With the school year starting up again, all of the activities for the children are starting up too, which means my schedule gets much busier. I figured it would be a good idea to feed my freezer with meals so that we don’t end up resorting to pizza or drive-thru, unless it’s planned.
I have nothing against eating out, but I hate having to do it out of desperation or poor planning. If I am going to eat out, I would much rather do it as a treat!
I’ve found that a freezer full of meals is one of the best ways to get a planned dinner on the table every night, without spending 30 minutes to an hour every evening in the kitchen.
I found this neat blog on Pinterest with a plan for 8 meals for $50, shopping at Aldi. I make an Aldi run every week, so I thought this would be a great way for me to change up our menu a little, get some major freezer cooking done, and not have to go to another store. Lazy planning for the win!
*We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.*
This is just a note for anyone interested, I doubled all of these meals for my family (total of 11 people). A single meal would work for a lunch, but not for dinner, so I did the equivalent of 16 meals for $100 instead.
Freezer Cooking Game Plan
I started in the morning by getting all of my meat cooked, I use this electric skillet for browning my italian sausage and ground turkey.
***If you plan to do any batch, freezer, or bulk cooking, the electric skillet is an essential tool in my opinion! You can cook up 5-6 pounds of ground meat at once without using a burner on your stovetop.
I also put four whole chickens in my turkey roaster to start cooking.
The chickens took several hours to cook, and then I had to get all of the meat off the bones. But I just prepared the recipes that used the sausage and ground turkey first. By the time I finished with those recipes, and made the kids lunch and put my littles down for naps, the chicken was ready.
So, once I had all of the sausage and ground turkey cooked, I pulled all of the ingredients out and set them on my work table so that I wouldn’t have to make extra trips to the pantry and refrigerator, but could assemble everything quickly and efficiently.
So then, I just started going down the list. I made turkey black bean chili, Italian lasagna, pizza soup, and pizza lasagna.
Then it was time to get all of the chicken off the bones!
After I deboned the chicken, I assembled the last four recipes: Chicken Salsa Soup, Chicken Pesto Soup, Chicken Enchilada Lasagna, and BBQ Chicken Hashbrown Pie.
I’m going to be totally honest here, when I finished the last freezer meal, I was totally worn out! But look at all of the meals I had for my freezer!
So far we’ve only had the BBQ Chicken Hashbrown Pie, and we’re going to have the Pizza soup tonight with some homemade french bread.
All of the children voted, and the Hashbrown Pie is a keeper!
I won’t be using these freezer meals all in a row, these will probably last us a good 3-4 weeks. I prefer to only use a freezer meal when it has been a really busy day, or if we are out of the home during the day for appointments or for martial arts or knitting class.
What Would I Change About This Freezer Cooking Plan?
For a mom with a ton of kids, or a mom with several little ones, or a mom with some special needs kiddos, or just a busy mom…this plan is a bit adventurous/overwhelming for one day’s work.
If I use this plan in its entirety again, I will cook and prep all of the meat on day 1, and assemble on day 2. I think cutting the work in half would make this so much more manageable.
Another option that I am seriously considering would be to use my batch cooking method to get all of the meat prepped and bagged into the appropriate portion for each meal, and then to make sure to have the right canned, frozen and fresh goods for the meals that I want, and just do the assembly prior to sticking the ingredients in a pot for soup, or in the oven for a casserole.
I noticed while I was assembling these recipes that it only took me about 5 minutes to get every recipe together. So, if you do your meat prep via batch cooking ahead of time, these would be really easy to just throw together!
Do you have any questions about this plan, or about freezer cooking in general?