I will just come out and say it: I LOVE IT WHEN MY MOM COMES TO VISIT. And one of my reasons (okay, there are more than one) is purely selfish! My mom LOVES to cook. And she loves to cook for my family!
I have a tiny kitchen. Tiny counter space. And tiny children who love it when I’m in the kitchen cuz I can’t see what they are doing. lol! And did I mention – I am the resident dishwasher – so preparing one meal creates quite a big mess!
When my mom stayed with us for a few days after Little Manuel was born, it was SUCH A HUGE BLESSING because she stocked up my freezer with several meals and cooked meats that were easily thawed and made ready for my family. I learned a lot from watching her and have used a couple of her tips since then to do some time-saving cooking when I could. And I’m finding that freezer cooking not only saves time – but money too!
When it comes to freezer cooking, it is easy to prepare frugal meals. Many frugal recipes can be placed in the freezer for cooking at a later date. There are many freezer cooking recipes books, and sites you can visit to find out which frugal meals you can freeze ahead.
- Chicken: Buy a large amount of chicken, divide it into freezer bags seasoned or with the marinade of your choice, and freeze. The chicken will marinate as it thaws and you will have a tasty dish ready. Just add a side salad and some rice, or stir into a quick soup!
- Beans and Rice: Healthy, full of fiber, and filling, beans and rice is yummy frugal meal. No need to make any other side dishes because beans and rice is truly a meal in itself. Now my family won’t eat JUST beans and rice – so I like to use only 1/2 lb of cooked ground turkey and add some beans when a recipe calls for 1 lb of ground meat.
- Chili: Prepare a simple chili with cans of beans, onions, garlic, tomato paste and chili seasoning. You can add meat if you like but when it is made right, chili with no meat can still be tasty. You can also add fresh tomatoes and other vegetables like peppers or onions. Cook the chili, let it cool, and then just freeze.
- Casseroles: Some casseroles like tuna or broccoli and cheese don’t cost much make and can be frozen with ease. When you make a casserole for dinner one night, make two. Instead of cooking the second one, once it is prepared, put it in the freezer.
- Meatballs: Meatballs are another item not expensive to make, can be doubled and frozen. You can find ground beef on sale often and can buy it in bulk in wholesale stores. With meatballs you can make different types to freeze like simple ones for spaghetti, honey barbecued, or teriyaki. Mmmmmm!
- Taco or Sloppy joe meat: Who doesn’t love tacos or sloppy joes? Again you can get hamburger meat in bulk. The good thing about these frugal meals is that you can cook them or just prepare them and freeze. It really makes creating fun, great, quick meals simple and very feasible.
- Soups: Some soups like chicken noodle or split pea can be frozen successfully. You want to be careful freezing soups with potatoes or cream in them. These types of soups do not always freeze well and will make for a gummy. Mushy meal for the family.
If you are not sure whether or not a meal freezes well, as mentioned earlier, there are many ways to find out if they do. Freezer cooking can not only be frugal but time saving, convenient, and really easy to do.
Here is a Freezer Cooking Made Simple guide that covers all the basics of getting started with freezer cooking. It also includes quite a few frugal freezer recipes.