The idea of cooking a month’s worth of meals to store ahead in the freezer is becoming increasingly popular in this modern world of two incomes, daycare, sports, skyrocketing costs, and busy families. The following are several frequently asked questions (FAQ’s) about this time- and money-saving method of meal preparation:
Q) Are all the meals casseroles or pasta with sauce recipes?
A) You can freeze almost anything. Soups, casseroles, sandwiches, meals to serve over rice, chicken dishes, meatloaf, etc. To get an idea of the types of things that freeze well, take a stroll down the freezer aisle next time you’re at your local grocery store and notice the wide range of frozen items available.
Q) I’m a vegetarian. Any special tips?
A) There shouldn’t be any problem adapting this method to vegetarian menus. Prepare a recipe and try freezing a single portion before you attempt a larger batch of freezer meals. (This tip applies to any recipe you haven’t tried in the freezer.) You can substitute TVP (texturized vegetable protein) in many recipes calling for ground meats. Cooked beans and bean-based meals usually freeze well.
Q) Are there special pots and pans, utensils or appliances I should have on hand to make a monthly cooking marathon session go easier?
A) The following are nice to have on a big cooking day: a food processor for chopping large quantities of onions, celery, etc; good quality sharp knives; several large heavy stock pots; long handled spoons for stirring and mixing; an electric can opener; a crockpot; a salad shooter works well for grating large amounts of cheese. If you’re cooking ahead breakfast items, you might want a waffle iron to make homemade frozen waffles (much tastier than the ones you buy from the freezer case). You don’t necessarily need to purchase all of these items. If possible, borrow some of the items. I borrow my neighbor’s large stock pot each cooking day.
The following are some frequently asked money-related questions about cooking ahead for the freezer:
Q) I don’t have much extra money but I would like to have separate freezer. Any suggestions?
A) Ask friends, relatives and neighbors to keep an eye out for people moving out of state or updating their kitchen. I’ve known several people who’ve found perfectly good freezers for free just by making a few phone calls. Check the newspaper classified ads under appliances and check the garage sale listings for any selling appliances. Check local garage sales, yard sales, appliance repair stores. Try auctions of dented whitegoods.
Q) If I do a complete 30 meal cooking session, will it cost a lot for the initial investment in a full month’s worth of food?
A) It depends on how elaborate your meals and how much you cook from scratch. Convenience foods are much more expensive (and less healthy) than their home-made counterparts. It might cost a bit more the first time, but because you’ll be purchasing some items in bulk, the cost could actually be quite a bit less than you’d expect. If coming up with the initial investment for a complete month of meals is difficult, start out with twice-a-month cooking.
Happy infrequent cooking!
~Debi (author of Frozen Assets: Cook for a Day, Eat for a Month)
You can order your copy of Frozen Assets right now from Amazon.com by clicking here. (Currently discounted – more than 30% off!)
Leave a Comment so far
Leave a comment