So I thought I would share how I have been preparing for a marathon of batch cooking to stock my freezer full of dinners.
There might be several reasons why you would want to stock your freezer, returning home from a holiday and no time to shop, a busy time at work, back to school or in my case the life changing event of having a new-born.
At first glance, especially when you watch YouTubers and their freezer meal ideas it all looks simple, just make an extra batch of what you plan to eat that week and the job is done.
This may work for some but I plan to do zero cooking for 6 weeks and I need a thorough plan so here are some helpful tips which can help you with your Freezer Meal Prep.
1. Favourite Meals: This sounds obvious, but pick your families favourite meals, you may be tempted to pick something that is quick and simple over a loved dish because that one may take longer and you have 20 other dinners to cook.
I would suggest picking the favourite, spend some extra time and you will be thanking yourself later when you choose that beloved dish over a takeaway meal that will take 40minutes for delivery!
2. Maintenance: Clear out your freezer, defrost it if you need to and be realistic is your freezer in good working order? You are about to invest time and money and oh yes, lots of time to cook a months worth of meals the last thing you need is your freezer to breakdown. It would also be wise to assess the space that you have in your freezer, it is all well and good planning for months and months of meals but you can only cook what your space will allow!
3. Equipment: Think easy to store and easy to clean! This ties into the space issue, it is no good using trays and dishes that you would normally use when cooking to store your meals in, these will take up far too much room.
Purchase plenty of Foil Trays with lids and good quality freezer bags I personally love the Ziploc bags which you can get at Costco. Not only will all this save on storage but it will save on washing up too!
4. Structure: After selecting your favourite meals it is time to collate ingredients together as well as similar cooking processes. Are you planning 2 curries? Make sure to cook those on the same day, the same as your pasta dishes, or perhaps your type of meat may determine the order of what you cook. However you plan to cook your meals make sure there is some logic behind it than cooking everything in sight or you will feel overwhelmed!
5. Be Realistic: I am very pregnant and there is no way I can last all day in a kitchen by myself cooking meal, after meal – I will become overwhelmed and quit half way through!
I have chosen meals that require zero cooking, when I want them I will be simply defrosting and putting them in the oven to heat up so I need to cook everything. My meals are not things in a bag, frozen to cook later. To keep up my motivation I have separated the meals over several weeks, you could do days whatever you prefer but be realistic to get yourself through it!
6. Cost: Think how much your extra freezer meals will cost you in your monthly food shop and budget accordingly. You may need to save for this expense the month prior or perhaps drop other things in your budget for the month.
7. Detailed Inventory: Make sure to keep a detailed inventory of what meals you have stored. Perhaps create a meal plan of when you intend to eat what – this should you help ensure you have a variety of meals – no one wants to eat pasta for six weeks even if they are different meals.
When storing your meals make sure to be detailed in your explanation of what is in there, the temperature you will need to cook, and what sides you will need. This will help keep everything simple when your busy with other things, remember you are investing time now so you don’t have to stress later!
I hope my 7 tips for Freezer Meal Prep will help you should you be preparing for a batch cooking session and keep an eye out next week for the Freezer Meals I plant to cook!