How to Freezer Meal
As a busy working mom, sometimes the last thing on my mind is making dinner. Inevitably, I'm working late from home and then realize I don't have anything planned. We end up eating out or making poor decisions. I knew I had to find a better way. I had done Freezer Meals before and had just fallen out of practice. It was time to bring it back in full force.
In the past, when I did Freezer Meals, it helped take the pressure off of "what's for dinner", helped us make healthy choices AND I felt better as a Mom that I was providing for my family. It's not that I mind cooking. It's that I don't like the planning part.
How to get Started
I'm going to pull the curtain back and show you my favorite site for Freezer Meal recipes. There are lots of places you can go. Put Freezer Meal recipes or Freezer Meal Slow Cooker in Pinterest or your Search Bar. But this one is my favorite. (I don't get any compensation from telling you about this company. It's truly, just because I love their products.)
Wildtree.com has a full catalog of recipes that are healthy and delicious. I use their spices and sauces with their recipes, too. They are Organic, Gluten Free, Kosher and have no preservatives. The flavor is outstanding. We use their Rancher almost every single day. Another favorite is their Chipotle Lime. If you don't want to use their spices, I'm sure you can find a replacement of some sort at your local store. Just read the labels and make sure you know what's in them.
I went to the Wildtree site and pulled 10 of my most favorite recipes, then I started making my shopping list on my phone, adding in all the meat, spices and vegetables I'd need. (I doubled my amounts because I wanted 20 meals.)
There were some spices and sauces that I needed that weren't Wildtree, but in that case, I chose Organic as much as possible. I also switched out any oils to Avocado Oil. Do your research there. I've learned that Avocado Oil is so much better for you, where many oils can cause a lot of inflammation.
After I had my list, my daughter and I did most of our shopping at Aldi, but did have to get a few other things at the grocery store in the Organic Department.
We don't do a lot of Red Meat in our family, so I picked recipes that included Chicken Breast/Thighs/Drumsticks, Ground Turkey and organic Ground Beef.
For the Vegetables, Fruit & Herbs, I had lots of Green/Red/Yellow Peppers, Yellow/Red/White Onions, Cilantro, Mushrooms, Celery, Carrots, Limes, etc...
I also needed some canned Tomatoes, Tomato Sauce, Pineapples, Organic Chicken Broth and Panko Bread Crumbs. Watch your Bread Crumbs. Most have so many preservatives in them. I like Panko because of the texture and it literally has like 3-4 ingredients in it.
Time to Start
I had 10 recipes and I decided to make 2 of each. You'll need plenty of Freezer bags (I double bag them) and a Sharpie. I took each recipe one by one and prepped the meat and veggies. It took several hours to make everything.
Pro Tip: Write with a Sharpie on a Freezer Bag first, before you add in any food, what the meal is and any basic cooking instructions. It's hard to write on the bag when it already has food in it.
Pro Tip: Use a bowl to put your Freezer Bag in. This helps the bag not fall over as you add food and veggies.
Pro Tip: For Meatballs, I formed the meatballs and then placed them on a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Put them in the Freezer for about 15-30 minutes so they freeze. Then pull them out to put in your Freezer Bag. That will hold them in shape and keep them from sticking together.
Pro Tip: For Hamburger Patties, cut Parchment Paper in squares and place them between each patty before you put them in your Freezer Bag. This will also help them from sticking together. Lay those bags flat in the Freezer.
Have fun with the process. You could get some friends together and make an afternoon of it. You could share recipes and meals. Or have the kids and Hubs help.
Now when you're thinking of the next days meal, all you have to do is go shop from your Freezer. Leave plenty of time for it to thaw, or some Slow Cooker recipes can go straight into the cooker frozen.
These 20 meals will probably last us a little over 2 months. We'll integrate some other quick meals in between, too.
As we've been eating the dinners, I've asked the Hubs and kids to evaluate each meal and vote on whether we should make it again or pass. So far, every meal has been a winner. The kids are excited to see what we're making. And because the kids take turns cooking, the recipes are easy enough for them to do, too.
Making Freezer Meals has relieved so much stress for me. It's a discipline and practice I definitely want to continue. Let me know some of your favorite resources and recipes. We're in this together, mammas!