It might seem overwhelming. But if you have a schedule which makes it hard to cook every single day, getting your dinners done will feel so satisfying.
As a full-time working mom, I understand the struggles of many others in my situation–we want to be supermoms. There’s work, tending to children and our homes, and getting meals on the table on a daily basis. We love to cook and bake and try new recipes–but when?
To be honest, I did not grow up with a stocked freezer. My mother bought ingredients and cooked fresh food daily. My mother never froze a thing. I first learned of the concept when I got married–my husband mentioned that his mother had many freezers and prepared meals in advance. When I was expecting my first child, it got me thinking–if I froze many meals now, I’d be set for after the baby!
So I did. And since my first baby was a preemie, those meals served me well, as there was no thoughts of cooking for many months.
And that is how my relationship with the freezer began. I am still grateful to the freezer that helps me be the best mother and wife I can.
This is especially true in the summer, when I want to be outside with my children after we all come home without the worry of “When am I going to make supper?”
I have two simple tactics that make my life so much easier.
It seems like a lot to read at once but it really doesn’t take that long once you have it down to a science. I put on a counter cover, set up a few stations, and rolled up my sleeves. It’s a lot of work–but I promise you will go to sleep feeling so satisfied.
Tactic #1: Nothing goes into the freezer unless it is prepped. I’ll never freeze a pack of chicken cutlets before I bread, season, or marinate.
Tactic #2: Stick to a weekly schedule rotation which looks something like this:
Sunday: Leftovers or a BBQ
Monday: Breaded Chicken Cutlets
Tuesday: Ground Meat (either meatballs, burgers, or sloppy joes)
Wednesday: Salmon or Grilled Chicken Shawarma
Thursday: Dairy Night (pizza, lasagna, cheese sticks or pretzels, wraps)
Most of the food listed is made in bulk, so I go to the grocery and buy 20 pounds of chicken cutlets, 20 pounds of ground meat, a few packs of salmon and I get working.
First, I make all my chickens. Some are breaded, some are marinated, and I prepare a few different versions. Then, I make a huge pot of meatballs and lots and lots of hamburger patties.
I also make a variety of soups and freeze them–broccoli soup, cauliflower soup, cream of chicken soup, and vegetable soup…
As far as side dishes, I do freeze some side dishes like rice, kasha, farfel, deli knishes, potato knishes, carrot muffins, and broccoli kugel. Others, I make fresh, such as breaded cauliflower or roasted vegetables.
Does this happen all in one day?
No. Sometimes, the grocery shopping and proteins usually happens on one Sunday, and soups and sides on another day. Other times, when I’m not so overzealous, I’ll break it up and do chicken on one Sunday, ground meat on another Sunday, and soups on a third, and build up the freezer stash more slowly. Sometimes, it’s not as realistic. Last week, I bought ground beef and made only burgers on Monday night. On Thursdays, I made only cookies and cakes for the month. Yesterday, I bought two family packs of chicken cutlets and made one type of chicken for the freezer. This way…things build up more slowly but there’s still always dinner in the freezer for me to serve.