Emergency Preparedness

One thing that I enjoy doing that gets the most curious looks from the people I know is . . . freezer cooking.

Oh sure, now you’re giving me “that look” too.  I can tell.  Really, it’s okay.  Most people just don’t know what to say when I tell them that I spend hours preparing meals for my family to put in the freezer.  They can’t understand someone wanting to spend extra time cooking.

But if you think of freezer cooking as a way to get organized at mealtime and take away the “what’s for dinner” 5pm panic, it really does make sense.  Yes, I do enjoy cooking but that is not why I freezer cook (or OAMC, etc.).  I like the ease of menu planning.  The comfort that comes with knowing I can serve my family a well balanced meal without ripping my hair out an hour before dinnertime.

Many methods of freezer cooking make the task seem insurmountable to the beginner.  They make you think that if you don’t have a month’s worth of meals at the end of your cooking day that you’ve somehow failed.  Or that if you can’t find one whole day to do your cooking that you have poor time management, or an ungrateful spouse, or unruly kids.  Oh let the kids go a little nuts, they’re kids.  You can still provide your family with wholesome, nutrious meals even if you don’t have a full day to cook.  And who would want to be on their feet for 16 hours straight anyway?

My method is simple and I learned it here.  Nancy & her crew made freezer cooking simple and amazingly understandable from many viewpoints.  I use the mini session approach to meal making.  I simply take a look at what’s on sale and plan a mini session to take advantage of that item.  Then I can look at what’s on sale the next week and do another mini session if needed.  Or if I still have some freezer space available.

Sometimes my mini sessions aren’t based on what’s on sale.  Sometimes we specifically need, oh let’s say, breakfast/brunch items.  We always eat brunch on Sundays so I will plan a mini session to make things like quiche, strata, french toast sticks, etc. ahead of time.  Since eggs are a cheap protein item, I can make several of each recipe and have several weeks of brunch dishes made in about four hours.

I keep track of what I’ve made during a mini session on the 30 Day Gourmet’s Worksheet E: Recipe Inventory Checklist.  This form has pre-done columns for number of recipes stored, the recipe name, and includes space to list the items needed on hand for serving day.  Since the form only includes one line for the date, I use the next open line for recording the date of my second & subsequent mini sessions.  I also add a note to the upper corner that says “Updated” with the date of the update so that I know how current my list is (unfortunately, not everything gets crossed off as it gets used so this helps me keep track of foods that should be used up soon as well).

Not only does having the food prepped and frozen simplify meal time, it’s good for emergencies too.  Like a sudden job loss, friend/family member having a baby, illness, funeral or other occasion requiring you to bring food at short notice.  See, emergency preparedness.

I’ll try to post a photo of my checklist tomorrow.  If you have any questions about freezer cooking please feel free to post them in the comments section and I’ll answer as many as I can.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Nan
    Nov 02, 2010 @ 14:30:19

    I freezer cook for lunch for myself; since I just have to feed myself, I cook a family-sized batch of something for dinner, then divide into individual portions to freeze. Disposable containers are great for this; don’t get me wrong, I wash them and use them until they die or get lost.

  2. Franklin in TN
    Nov 02, 2010 @ 17:00:33

    Freezing cooking is very practical and for couples where both are working, is a true blessing.

  3. thefrenchchick
    Nov 03, 2010 @ 07:30:52

    Absolutely a blessing. Thanks for the comments.

  4. thefrenchchick
    Nov 03, 2010 @ 07:34:17

    Nan, I too like the disposable containers. Tomato stains on expensive containers turn my day wrong. I also wash the containers and reuse repeatedly.

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