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Thursday, September 12, 2013

What I learned from a month of freezer cooking

Well I told you that I was going to use part of August to get some freezer meals together.  I thought I would give you my thoughts on what I liked, didn't like, what I would do again, and what I wouldn't do again.

1) I LOVED how quickly these recipes came together .

2) I LOVED that this post from Pioneer Woman came out just when I needed it.

3) I LOVED that for a whole month all I needed to do a few days a week was go to my freezer and drop a meal in the crock pot.

4) I LOVED that this allowed me to branch out and try some new recipes!

1) I HATED that some of the recipes that came together quickly didn't taste all that great :/

2) I HATED that I ran out of freezer room way before I ran out of recipes.

3) I HATED that having such a full freezer kept me from being able to take advantage of a few stock up sales.

What I would do again:
My approach was to head to Pinterest and find recipes I wanted to try.  Then I sent through my list of recipes that I knew we liked.  Next, I went through the pantry to see what ingredients I had on hand.  The recipes I chose were the ones that either sounded good or I knew we liked AND I had most of the ingredients already.
After recipes were chosen I then made a list and went to the store to get the rest of the ingredients. And some aluminum bake ware.  (Thanks for the idea PW).

As the month has gone on I have made note of which recipes we really like and which ones to avoid.
I have also resolved the fact that I missed sales by reminding myself stores are on a cycle and those sales will come around again.
I would use aluminum bakeware again, but I would store things differently.  The plastic lids cracked in the freezer.  Instead, I would just wrap the whole thing in foil.

What I would change:
Well, I already said the bakeware thing.
I won't ever do a recipe with honey in it.  The majority of the honey clings the the freezer bag.
I won't repeat a recipe more then twice.  I don't have enough freezer room for more then one month and the likely hood of eating a meal other then pizza, burgers or tacos more then twice in a month is slim.

A few other tips:
-Don't be afraid to sub ingredients or reduce/increase the size of a recipe.  Our family eats 3 chicken breasts between the 4 of us.  So, I make recipes with 3, not 4 or 6.  If you don't like the recipe you really won't like the leftovers!

-Always have a back up plan.  I made Honey Chicken and it was pretty tasteless.  I saved the recipe simply by topping the chicken with General Tao's sauce from Trader Joe's.

-If you are tight on freezer space don't waste space on side dishes.  Those can be prepped quick enough on the day you are serving your dinner.

-Variety, Variety, Variety-branch out, try new recipes from different bloggers.

-save money by choosing recipes that have in season ingredients

-find a cooking buddy and buy in bulk to also save money

1 comment:

  1. Great post. I also love stocking up on those aluminum pans for when I make meals for other families. When there are several people bringing meals for a family, I think it's a nice extra gift to deliver a meal and say "I don't need any of the dishes back."