Thursday, April 4, 2013

Freezer Love

Before too long, we'll be heading out to the garden to pick the main ingredients of our meals (and what a joy that will be!).  Before that's possible (like now), it's my freezers and pantry I head to for main ingredients.

But there is one thing my pantry/canner can't do for me that my freezer can: hold quick meals.

When I make dinner, I rarely just think of that one meal.  I almost always double (or triple) the recipe because my time is limited and because there are just some nights I don't feel like cooking.

Does that ever happen to you?

Kids + school + maintaining a home = exhaustion.  Am I right?  A long while ago, I stopped beating myself up over the fact that sometimes I feel utterly depleted.  So, I aim to be proactive and anticipate those days by taking dinner out of the equation.  Sure, every once in a blue moon we head out to a restaurant.  Or have sandwiches for dinner.  Or waffles.  But, having some extra meals in the freezer takes the burden (and dare I say, dread?) away and assures me that we're eating something healthy.  Exhaustion - guilt over the exhaustion = sanity (for me).

How's my math?

If you haven't discovered this little trick, I encourage you to try it.  And, just to give you an idea of what I'm talking about here, I opened my freezer and took some pictures to show you what this looks like.

The door to my upright freezer holds most of the meals (the door means no digging and labels can be easily read).  Yes, we eat a lot of yogurt.  Yes, I used to make yogurt myself.  Now I buy it.  And I buy bread, too.  I've also learned I can't do everything.  And, I'm okay with that.

These life-savers contain...

With some homemade rolls, tortillas and pie crusts ready in the freezer as well, a meal is easily within reach.  Here are some examples of what's there and what it will become...

Other meals are easier to freeze in baking dishes and so I keep some of those on hand as well.  These are the truly quick ones (as long as you remember to set it out to thaw in the morning, of course). 

Keep in mind, I didn't make these all at once.  My, no.  When I make a meal that's easy to double or triple, I do just that.  The extra finds it's way to my dear friend, my freezer.  

She's always looking out for me.  Now let yours look out for you, too.

Recipes for almost all of these easy-to-freeze meals can be found here or here.
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  1. Now that 4 of my children are grown we freeze leftovers and overages as well in small portions. They make great lunches for just 2 people.

  2. Oh my gosh! This looks like MY freezer/refrigerator - we keep everything in old yogurt containers, too! With masking tape notes on top! Haha!

  3. No, one can never do it all. :) Thanks for being real! Sometimes I make my own yogurt, bread, etc., and sometimes...I don't. I do like your system for freezing meals; thanks for sharing. :)

  4. I *love* my freezer too. I noticed *Lentil Coconut Curry* in your photos...would that be Jennifer Jo's recipe? I'm planning to make that tomorrow. :) Yippee for planning ahead and making more than you need today to set aside for the future *off* days. We all have those! Happy Spring. :)

    Blessings to you!

    1. We both made adaptations of the recipe from Simply In Season- a wonderful cookbook:-).

    2. FUN! I enjoy thinking about us eating some of the same things. And...speaking of which...I tried your black bean and rice casserole awhile was a hit. Thought you'd like to know...

  5. I love when I make extra and freeze makes me HAPPY to be able to pull a meal out of the freezer in the morning and not have to worry about it. Then to just assemble it at dinner time...bliss!

  6. Aren't freezer meals the best?!?! When I was pregnant with my 3rd, my best friend came over and in 1 day, we put together 3 weeks worth of suppers! Then spending another day, I put another 3 weeks worth of suppers in my freezer. It was perfect as I have to have c-sections and am not in cooking mode at even 5 weeks post-partum (for #4, I did 4 weeks of freezer meals, but wish I had done more)! After that, I just started doing freezer meals like you (tripling meals and freezing 1-1/2). Perfect for busy days and lazy days, I say! Every now and then (like this month), I'm spending a couple mornings with friends cooking freezer meals to stock myself back up for a busy spring time on the farm. My friends and I get to visit while our kids play AND be productive, then we split the meals... win/win/win!

  7. The home freezer has GOT to be one of the very best (and most important) inventions for the homemaker!

  8. Just came across your blog. Look forward to getting to know you better.


  9. oh, yes, my freezer is a precious stash of quick food. I just today used some soup and I found myself being reluctant at first to get it out - I have to remind myself that the freezer food is FOR DAYS LIKE TODAY and give myself permission to use it!

  10. I have been thinking that there must be something I can do with all the yogurt tubs. Plus an easy solution for storage. This is fantastic, I'm going to start tonight! Thanks!

  11. I have a similar love affair with my freezer. As a single woman, I store many items in smaller lunch portion containers. Some of my soups get stored in larger containers so that I can invite a friend to dinner without stressing over cooking. Defrost, buy some bread, put together a salad and suddenly I'm entertaining!

  12. I do similar to you with making larger amounts and freezing the left overs in single use portions like you do. One thing I found really helps is when I purchase meat for instance, I get it at a warehouse store. I not only portion it out for meals but I sometimes take the time to brown hamburger ahead of time and freeze in 1 lb segments. This makes for super quick meals. I can have tacos in to time flat along with casseroles, etc. because the meat is already cooked. I have also taken to doing a lot more home canning. I am always wary of the power going out around here (which it seems to do often) and I don't have to worry about waste. I can pints of various soups and recipe starters, which are a mix of meats and vegetables and seasonings. For instance I make one with turkey and veggies and seasonings. Depending on what I do when I open it, I can add water for soup, or add some cream and flour to thicken and either make pot pies from that or creamed turkey over bisquits, or turkey cottage pie with mashed potatoes on top or whatever. Not only does it save time, but it certainly saves a lot of money and we know what we are getting in our diet. That alone is worth the effort for peace of mind :)


Just a friendly reminder, if you know me personally please try to refrain from using my name. There are those who may try to locate me, break into my pantry and steal my pickled beets. Thanks:-).

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