How to Fill Your Freezer in 30 Minutes a Day

My friend Michelle of Simplify, Live, Love is sharing tips and recipes for filling your freezer in 30 minutes a day.
How to fill your freezer in 30 minutes a day - freezer recipes and freezer cooking tips included.

It’s back to school time! I don’t know about you, but my “lazy” days of summer are almost over and I need to start getting back to business. Eating at 8:30 pm isn’t going to fly with a little girl going off to Kindergarten this year. It hasn’t honestly worked so well this summer, either, to be totally truthful. But it’s been our reality for a long time these last few months as we’ve just been overwhelmed outside on our little homestead in Eastern Iowa.

To help simplify meal prep for my hungry family of 6 – I have 4 kids: 9. 7, 5, and 3, and one starving husband – I like to  use freezer meals. I don’t have time to dedicate an entire day to filling my freezer, though. I know a lot of people can spend a day just cooking for their freezer, but I can’t. So a long time ago, I started filling my freezer simply by doubling, tripling, or quadrupling whatever I happened to be cooking that  night anyway. It works for me and I’m so happy Alea is letting me share a few tips with you today!

Here’s how you can fill your freezer in 30 minutes a day!

1. Meal Plan ~ A good meal plan is essential. Without a plan, you won’t be able to fill your freezer at all. Think about your favorite meals and start writing lists. A lot of my family’s favorite meals freeze quite well, and I try to add three or four meals {breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner} to each weekly plan that I know will freeze well. Some of our favorites include tacos, Parmesan garlic chicken, and homemade bread. By incorporating meals {or meal components} that freeze well into my weekly plan, I essentially kill two birds with one stone – dinner is served, and freezer is filled at the same time! And the best part, it doesn’t take much longer to quadruple and cook a recipe than it takes to cook just one meal’s worth, so I can easily fill my freezer with just a little extra effort each day! Because let’s get real. It does take a little longer to chop two onions instead of one. But not much.

I post my menu plan each Sunday {or sometimes Mondays…} on my blog Simplify,Live,Love. I try to include links to recipes each week that I want to add to my freezer. Sometimes I’ll make extra scone packets, for instance for quicker Whole Wheat Rhubarb Scones in the morning. Or sometimes, I’ll make a ton of beans to freeze. Usually, I try to add at least two dinner meals to my freezer each week as well.

Here’s the weekly menu / freezer cooking plan I used to write this post.

Following this plan enabled me to freeze 4 loaves of Chocolate Chip Zucchini Banana Bread, 2 bags of taco meat, 2 bags of Parmesan Garlic Chicken, 2 bags of Sweet N Sour Sausage for the Slow Cooker, 2 Italian Zucchini Pies, 2 loaves of Spinach Mozzarella Meatloaf, 4 bags of beans {which we use for burritos, quesadillas, and nachos as well as to make Taco Soup for the Slow Cooker - one of my go to recipes for busy days}, 2 lasagnas,  2 bags of spaghetti sauce, and 12 baked oven sandwiches – a wonderful, crispy hot sandwich! All of this happened WHILE I cooked the regular meal for the day! What a wonderful way to fill my freezer.

This plan filled my freezer in one week. Normally, I stretch out the process over a few weeks to get the same result. I have to tell you, by the end of that week, I was really tired of cooking! :-) But my freezer is full now, and we have started eating from it. And that means, I can relax a little in the kitchen!

Easy Freezer Cooking Recipes to fill your freezer in 30 minutes a day.

2. Gather Supplies ~ When you’re cooking extra for the freezer, make sure that you have supplies like wax paper, aluminum foil, freezer bags, or extra dishes, so be sure to add those items to your shopping list, in addition to the extra ingredients you’ll need. It’s no fun to go to make extra effort to fill the freezer and then have to run back to the store to get necessary supplies for freezing. Of course, you also need to make sure you enough food! So write a detailed list for your grocery shopping trip.

3. Try to minimize waste ~ The extra supplies for freezing can sometimes get pricey so if you happen to be a bargain shopper like I am, keep an eye out for extra 9×13 pans or other appropriately sized dishes that you can freeze your food in! They can not only minimize waste, but cost as well!

4. And then, get cooking ~  Start with a clean kitchen. Make sure you have all the ingredients and the freezing supplies, and all you have to do, is at the same time you prep your normal meals, simply double, triple, or quadruple the recipe. I like to double or quadruple because it makes for easier math, but sometimes I find myself tripling due to freezer or ingredient constraints.

5. Make sure to set aside the extra instead of taking everything to the table ~ I have learned the hard way, that favorite dishes {like taco meat} have a way of disappearing if I take too much to the table. To make sure my hard work doesn’t go to waste, I portion out enough for the meal at hand and take ONLY that amount to the table. The remainders need to cool anyway, for freezing, so I cover {and sometimes, hide} them! :-)

6. Finally, prepare for the freezer ~ After the leftovers have cooled completely, flash freeze, bag or cover, and put them in your freezer. Viola! A filled freezer for about 30 minutes worth of extra work each day!!

How to fill your freezer with meals in 30 minutes a day- recipes and tips

You can find more freezer & slow cooker recipes, menu plans, and gardening tips at my blog, Simplify, Live, Love. I’m also on Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram. I’m Michelle! Please stop by and say Hi!!



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About Alea Milham

Alea Milham is the owner and editor of Premeditated Leftovers. She shares her tips for saving money and time while reducing waste in her home. Her favorite hobby, gardening, is a frugal source of organic produce for her recipes. She believes it is possible to live fully and eat well while spending less.

Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing my post, Alea! I love the new look of your blog. :-)

  2. Because my family is only a family of 2, I often just make the full recipe and split into smaller dishes {Two 8×8 instead of one 9×13}. It eliminate waste too, because we simply can’t eat a full pan of lasagna every day for a week!

  3. Hello,
    What’s the trick to storing stuff in the freezer in a way in which freezer burn will not happen? How would I store/pack muffins in the freezer?

    • Hi Aprille, the key is to let your muffins cool completely before you freeze them, and then to make sure you get all of the air out of the bag you store them in. You could vacuum seal or squeeze real hard and then use a straw to get the last bit of air out. I’ve never actually tried the straw tip, but I’ve read about it on other blogs. I just squeeze real hard and they seem to be okay. Good luck! Michelle

  4. You’re just way too organized for me! :) Awesome post!

  5. Jean | DelightfulRepast.com says:

    Alea, I’m so glad I discovered your blog this morning! Two phrases jumped out at me from your About page: “frugal with a purpose” and “rebelling against our throwaway culture.” I’m with you on both counts! I love putting my freezer, small as it is, to work for me. And someday when my refrigerator dies, I will replace it with my first-ever bottom-freezer refrigerator.

  6. When you prepared the parmesan garlic chicken, did you prepare the raw chicken and freeze each piece separately like the recipe says, or did you cook the recipe and THEN freeze it there?

    If I want to start and learn as a beginner, is there any place to go to with everything I need to know about all this?

    • Hi! I freeze the chicken raw, like the recipe says. Freezer cooking is really easy. I recommend that you start with one of your family’s favorite recipes and freeze a portion to see what you think. There are lots of good cookbooks out there – I recommend the one the parmesan garlic chicken recipe came from – it’s filled with great information and help you learn the basics. Really, though, trial and error will teach you a lot! Good luck!

  7. I love this!

    Even when I can’t plan a meal, I always try to double/triple the basics of what I’m making to freeze.

    Ex: making hamburger?
    Cook 3 lbs instead of 1, take out meal portion, divide the rest and freeze.
    Same with other meats. Chicken, I toss a few extra pieces in, shred extra to freeze for future meals. Use bones with a few veggie to make broth.
    Onions, peppers, garlic (extra pack in warm oil then put in fridge and use cloves as needed- oil for cooking) I may chop and freeze raw or cook them freeze , depending on future menu .
    Roasts? Add 1more, shred one for BBQ/freeze, the other for meal. Toss veggie scraps from meal prep with a few more and bones to make broths to freeze.
    Vegetables – I often prep several ways and store in fridge-freezer to use thru week.

    I don’t do it all in a day, I do it as I use whatever item I can mass prep.

    I also make a 2 week (at least) menu to work from.
    This means that I can use up most/all veggies with little to no waste.

    Thanks !

  8. Bible Babe says:

    Great idea! I have wanted to do the freezer cooking for a while, but had trouble with doing all the cooking in a day. This way, I can just pick our favorite meals, at least double them, and freeze the excess–GENIUS! Great blog, Thanks.

  9. Rebekah Villanueva says:

    Hi. I just found your blog and I love it!
    I love the idea of freezer cooking and I’ve read up on it, but I’m disabled and can’t be standing very long at a time so this idea of doubling or quadrupling a recipe, or even a vegetable or meat and freeze the extras is great. That way it’s not that much extra work at each time I’m cooking.
    Thanks for all of your great tips.

Trackbacks

  1. […] After broiling the ribs for 10 minutes on each side, I coated them with homemade barbecue sauce and broiled them for another 10 minutes. I made a triple batch of ribs. One for dinner and two for the freezer. Doubling and tripling recipes allows me to fill my freezer in 30 minutes a day. […]

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