I may lose my “large family” card, but I really don’t freezer cook. GASP!
If you came here for instructions on how to cook 489 casseroles at once and for me to give detailed directions on how to thaw them and serve them, you might be in for a disappointment. BUT, if that *is* your jam, there are so many large family mommas out there who are freezer cook champions. If you like to freezer cook and want resources to do traditional, large batch freezer cooking, Jamerill is your go-to girl! She is the large family freezer cooking MVP. She can be found on her website The Large Family Table or on her Youtube Channel.
If you’re like me, though, and can’t really get into freezer cooking, but you still want to make dinnertime a little less hectic, let’s chat “biggest return for least effort”, shall we?
Why I Don’t Do Traditional Freezer Cooking
1. I don’t have the room for it.
We don’t have a large capacity, stand alone freezer. We used to have an upright freezer in our basement. However, when it finally went to freezer heaven, I just decided to no replace it. Upright freezers aren’t cheap, but even when we had one, I didn’t really enjoy freezer cooking to fill it. Mostly I used it for holding the pork we had from raising hogs.
Our kitchen, while open, is also quite limited on storage. Because of this, our walk-in pantry is dedicated to holding our regular, weekly food and essential kitchen supplies. I don’t have the space to house a lot of extra pans, bowls, and bulk food it would take to freezer cook for 10.
2. It’s not a big enough return on investment.
- I am not a fan of the taste and consistency of freezer meals.
- Eating the same thing over and over isn’t exciting to me.
- Bulk shopping + bulk cooking doesn’t fit into the margins of my days.
- I’m already a messy cook even with small meals.
- I have a small kitchen.
- I constantly forget to thaw stuff out.
Because of all of these little things, the big initial time and money commitment it takes to make freezer meals for my large family isn’t worth the reward in my book. I would rather keep easy staple meals that are fast to throw together than have large bulk frozen meals. I’ll do a post soon on quick, easy meals for busy days.
What I do instead.
Instead of doing traditional freezer cooking, I prep and cook main ingredients. Then I can these previously prepared items to shorten the prep time for dinners. For instance, we do homemade pizza every Friday night. Every Friday night I need a pound of cooked Italian sausage. We also cook omelets, breakfast pizza and breakfast burritos in the mornings a lot. Those breakfast meals need 1-2 pounds of sausage. A variety of meals also use ground beef. For me, ready-to-go cooked ground meat is a HUGE time and mess saver. I keep Italian sausage, breakfast sausage and ground beef in my freezer at all times.
I find that cooked ground meat doesn’t suffer the loss of taste or consistency that a lot of whole-frozen meals do. Also, there is no worry about the dreaded microwave thaw. If you have ever had a pound or two of meat that is frozen rock hard and still raw in the center and already well done on the outside due to microwave thawing, you know my pain.
I also utilize the laziest way of cooking the meat – in my slow cooker! No standing around a pot while 10 pounds of ground beef cook on the stove. I usually set about 5 pounds of meat in 2 slow cookers in the morning during chores. By the time we are finished with our morning school block, the meat is ready to be drained and cooled. Then I place it in freezer bags in 1 pound increments and freeze flat. PRO tip: MAKE sure you label ground meat; it all looks the same when frozen.
If you want to see how I do this step by step click HERE and watch my Instagram story. If you haven’t already, follow me there for day to day practical wisdom and simple tips.