Sunday, January 13, 2013

10 Steps to Freezer Cooking.

Due to pinterest (of course) I came across this whole new world of Freezer Cooking a while ago and I thought "Cool! That would be handy" but I never got around to doing it. Well, I started it last week and I have to tell you it has completely changed my life already, hahah. I love it you guys! It takes a little time up front to plan and such but it makes my daily life feel so much easier! So I have compiled the 10 steps I have found to make this really work (and work well)!

I split these ten steps up between 2 separate days..

Day 1: 

1. Browse Sales:
      Get out your sales ads or search the internet. You don't want to do this and just pay full price for everything, now do you? No! Learn to browse sales. Check your favorite stores or stores in your area and see what they have going on. If you notice the grocery store right down the street is having a major sale on chicken then plan on having most of your meals with chicken and so on. 

2. Plan your menu:
      You can plan as far ahead as your heart desires. I have done a weekly plan system, but I am considering doing a monthly one in the future. Just do whatever works best for you. Browse cook books, websites, pinterest, etc and make a plan of which meals you want to cook on which days. Write it down.

3. Print/Write Down Recipes:
      Find a way that works for you and get the recipes right in front of you. Print them out, write them down, save them as PDFs in a folder on your computer.. whatever. Just find something that works for you so that you aren't trying to cook, stuff bags, and have a million websites to search all on the same day. Save yourself the trouble and organize them now. 

4. Compile a shopping list:
     Write down what you need and where you plan to get it from. Sometimes I shop at 5 different stores! It just depends on what's on sale at each store. 

5. Clip Coupons!
      For those of you reading this who know me, you know how crazy I am about coupons. For those of you who don't know me, now you know! Buy papers on Sunday! If you go to Dollar Tree they are only $1! Buy 1 for every person in your household plus 1 extra (minimum) every week. I get a ton every week, but that's another story for another post. ;)

Day 2:

6. Clean your kitchen, if you need to:
      Always always ALWAYSSS start with a completely clean kitchen. Trust me. The worst feeling is coming home with tons of groceries and then trying to do these next few steps in an already dirty kitchen. You'll set yourself up to feeling cranky and overwhelmed if you don't do this, so just clean it!

7. Shop:
      Plan your shopping trip before you leave the house. Chances are you will have more than one store to go to, so shop smart and efficiently. If there are stores on your list with items that do not need to be put away right away go there first and then move on to stores where you will have to run home after. 

8. Prep Work:
      Carry your groceries inside, put the kids down for a nap, tell your husband to leave you alone, and get to work! ;) First you are going to want to label your freezer bags! I put the date, name of recipe, and any cooking directions for day of. For example: 1/13 - Savory Chicken. Cook low 6 hours. Serve with a side veggies (this isn't an actual recipe). Next start doing any cooking that needs to be done according to your recipes. Most things that are cooked need to be cooled before placed into the bags, so as those things cool take that time to chop veggies and begin filling bags with other ingredients.

9. Freeze!:
      Follow your recipe and place everything you need into your bags. Push out as much air as you can, seal, lay flat and freeze! 

10. Clean Up:
      Sorry, but the mess isn't going to take care of itself sweetie. Clean it up! (Or if you're lucky the kids will do it, or your husband?) ;)

Viola! Welcome to freezer cooking!

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