Freezer cooking is my favorite method of saving money in the kitchen. During the long cold winter months, when I would rather be curled up on the couch with a blanket surrounded by my kids, cooking long drawn out meals can be a pain. Not to mention, I am cooking heartier meals during the winter months which often require a bit more time and preparation. So how do I combat the strong urge to simply hibernate all winter, and instead make sure my freezer is stocked? Here are a few pointers.
I don’t have as much time during the winter months to spend long periods cooking up meals. In the spring, summer and fall I try to take a day or two to create a bunch of meals to freeze. But in the winter, children are everywhere, holidays are in the way, and there are many other activities I have to do.
Double Up – As I am cooking a meal for my family, I will often double, or triple (I prefer to triple, that equals two meals) the recipe so that I can freeze an extra batch or two. If you do this each time you cook a meal, you can create several weeks worth of meals in only about a week or so. Don’t hesitate to quadruple your recipe either. Just be sure and check cooking times for larger amounts.
Save Leftovers – Don’t discard or even put leftovers in the refrigerator. Consider turning them into another meal. With the turkey left over from Thanksgiving, we were able to create a turkey casserole, a turkey pasta and two other side dishes. That was two meals and two sides (for different meals) that we made from just some leftovers. The same goes from leftover hamburger meat, hot dogs, stew meat, even leftover stew can be turned into a different meal. You can add some mashed potatoes and you will have a type of shepherds pie. You can add some noodles or rice and thicken it up a bit, and call it goulash at that point. It will probably be the yummiest goulash your family has ever tasted.
Take a Few Hours – If there is some extra time on a Sunday afternoon, or even during nap time while the little ones are sleeping, whip up a meal or two. Double or triple those meals and you have several freezable meals. Don’t forget that your stove top has four burners. If you can multi-task well, you can have several items going at one time.
Do you have any other tips to share that might help us with our winter freezer cooking?