Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Menu Planning Basics: Part 4

If you have missed parts 1, 2 or 3 you can find each of them here. One thing I want to encourage each of you to do is to freezer cook in some way. Now, there are some super women out there who are able to take one weekend at the end of a month and cook every.single.meal they are going to have for the next month! They call it Once A Month Cooking and let me tell you, there are some days that I WISH I did that! One of the main reasons I do not do that is that I love cooking! It is such a stress relief for me to get in the kitchen and pour my energy into something I not only enjoy, but that will bless my family. I'm not a cook for the month kind of girl - it just does not work for me or my family right now. My style of freezer cooking is to make something and cook half for the night and put the other half in the freezer. Make it once and eat it twice! Now, this works for our family because we have a small family. Anything that is normally a 9x13 dish will easily become two 8x8 pans for us. If you have a bigger family, no worries - just make a double batch. It may take a little longer but you already have everything out, already have the pans dirty, why not make it count twice?

I have taken a weekend before and done some actual freezer cooking and it was such a blessing in the next month. There are going to be times you forget to set something out, get sick or life just happens in general to prevent you from getting dinner prepared like you had intended. Instead of turning to take out or a pre-packaged freezer meal, why not have a back up supply of your own? Here are some ideas to get you started:

Start Small - Buy an economy size package of ground beef (this will also be cheaper!) and brown all of it and put it in separate freezer bags. That may not sound like much but think of how much time you spend remembering to set out meat, then thawing out meat and eventually cooking it. If you already have it browned you can just dump it into a pan with whatever sauce or seasoning you need and go from there!

Freeze pancakes or other breakfast items - these freeze SO well that they will help build your confidence and you will be likely to take on bigger projects in the future

Freeze your leftovers - Instead of letting that half pan of Lasagna go to waste, put it in a freezer bag and enjoy it for another meal down the road

Look up Freezer Cooking Blogs - There are some women out there that are SERIOUS about freezer cooking. If this interests you then you should definitely google it to find some to inspire you! I have linked up to Money Saving Mom before and got my inspiration to start from her :)

Here is my last freezer day here and here and I am planning on doing another one in the next week or so.

Any ideas or tips you have found to be helpful with freezer cooking?

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