Freezer Cooking - Why It Is For Us
Freezer and batch cooking may very well be a sanity-saver, as well as a money saver, for busy couples, families and singles. If you currently are making your own meals than you can do this with minimal extra effort, money and time.
As I touched on before I believe that having a second freezer is essential to maximize your money saving abilities. It is also going to be a huge, huge help if you would like to do freezer meals and batch cooking. We bought a large upright freezer in near-new condition for $75 on www.craigslist.com. If you are uncomfortable buying second hand then check the 'scratch and dent' section of your local appliance stores. The size of your household and how fully you want to embrace freezer cooking will help you to determine the size of freezer you should get.
Freezer Meals and Batch Cooking works so well because you are simply multiplying what you are already making. When we make one batch of cookies it takes very little effort to triple the recipe and make three batches - we then freeze all the extras for last minute hosting or when we feel like snacking.
That is where the sanity saving part of it comes in. Having meals prepared and ready to pull out and heat at the end of a hectic day is marvelous!
To save money you simply make freezer meals or prepare batches of the things you find on sale at your store. For example, I once found boneless skinless chicken breast for $1/lb. I bought 10lbs of it and seasoned and baked some of it to use on salads or in wraps, made some into a casserole and cooked the rest in the crockpot for pulled BBQ chicken. I pulled out enough to use for supper that night and the next night, and then the rest went into meal sized portions for the freezer. It took very little effort to make 15 or so nights worth of meals as opposed to just that nights' meal. We face a few unique challenges in our home, and we have found having food ready in the freezer is the solution to these challenges.
- Last minute company. We like company. In fact we kinda love company and often decide to have people over at the last minute. Having both larger-sized meals and baked items in the freezer means that within one hour I can have a hot meal on the table or freshly baked items to serve without having to spend any money.
- Paul traveling. Paul travels a lot with work, and I always try to send food with him to eat so he can eat better and save some money. Sometimes we are given short notice that he'll be traveling and I don't have anything in the house to send with him other than prepared smaller portion freezer meals that I can heat up, pack up and send with him.
- Lazy or Sick Days. These days seem to happen frequently around here lately! It is a situation that would normally be overwhelmingly tempting to get in the car and get take out or eat out somewhere, but having yummy meals sitting in the freezer solves the "what should I make for dinner?" dilemma.
- Grocery Budget. We stick to a monthly grocery budget - no matter how good the deals we don't spend more than our alloted monthly money. All of the meals and food in our freezer have come from previous months' alloted allowance for groceries. Sometimes when we are trying to save a bit more money to pay off unexpected bills we cut back on the current months' grocery budget and "live" out of our freezer for "free."
- Sale Shopper. I plan almost all of our meals around what is on sale at the grocery stores, having that flexibility allows for great money saving opportunities. Meat is our biggest grocery expense, and it is also what I stock up on when I find it for 50% off or more. I am usually only able to find one type of meat on Managers Special at a time - if I were to feed us on that one type of meat until the next time I found another type of meat on sale we'd get bored and so sick of the meat! Having the variety of meals in the freezers lets me choose from a variety of meats without having to count on it being on sale!
Next: Freezer Meals - Part 3; What's In Our Freezer