Freezer meals (also called “once a month” cooking), can save a tremendous amount of time, stress, and especially, money. That’s what the second part of this freezer meals guide is all about.
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 up. I love to not have to worry about what I am going to make for supper every day. By spending one or two days cooking, I am able to have enough meals to feed our family for between one and three months! That is what I call a good use of my time!
In the first 4 steps of this freezer meals guide, I outlined Steps 1 – 4, including important money-saving information about planning your freezer meals. In this second article of the guide, I will outline what steps to follow the day before the big day of meal assembly.
Buy the groceries and containers needed. For most of my freezer meals, I use large freezer bags. However, some recipes such as lasagna need a foil tray. Make note of this when writing your grocery lists and buy as many bags and containers as you will need. For additional savings, cleaned-out yogurt containers and the like can also be used if well sealed. I like to do my shopping at the warehouse store first. That way, if there were any ingredients on that list that they did not have in stock, I can purchase them at the local grocery store.
In my community, you get 15% off your entire grocery bill on the first Tuesday of the month. This is a huge saving! Remember, I have already called ahead with my meat order so I also get 15% off that. Plus, I get whatever additional discount on the meat I was able to negotiate over the phone.
Label your bags and containers. Using a permanent marker, write the name of the dish and the cooking instructions on the bags and containers. By doing this before the cooking day, you will be able to save a lot of time and confusion on the day of your assembly. Some people prefer to print up labels on the computer. Some people also like to add the date so that they will know when the meals were made. Alternately, you can print up a list and post it inside your freezer.
Fry up the ground beef or imitation ground beef, chop up the onions and other vegetables you will be using. This is when you also cube any chicken that needs to be cubed.
Set up your stations. Set up stations around your kitchen or workspace. For those who have a small kitchen, perhaps a dining room table can also be used). If you are doing this in a large group, you may wish to use a community or church kitchen. At each station; place the photocopied recipe, non-perishable ingredients that you will need, spices called for, the labeled freezer bags or containers, and any equipment you will need such as mixing bowls, can openers, measuring cups, and spoons, and mixing spoons.
Get some sleep. The big day is coming and you will need your rest!
Next week, the freezer meals guide will explain what to do on the actual day of making the freezer meals.