Have you ever said to yourself, “There’s just not enough time in the day!”? Well, with our busy lifestyles, there isn’t! Between, school functions, soccer practice, ballet recitals, full time jobs…it’s become easier and quicker to swing through the drive-thru, then to eat a healthy home cooked meal. We’re all trying to make the most out of the time we have, and out diets are suffering and so are our pocketbooks!
That being said, we could all use a little help in this area. We want to make the most of our time, AND try to keep that healthy lifestyle. This is where “Freezer Cooking”, comes in. Don’t roll your eyes just yet. Freezer cooking is A LOT easier than you’re expecting. Imagine spending 1-2 days, to feed your family for a month. Not only that, you can do it on less than half of what you’re spending at those drive-thrus.
How to get started:
Your first step is to make a menu. Honestly, this is the most difficult part of the entire process. Look at your calendar and decide how many of the days you’ll want a quick and easy, already prepared meal…then add two (Trust me, it’s nice to have those extras when a day runs a little longer than expected). That’s how many meals you want to prepare. If you have 5 dishes that are staples in your home, rotate through those. If you feel like adding others, that’s great!
Now that your menu is done, go through your pantry, freezer, refrigerator, and take inventory. What do you need to make all of those meals? You’ll be surprised that you already have many of the items. You’ve probably been shopping a few times and planned to cook a certain thing. You ended up not having time, but still have the items. Now that your list is made, make your shopping trip (don’t forget those coupons).
The Big Day:
Set aside ONE day to do all of your cooking. Yes, it may be your day off, but spending that one day off, cooking ahead, will give you much more free time in the long run. Get the family involved. Kids love helping with this. Cook all of your meals. You don’t need to do one at a time. Take advantage of the time you have while something is baking, by preparing the sides for two of your other dishes. Package up those meals and into the freezer they go.
Reaping the benefits:
It’s the Monday after your “Big Cooking Day”. Oh no! Your daughter has volleyball at 3:30 and your son has piano at 5. You have to swing by the store for a gallon of milk on your way home. You pull in the drive-way and it’s 6:00. No problem. Pull out the lasagna you already had prepared, and pop it into the oven. Send the kids up for a shower, check the mail, let the dog out. The kids come running down the stairs, and viola…Dinner’s done.
By cooking ahead, you manage to feed your family WELL, for a month, with the money you would have spent on take-out in a week. You save $$. You save TIME. Best of all…You’re giving your family a well rounded meal. You did it all in ONE day!