Freezer Cooking Guide: Tips for Success
1. Be Prepared
It's important to get prepared for your cooking session if you're going to cook several freezer meals at once. Even if you are just doubling your nightly meal to put into the freezer, you'll need to get everything prepared, and make sure you have all the ingredients and storage containers.
2. Get Comfortable
You should wear a good pair of shoes (I have these shoes and absolutely love them! They're the most comfortable pair of shoes I've ever purchased!) If you can invest in a comfortable standing mat for your kitchen floor that is great too. Have a snack before you start to avoid snacking as you cook.
3. Shop with a List
You definitely do not want to shop for a freezer cooking session without a list. Go through all your recipes and write down all the ingredients as well as the amounts you need, taking into account the fact that you may be doubling, tripling, or even quadrupling some of your recipes. You need to know exactly how much and what to buy so that you will not be lacking anything when you get into the middle of cooking.
4. Cook What You Like
Most families actually rotate the same 8 to 10 dishes, and rarely try anything new. It's important to understand what you and your family like and work within that parameter to truly be successful with freezer cooking. Try only one or two new things in any give month and you'll be a lot happier with the outcome. Believe me, I've put some recipes in the freezer that were new to me, and ended up not liking them at all. Not fun to have to throw it out or eat something you don't like!
5. Get Organized
Before you start, make sure you begin with a clean kitchen and an organized workspace. Get out the pans and supplies that you need in advance and set them out like you work in a factory so that they're ready to go. Fill your sink with soapy water so you can wash dishes as you go. You'll need to reuse some of your utensils for other recipes and you'll be glad to have them clean and ready to go again. Plus, you don't want to end your cooking session with an avalanche of dishes to wash!
6. Packaging & Labeling
You can use freezer bags to store a lot of your meals. Lay them flat and you will find that you can fit quite of bit of food in the freezer that way. You also need to make sure you label everything so you'll know what it is after it freezes.
7. Handling Food Safely
Do not mix utensils when handling raw meat. Wash your hands often in hot soapy water. Use a thermometer to ensure proper internal cooking temperatures. Don't leave foods sitting out on the counter; get them back into the fridge or into the freezer. You can read more about the Core Four Practices of safe food handling at fightbac.org.
Are you ready to get some meals in the freezer?