Last month I tried my own version of a freezer cooking day thanks to inspiration from Money Saving Mom and Life as Mom. I found lots of chicken breasts, ham and ground beef on sale, so I cooked that up and froze it in meal sized portions. Now it’s the end of the month and I still have a lot of chicken, beef, and ham in my freezer. I think it might actually last us most of March. I didn’t realize I had put so much away. Bonus.
Here are my lessons learned:
- Do not chop and freeze six pound of onions thinking it will save you time. Just because they sell chopped frozen onions in the store doesn’t mean it will work at home. What I wound up with after all that chopping was watery bags of mushy onion that tasted and smelled really weird. I ruined two dishes with them before I threw the rest away. I’m not that upset at the cost, since I got all six pounds for under $2, but I really regret the chopping time invested! From now on I’ll just buy the frozen chopped onions or chop them as needed.
- Freezing pizza dough didn’t save me time or wind up working very well. When I tried to freeze pizza dough I wound up with gigantic blobs of dough taking up space in the freezer. One of them exploded out of the freezer bag, and the second one exploded out of the plastic wrap but didn’t quite break the freezer bag. Neither tasted very great after being frozen and thawed. Moreover, homemade pizza is my go-to quick meal, and it’s not quick to have to take dough out of the freezer and wait around for it to thaw. I’d rather just make it as I need it – it’s super quick and easy.
- I need a better way of keeping track of what’s in my freezer. I have a ton of stuff piled up everywhere in there – pumpkin puree, frozen vegetables, frozen produce from our garden last summer, chicken stock, random casseroles I didn’t label (oops), and all sorts of other things I can’t see because other stuff is piled on top. Worse, I have never defrosted the freezer (oops) so it’s got about an inch of ice along the walls. As soon as it’s warm I need to do a big clean out, thaw out, reorganization!
If you do the freezer cooking/once a month cooking thing, what are your favorite things to make? What always holds up well in the freezer? Are there other recipe components besides meats that you find easy to prep in advance?