A little secret about me: I’m not really a fan of cooking. And yet somehow my family still needs dinner every night. They get kind of cranky if it’s not there! I enjoy the planning part and I enjoy the presentation part, but I hate the actual cooking part.
To avoid all of the cooking, I decided to try a freezer cooking day. I really enjoy this style of meal planning.
As far as a menu goes, there are plenty of sites that provide freezer meal ideas. You can put together your own menu based on what you like, or follow a freezer cooking day plan. About a year ago I stumbled onto a great site called Once A Month Mom (onceamonthmom.com) that has multiple meal plans. There is even a meal planning/make-ahead plan for plant-based families at happyherbivore.com! A membership to Once A Month Mom is $8 per month, while Happy Herbivore’s weekly menu costs $18.99 per month.
A day or two before you cook, buy everything you’ll need for the cooking day. I highly recommend thinking through each meal and deciding what else you might need when you make the meal. For example, if you make burgers, you’ll want buns. You also need to know how many freezer bags or foil baking pans you’ll need to have on hand, along with labels for everything. Good old address labels with the name of the recipe and the date it was made are good enough!
The night before cooking, chop the vegetables and make sure all of the meat is defrosted. Also on the night before, make sure you’re caught up on basic chores around the house. You won’t want to do any cleaning before or after the cooking because it’s a lot of work! If you don’t have to go straight from hours of cooking to folding laundry, you’ll feel so much better.
From experience, I highly recommend that any kids not old enough to help have something else to do while you’re cooking. The first time I did this, my boys were home and it was very difficult. The second time my husband was in charge of the kids and it went so much smoother.
It takes me around seven hours from start to clean kitchen. That’s not counting grocery shopping or the time spent chopping vegetables the night before. The end result is a freezer full of meals, labeled and ready to feed us for the month!
There were some great things that came out of the freezer cooking day. I noticed I did a lot more baking (which my family loved) and the struggle every night to make dinner while my kids ran wild went away when I just had to warm up the food and set the table. I also have meals ready to go for others! Hopefully this was an informative post for any of you thinking about doing a freezer cooking day. If you have any questions, you can always find me at frugalyakimamom.com!