I alternate between wanting to cook nutritious, tasty meals and wanting to get out of the kitchen as fast as possible. During the hot summer months I hardly ever want to cook, but with four hungry boys depending on me I have to find creative ways to stay out of the kitchen. Of course, I could always do the take-out and drive-thru option, but we try to eat a balanced diet for the most part.
One way I avoid the last minute “what's for supper” panic is by making a weekly menu. I start by taking a peek through the pantry, fridge, and freezer to see what I can make without going to the store. Then I go through my local grocery ads to see what is on sale to fill in the gaps. At least twice a week, I double a recipe to throw enough into the freezer for another meal. When I'm feeling really ambitious, I'll schedule a large batch cooking season. Depending on the sales that week, I may prep several batches of pork chops, assemble several lasagnas & casserole, or cook a few whole chickens. I love being able to pull something out of the freezer in the morning and know supper will only take 10 minutes of my time.
Here are some great sites with information on freezer cooking (also called Once A Month Cooking):
IAmThatLady.com has a great article on Freezer Meal Swaps (making a large batch of one recipe & receiving smaller batches from other families) to give you ideas on how one group works & what might work for you.
DealsFromMSDo.com belongs to the “Dishing It Up” crew and they have an amazing number of articles and recipes for you to check out.
Household6Diva.com has some great tips and advice on how to make bulk cooking fit into your life.
Fix, Freeze, Feast: The Delicious, Money-Saving Way to Feed Your Family – $10.17
“My husband estimated that I have cut our food bill in half. I like that we aren't wasting food in purchases I intended to make but find I'm too busy to actually prepare. I have bought a lot of OAMC books but I dont have two whole days of uninterupted time (nor do I want to!) for prepping. Fix, Freeze, Feast makes $en$e for me! ” – Amazon reviewer
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Easy Freezer Meals – $11.53
“The practical information this book includes regarding freezing foods (which freeze well, which don't, causes and prevention of freezer burn, etc.) are worth the purchase price alone.” – Amazon reviewer
Make-Ahead Meals Made Healthy: Exceptionally Delicious and Nutritious Freezer-Friendly Recipes You Can Prepare in Advance and Enjoy at a Moment's Notice – $12.38
“Make-Ahead Meals Made Healthy features all-natural recipes full of flavors that come to life the instant you reheat them—so your meals don’t just taste as good as the day you stored them away, but even better. In addition, you’ll find great tips and advice on how to best prep, store, and reheat every single recipe, making mealtime prep a cinch for any member of your household.” – Product Info
The Everything Freezer Meals Cookbook (Everything Series) – $6.38
“I received this as a gift. I LOVE IT. What I like most, (besides the easy, delicious recipes) is that it equipped me to take my own recipes and turn them into freezer meals.” – Amazon Review
Know of other great freezer cooking resources? Share the link or book info in a comment below!