This is the third post in a step-by-step guide to show you what I have learned on my freezer meal-making journey. I have been making freezer meals for our family for over three years now. It has saved me thousands of dollars! Not to mention the amount of brain space it has freed me up to not worry about what I am going to cook every day. By spending one or two days cooking, our family can have enough meals to last between one and three months! That is what I call a good use of my time!
In the first article of this step-by-step guide, I outlined what steps need to be taken in planning. In the second, I detailed what steps needed to be taken in preparation. In this article, I will take you step-by-step through the day you assemble your meals.
At each of your stations, put out the rest of the ingredients. These will include refrigerated ingredients and the items you prepared in advance. This can include browned meat, cubed chicken, and chopped vegetables.
If you are doing this in a group, assign one person to each station and get to work. Making multiple batches of the same meal is hardly any extra work and at the end of the day, everyone has so many meals to take home to their families. If you are doing this on your own, start at one station and work your way around. Alternating between an easy to assemble dish and one that is more difficult, keeps your energy up, as the progress is encouraging.
Freeze the meals. Let out all excess air from the meals in bags to prevent freezer burn and lay them flat. This will optimize your freezer space. If you are doing this in a group, have everyone bring something to transport their meals home in. Cloth shopping bags, boxes, or even a laundry basket work well. Keeping the meals cold can be tricky the day of the assembly unless you live in a cold climate. Schedule your cook days for cold days and store the assembled meals in the boxes outside until people are ready to go home.
Stand back and admire your work. You just made a month’s worth of meals! Last year, I did a two-day freezer meal marathon and ended up with enough meals to last over three months.
(this is a picture of my actual freezer following a day of freezer meal assembly. There are 37 meals, plus four bags of homemade tomato sauce. This sauce can later be used on pizzas, soups, or on pasta…the end result is well worth the effort!)
By using this step-by-step guide for cooking, I am able to feed our family of 9 suppers very affordably. Costing between $8 and $10 a meal, it averages out to less than or a bit more than $1 per person. (note…those calculations were before I started couponing, so you can further decrease the cost by saving with coupons) I am also free of panic and worry about what to make for supper!