Two weekends ago, I made the "mistake" of listening to a Homefries podcast while folding loads of laundry. Tsh was talking to Jessica from Life as Mom, and the topic of freezer cooking came up in their conversation. Jessica is a champion freezer cooker.
And suddenly, listening to that podcast, it was like someone had proppelled me into a crazed state of freezer cooking madness.
I know there are tons of resources on the internet about freezer cooking. People have mastered it. Freezing meals, casseroles, soups, pies, the insides of pies. Doing all their cooking for the year in one afternoon. (slight exaggeration).
And while I really want to be one of "those people", I've always been overwhelmed by the idea. Buying all that food. Finding long stretches of uninterrupted time in the kitchen. The freezer space required. The supplies. The know-how. The mess. The dishes.
But last Saturday, I decided for my growing family who seems to be consuming more and more volumes of food at every meal, I needed to give this a try.
I spent the next hour or so with roughly every blog post Jessica has ever written on the topic opened in tabs on my browser. I began scribbling down notes, making a shopping list and getting even more inspired.
I decided that I needed to tackle this new project in manageable chunks. I didn't google anything or search for more ideas, but decided to only use Jessica's blog as my resource so that I wouldn't be overwhelmed by information overload. I knew I needed to stick with a few basics and go from there.
I decided on three goals:
Cook and freeze a large batch of shredded chicken.
Try her "lawnmower taco" recipe.
Make one casserole during the week that I could double. Make one. Freeze one.
I went to the grocery store that afternoon after scanning circulars for a good deal on chicken. That evening after dinner I put all the chicken in my crockpot with some water and chicken base (I love Minors) and set it on low. In the morning after it had cooled somewhat, it was tender and easy to shred and package up for the freezer once it came to room temperature. (an important tip!)
Last week when I was making dinner, it was easy to make a double-recipe and freeze another whole casserole for some other night when I'm not in the mood to cook or feeling totally uninspired.
Over the weekend, I made her lawnmower taco recipe, which was so simple, good and demolished by my family. And I browned extra meat and froze a portion of it for later.
Seriously, I think I could get into this. I absolutely do not see myself as someone who will do month's worth of prepping and freezing, but this little experiment opened my eyes to the fact that there are great ways to take on this idea in manageable ways. It was so easy to cook the chicken. overnight, in the crockpot. So easy to double a recipe.
I'm excited to slowly add more things to my freezer (which I also cleaned out that morning, too. Seriously. I was inspired!) Last week, I pulled out some shredded chicken at the last minute and made Sarah's Chicken and Dumplings, which usually require me to be much more prepared and have started the recipe mid-day.
My only issue now is knowing when to use the things I've frozen. Is a regular old weeknight dinner a good excuse to break out something frozen? Or do I keep them only for the nights that life is crazy or I'm just completely uninspired and unprepared for dinner that evening? I think if I continue to watch for good deals and try to double at least one thing each week, I'll feel more satisfied with my stash and won't feel so panicked when I dip into it.
This week, I want to freeze some cookie dough. And I want to try chicken pot pie–one to eat, one to freeze.
Yeah, I'm kinda in love with this whole concept. (And with my organized freezer full of options.)
And you? Do you freeze? Tell me more! I'm dying to hear more ideas and inspiration! Talk to me.
**(And yes, there is something new….it's coming. I'm just behind. As usual…)**