I’ve been working to get all of my freezer meal prep tips and tricks pulled together to share. I know I’m not alone in struggling to get dinner on the table sometimes. Of course I want to help myself, but really what fun is that? I would rather help you and me.
I pride myself on making dinner for my family 6 nights a week most weeks. It helps us stick to our budget, and it ensures we’re eating good food. At the beginning of this school year things got busy and while we were still eating at home most nights we seemed to be eating the same things again and again because they were easy and I was busy.
After a couple months of this feeling I decided I needed to get ahead of the game and load up the freezer. With our weekly meal planning strategy in mind I picked some slow cooker meals and bagged them up to go into the freezer and make things a little easier when I know our week will be busy. It’s not new for me to have a few bags of slow cooker meals in the freezer. In the past though it’s just been a few bags of one or two things. I’d throw the fixings for our Peanut Butter Chicken into the slow cooker and then make up a couple of bags to go in the freezer while I had all the ingredients out.
Last fall in the thick of busy weeks I decided I needed more than a few bags of one or two things in the freezer. So I made a list of meals, made a list of ingredients, and went to the store. Once I had everything I assembled more than a dozen meals to go into the freezer. That day of prep made a big difference for us through the following months. It kept us eating a variety of meals, and it kept us eating at home. Once we got through the holiday season and into the new year it was time to restock the freezer. This time I decided to try to tackle even more meals. Using the freezer meal tips and tricks I’d learned the first time, a variety of meals, and some planning I ended up making almost 2 dozen meals.
Now it’s your turn. If you are thinking about stocking up your freezer you’ll love these freezer meal prep tips and tricks. It’s amazing how a little bit of planning and a few good tricks can really set you up for success.
Think About Your Schedule
When making freezer meals I try to think of our weekly menu schedule and come up with meals to help us out on a number of different week nights.
Think About Variety
No one wants to eat 5 different dishes that all taste pretty much the same. Shoot for different flavors, meats, and veggies to keep yourself from getting board with everything you have stocked in your freezer before you’ve eaten it all.
Think About Ingredient Overlap
When you’re writing out your list take notice of odd ingredents and try to prep enough meals to use things up. If a recipe calls for something you don’t use regularly enough to have leftover after your prep session try to make enough meals with that recipe to use things up.
Think About Your Grocery List Organization
To pull off a successful freezer meal prep session you’re going to need to be organized. I started with a spread sheet of ingredients so that I could figure out how many pounds of chicken thighs, ground beef, onions, cans of tomatoes, soy sauce, garlic and everything else I would need. Using a spread sheet made it easy to add in the amount of an ingredient I would need as I went through each recipe. It also helped me plan out the number of each recipe I would make.
Think About Your Plan of Attack
After some trial and error I figured out that prepping ingredients before pulling meals together will save you a bunch of time. That means you should dice all your onions. Mince all your garlic. Peel and chop all the carrots you’ll need and so on. Doing this all at the beginning.
Think About Your Assembly Area
First things first. If you’re making a bagged meal write the name of the recipe and any instructions you might need first. For this Sharpies are your friend. I fold over the tops of the bags I’m about to fill to keep the top edges from getting messy and add some stability to the bag as I fill it. Then I set them into bowls to help hold them up as all the ingredients get added along the way. If I’m making something to go into a baking dish such as enchiladas or a dish such as already make soups and stews I make sure I have all the containers set up and ready to go so that the foods go directly into the pan or dish as they are ready.
If you give some thought to each of these things, you’ll not only get a bunch meals into your freezer you’ll do it successfully too. All those freezer meals will ensure you and your family are eating healthy homemade food even when you’re tight on time. What are your biggest hurdles to pulling together a great stash of freezer meals?