8 Freezer Cooking Hacks for Prep Day

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If you’ve ever made freezer meals, then you know the joys of having dinners prepped and ready to go for busy (and lazy) nights.

I have always loved freezer meals (because I hate cooking. And washing dishes.), but before I started following these 8 freezer cooking hacks, I couldn’t talk myself into making them because of how exhausted I was after a grueling prep day.

But the payoff of not cooking for a few nights was too sweet not to try to make freezer cooking work on a more regular basis. After researching and years of trial and error (including one very nauseating tuna pie error we still talk about 5 years later) I feel I have now perfected my freezer cooking game.

Freezer cooking done quickly with your sanity intact

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If you want to make freezer cooking easier and faster, follow these 8 Prep Day Hacks:

    • Double all your recipes. It’s easier to make double of one recipe than 2 different recipes because you are prepping the same things and just splitting the ingredients between containers. If you make just 5 recipes and double it, you will have 10 meals at the ready. Or do that with 15 recipes and you’ve got the entire month of meals covered. And the more meals that you are using from the freezer, the less dishes you will have to wash. It’s pretty much a vacation.

 

      • Freeze your foods raw so they will cook for the first time on serving day. They won’t have that leftover taste or texture. The only general exception is browning ground beef/turkey or searing meat like chops and roasts.

 

        • Take shortcuts with the veggie prep by buying pre-cut produce like garlic and carrots, and instead of juicing your own citrus you can buy it as juice. One juiced lime or lemon is equal to about 2 Tablespoons of juice. You can even buy diced onions and green onions too, but the up-charge is pretty significant. Because chopping veggies tends to be one of the most time-consuming parts of freezer meal prep, buying pre-made items significantly cuts down the prep time.

 

          • Tape cooking instructions onto your bags before you put ingredients in. Also, write the name of your recipe on the bottom of the bag, or side of pan, so you can easily find what you need from the freezer after your meals are piled up.

 

            • Before adding your ingredients, fold over the tops of your freezer bags. This not only keeps the zipper seal clean, it also helps stand the bags up while you are filling them.

 

              • Don’t add broth until the day you are cooking the meal. The broth takes up unnecessary space in your freezer and is more likely to spill out of the bag when you’re loading it with goodies (ask me how I know). It is super easy to add it when you are cooking the meal instead. Just write a reminder on your container so you remember to add it, and how much. I use Better than Bouillon to make it even easier and cheaper- which also comes in organic, vegetarian, and vegan varieties.

 

                • Use Once A Month Meals (OAMM) to plan your menus. You can find freezer menus all over the internet, but this is a database with so much customization (number of servings, dietary restrictions, cooking type, etc).Β  I love to do easy assembly cooking day recipes for the fastest no-brainer menus. OAMM also creates all the shopping lists, prep instructions, labels, and other organization tools for you. Try it out for free here. Listen to me gush on and on about how much it helps me here. All the recipes you see being prepped in the pictures are from the free trial “real foods menu.” I have been absolutely loving the beef tacos and the asparagus stuffed chicken. Those recipes will definitely be making it into my regular menu routine.

Get started in freezer cooking

 

                  • Cook a freezer meal on prep day. Pull a freezer meal out from a previous freezer prep session, or put one dish from your menu in the crockpot at the start of your prep, so dinner will cook itself. No one wants to cook and wash dishes for 3 hours just to turn around and have to cook again because all their dinner assets are frozen. :p

 

Now that I follow these 8 freezer cooking hacks, I am freezer cooking regularly and it is seriously a life-changer. Don’t have time to prep freezer meals? check out my post 50 no-prep healthy foods for when you have no time. It’s the list you need when you just. can’t.

If you haven’t tried freezer cooking yet, come to the cold side. We have tacos.

Do you have a favorite freezer cooking tip? Please share in the comments!

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33 thoughts on “8 Freezer Cooking Hacks for Prep Day

  1. These seem super helpful. I will have to check,out once a month meals soon. I,have been wanting to get back,into freezer meals. I used to do it but slacked off a while.

    1. Thank you! Once a month meals is what brought me back to the freezer meal game. That and I was tired of scrambling to make dinner at 4 every night.

    1. I don’t have a large deep freeze either, but I make it work. If you stick to crockpot freezer meals that are stored in gallon bags, they stack really well and you can fit quite a bit in a regular fridge/freezer combo.

    1. Once A Month Meals is packed with resources and has all the answers for freezer meal prep questions. They say that freezer meals properly wrapped stay good for 3-6 months depending on ingredients. After that they will still be safe to eat, but may be unappealing due to freezer burn, etc. Here is a link for the USDA with their recommendations: http://tinyurl.com/zme8rc2

    1. Double Double. I used to not like the idea- I mean I wanted variety! But that was when I only had one kid. Now, I NEED extra time. Forget variety. lol

    1. If you can chop vegetables and turn on a crockpot, then you can make freezer meals. Just choose the easy assembly crockpot recipes- You put the raw ingredients in a labelled bag and stick it in the freezer. The day before you want to serve it, you move the bag to the fridge to thaw overnight. Then, in the morning, you empty the contents of the bag into a crockpot and turn it on. I mean… it’s got to be the simplest way to a homemade meal ever. And the organization isn’t me, it’s all from Once a Month Meals.

    1. Thanks. πŸ˜€ I think the more freezer meals I make, the more converted to the practice I become. It is just such a great feeling to have dinner already prepped on those crazy nights.

  2. These are some great tips! I LOVE cooking meals for the freezer. I’m so proud of how much food I packed in the freezer when I was pregnant haha

    1. ha ha. Pregnancy meal prep sessions are the best. I always do a load of dinners and tons of lunch items that are “baby holding foods”- foods you can warm up and eat with one hand (like bean burritos, muffins, lactation cookies, breakfast burritos) so you can still eat if you have a baby that gets fussy when you put them down. πŸ˜€

  3. LOVE these hacks! I’m always looking for more hacks because I just don’t have time to spend in the kitchen. I really need to check out that website and start implementing these ideas. Thanks!

    1. Me too! Even if I had more time to spend in the kitchen, I wouldn’t want to. I’d rather do freezer meals and read a book every day at 4pm instead of running around like a crazy woman in the kitchen. πŸ™‚

  4. First off, you already had me laughing at the tuna pie reference from 5 years ago Bahaha but seriously, you have me sold on this. I always think that doing this would be amazing but then I think of all the work and then I don’t want to. But you literally included everything I’d need to know (like folding the zip lock tops over? Such a good hack) all the things I’d learn the hard way that would make me never want to do it again haha I’m going to try to do this next week!

    1. Ha ha. So, the tuna pie was a frugal desperation move- no chicken… but why not substitute with this canned tuna WIC had been pushing on me? You should have seen the crust. It was homemade and wonderful. Perfectly browned. But then we cut into it and the demons of canned tuna were released into our nostrils. ha ha ha. Even the stray cats outside were suspicious.
      But seriously, please try freezer meals. It can make such a huge difference. You might just have to find the recipes that your family likes. Trial and error and all that. Just don’t make any rash last minute substitutions. lol

  5. I have always wanted to be able to do this for my family but I just get overwhelmed when it comes to the planning and preparation. I think I will save this post and try again. It’s always so handy when we do have freezer meals.

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