I think there is a universal loathing for the daily ritual of having to decide what to make for dinner and to actually put those thoughts into action. I often have lofty plans for menu planning, but they rarely last longer than one or two weeks. Last week, however, my obsession with Pinterest paid off. I came across a random pin for 10 freezer meals. Then another. And another. I was inspired. I recruited a couple of friends, hit Costco, cleared out my pantry and in one day I had filled my freezer with 30 meals.
Have you always wanted to do this? Here’s how to make it happen:
1. Recruit a friend or two and pick a day. Make sure you will have enough room in the kitchen for everyone to prep and package. Plan to start as early in the day as you can and end as late as you can. Figure out what you’re going to do with your kids – if you’re lucky, it can be one long playdate! Accept that you will have frequent interruptions and still have to do the basics like feed and change those wee people.
2. Find the recipes. Here are some sites to get you started:
Ring Around the Rosies: Freezer Cooking
10 Freezer Meals in 1 Day! | Dreaming of Poultry
The Test Kitchen of Melissa Fallis: Freezer Cooking- Slow Cooker Meals!
Freezer Meals For Us
3. Review the recipes for timing and serving size. Consider whether a recipe would be enough for one meal or two; whehter you would split it or double it. Also consider how long it would take to prepare. Recipes that require multiple pots/pans (and burners) take long and are harder to do with friends. Remember also that any meals that require cooking will also require cooling before packing up.
4. Make a grocery list and check it twice. Print off your recipes and check your grocery list one more time. Don’t forget the storage items and a Sharpie.
5. Clear out your pantry and cross off whatever you already have, then go buy the rest. Buying in bulk is key. Farmers markets, butchers, and Costco will cross off most of your list.
6. Do some prep work the day before: brown your ground beef, cook your chicken, wash your vegetables, label your baggies.
7. Have fun!!
Try to find time-savers such as baby carrots instead of regular carrots to save time chopping and the biggest time saver of the day was a giant tub of crushed garlic from Costco that allowed us to skip the mindless task of crushing cloves for each and every recipe. Also, make sure you have a big black garbage bag, a big bag or bin for recycling, and a huge container for compost. You’ll be amazed how fast you will them!
Your budget will depend on how big your family is and how much they eat, specifically, how much meat they eat. For approximately $300-350 I was able to put together 30 meals for my family in one day.