The new year is officially back in full swing. Kids are back in school, noses back to grindstones and schedules are back to a better, manageable flow. Goals that were set have been put into play. I am sure many of you have done the same I have been busy working on a number of projects,
The one thing that I really want to do this year is more freezer banking! This is also known by other names such as "bulk cooking" "Freezer Meals" and things like that. I like the term freezer banking because that explains the task to a tee! I don't want to spend an entire day or two preparing a months worth of meals, because, truth be told, I am not the biggest fan of leftovers. In fact, I really kind of loathe them. That is not to say I don't eat them, but anyone who knows me, knows that leftovers are simply eaten in an effort to not waste, which is one of my biggest pet peeves. There are a few dishes that I actually enjoy leftover, such as spaghetti, chili and stuffed cabbage, mostly I don't like reheated whole meats such as grilled and roasted chicken, steak and/or pork. In their ground versions, they seem to be more palatable when leftover, but for the most part, I am always looking for better ways to reinvent my leftovers and fool myself into eating them.
I know that I am not alone! I know that somewhere out there, among you there are people just like me. You know who you are! I would rather eat cold leftovers than reheat them. I have been known to indulge and enjoy cold spaghetti or takeout cashew chicken, right from the paper carton! Meatballs are better cold than reheated and chicken is definitely something that is best eating out of hand cold straight from the fridge than reheated and rubbery. There is a solution to the leftover dilemma that I face and freezer banking is the answer.
I have found that when making anything from soups to casseroles to bakes, making enough for two, three or four meals all at one time is just as easy to achieve as making enough for a single meal. The difference here is in the construction. Building the dish and then preparing it for the freezer before the final cooking is the secret to never having a leftover 'tasting" meal. At least that is what I think. The best part about freezer banking is that you end up stocking your freezer over time and rotating out what you are eating instead of filling up the freezer and being forced to eat what you thought you might like to have for an entire month or two or even three in some cases. Bulk cooking works for some, but for me, it isn't something I enjoy.
Freezer banking is also an option for people who don't wish to do home canning. It is a way for you to make extra, freeze and have a meal ready anytime you need it. We all have those nights when we didn't thaw out the meat or we just don't have the energy to decide what to have for supper. When you have a freezer full of options this is never a problem. Just open the door, choose your dinner, pop in the oven and multi task away. Add a few sides like fresh salad and crunch bread or biscuts if you like and dinner is served, hot and ready, while you were getting important stuff done, like laundry, quality time or "me" time.
Lots of dishes lend themselves to freezer banking, with some exceptions. I have freezer banked the following items that my family loves:
This is just a few examples of things that I have freezer banked in the past and some I actually have in my freezer right now. These are a great way to have a meal ready to go that you can work into your menu rotation and not have a bunch of work to do when you get home from work. It frees up time when you know you will be busy and still allows you to feed your family a healthy and nutritious meal while avoiding the drive through. It also helps you save money because you are able to take advantage of what is on sale that particular week and stretch that savings to a couple of other meals.
Coming soon, I will be helping you to focus on how to start freezer banking in your own life. You don't have to spend days cooking pounds of ground beef and shredding pounds of cheese and eating the same things over and over again just to save money, time and effort. You can just do it a little at a time and build your freezer bank to suit your own needs.
I hope this inspires you to want to freezer bank on your own as well. I think we all do this to some degree, but if we ramp it up just a little you might be surprised at how much you can save in so many ways!
So the next time you make something for dinner. Think about how you can turn that into an opportunity for freezer banking. My year is already off to a great start and I have high aspirations for the rest of the year! Let's all try to make freezer banking a habit!