When the Corona Virus hit, we made the decision for me to stay home from work to avoid exposure for myself and my son, who has a heart condition. But the time is quickly approaching for me to return to work. We’ve been home long enough that it will be an adjustment to get back in our normal groove (is that even a thing anymore?). To make the transition a little easier on us all, I decided to spend time stocking my deep freezer with meals and meal helpers.
I try to always have at least a few ready to go meals or meal helpers on hand. But when we have big life events or busy periods on the horizon, I do myself a favor and build my stock up a bit.
The first time I made freezer meals was in preparation for the birth of my son. I had a couple marathon cooking days that stocked our freezer with over a months worth of meals.
I’ve done this a few more times – prior to having surgery, going into a busy season at work, and always in preparation for back to school.
For six-years I’ve been using some freezer meal method to make life easier. It’s taken the stress off and helped us to stay in budget. Especially since these kids want to eat every. dang. day.
Over the next few posts, I’m going to pass on some of the tricks and tips I’ve learned. I’ll cover:
- Freezer Meal Methods (see below)
- Marathon Freezer Cooking
- Gradual Freezer Stocking
- Freezer Meal Clubs (this saved my life for a while!)
- Miscellaneous Tips & Tricks
I hope you’ll stick around!
Freezer Meal Methods
When I had my first marathon cooking day in preparation for my son’s birth, I quickly learned how much I appreciated having those meals available. But I knew I wouldn’t always have time to commit to a full day or two of freezer cooking. Good thing that’s not the only way!
Marathon Method. If you look on Pinterest you’ll find lots of “40 freezer meals in 4 hours” or “A Month of Freezer Meals in an Afternoon.” While the time range given is generally a little over zealous and the plan often fairly repetitive, if it’s your first time, I strongly suggest following one of these plans that break it down step by step.
(Spoiler Alert: I’m giving you my step-by-step instructions in my next post!)
Slow Stock Up Method. This is my preferred method for filling the freezer for a specific purpose. If I have enough warning, I find it easiest to double/triple our dinners over the course of a couple of weeks. I specifically choose meals that are freezer friendly and at minimum double what I make for dinner each night. It really only takes a few extra minutes a day this way.
Freezer Meal Club. For a while I was involved in a freezer meal club. Each month there was a theme and everyone made enough of one meal to trade with everyone. You’d end up with several meals, while only having to make one. Pretty awesome!
In and Out Method. Once you have a stash of freezer meals, you can easily keep the stash up by planning to eat one freezer meal a week and planning to make one freezer meal a week. Generally I like to have 5-7 meals available all the time.
“So What Method Should I Use?”
Any of these freezer meal methods can be helpful, but here are some suggestions:
Specific Event & Pressed for Time = Marathon!
I’ve only done marathon cooking days a handful of times. When pregnant with my son, I planned to spend the last month of my pregnancy slowly stocking the freezer. But when complications came up before then, I knew I had at most a week. I spent two days of that week stocking the freezer.
A similar situation happened when I had a hysterectomy a couple of years ago. I only had about 10 days notice (and most days I was working) so I spent a Saturday getting the freezer stocked.
Specific Event & More Time = Slow Stock Up.
Every back to school season, I spend a couple weeks bulking up my freezer meal stash. This would also be a great method if you’re pregnant (a marathon cooking session on your feet is kind of torture then) or prepping for surgery, or a job change. It’s also great if you simply decide having a small stash would relieve some stress.
Busy & Friends on Board = Freezer Meal Club.
I’ll go into the specifics of how this works in a later post, but combining a ladies night with the ability to go home with a full freezer is priceless!
Have you tried making freezer meals before? What method most appeals to you?