amazon.

Next week 5 Simple Ways to be On Time with Kids.

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How to Tell if You Have a Rotten Egg

When we returned from vacation the eggs in the fridge had passed their “sell by” date. I was pretty sure they were still good, but wanted to make sure before I fed them to the kids.

rotten egg 1

This easy test will determine if your egg is good enough to eat, or it is time to toss.

Submerge your egg in water. If the egg is fresh it will sink to the bottom. If it floats to the top throw it out. If it sits somewhere in the middle eat it today!

The reason a fresh egg sinks is because it has a very small air pocket inside the shell. As time goes on the fluid inside the shell evaporates and more gases fill the shell causing it to float.

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Favorite Grilling Recipes + Win $2500 in Favado’s Summer BBQ Savings Sweepstakes

There’s not a lot we like more in the summer than swimming and firing up the grill! I’ve got a whole list of our favorite grilling recipes including:

and more in my recipe index!

favado_bbq

But grilling isn’t always cheap especially for a big crowd like my family! And, that’s where I really do use the free Favado app to help me find the best deals in my area to save on groceries. Personalized just for you, the Favado money-saving app will help you find and save on BBQ supplies this season with tips, tricks, and hottest deals…free mustard, anyone?!

Plus, enter the Summer BBQ Savings Sweepstakes to win a $2500 grand prize or a weekly prize like a portable grill, grilling tools, a charcoal or gas grill, and lots more!

Sign up for the free Favado app and enter the summer sweepstakes here!

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.