Have you seen those post? You know the ones. MAKE 30 MEALS IN ONE DAY AND SAVE MONEY! It sounds great, doesn’t it? Spend one day cooking and have a month’s worth of dinners in your freezer ready to go. And since you have all this food, you won’t be tempted to eat out all the time! Sounds awesome, right? While I think this idea is wonderful for busy families who are trying to save time and money, I had a few issues with it.
First, in order to have everything you need to make these meals you’re not able to cook based on sales. So sure you’ll save money by not eating out but not necessarily on your grocery bill. Second, most of these meals require a slow cooker. Now, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my slow cooker! but I’ll admit I get a little bit tired of slow cooker meals after a while. Lastly, THIS IS SO MUCH WORK!!! I know it’s only one day BUT, I attempted to do this before my first daughter was born and after about seven meals, I tapped out.
So if you’re looking for something a little less extreme, please continue reading.
BUY IN BULK
It never fails. Some of the most expensive items on the grocery list are always meat. And if you’re a meat lover like me, you can’t avoid buying it. So the first thing we need to discuss is buying meat in bulk! I know you’re probably thinking, “I’ve already tried to buy meat in bulk but I never use all of the meat in the package. It ends up getting thrown away or sitting in the freezer getting freezer burnt.” Yes, I understand. I have committed the crime of throwing pounds and pounds of freezer burned chicken in the garbage. But I promise there is a better way.
When meat goes on sale, buy it in bulk. Then when you get home COOK it. I’m not kidding that is my secret. As soon as we get home from the store, we put away the groceries and either grill or bake all the chicken. Then I’ll put a couple of breasts in the refrigerator to use in recipes for the week and the rest will go into freezer bags and into the freezer. Why is this more effective than just freezing raw chicken? Because, now, I am stocked up with chicken that I purchased for a low price AND since it is already cooked it will save me time. Therefore, I am more likely to use it.
This method also works with other types of meat. For example, you can buy ground beef in bulk and make and freeze hamburger patties and meatballs. Or, simply brown the meat and place enough for one recipe in each freezer bag.
Produce can be another easy way to lose money. This is mostly because a lot of it gets wasted. To prevent this it’s a good idea to freeze produce before it goes bad. The best way to do this is by flash freezing. Flash freeze your produce by cutting it up then laying it on a sheet pan lined with parchment or freezer paper. Pop it in the freezer for about 2 hours then place the food in a freezer bag. Frozen fruit is great for smoothies or just a nice cold snack on a hot day!
This next method might seem obvious but maybe you have never tried it. Instead of making one meal, make two. One for now and one for later! For example, lasagna is a lot of work to make. But it doesn’t take any more time or energy to make two lasagnas at the same time. Just simply double the recipe. Then place one lasagna in the oven and the other in the freezer! Then, in a few weeks when you’re ready for another lasagna night, simply thaw the frozen lasagna in the refrigerator overnight and bake it for dinner the next day.
Worried about losing all your dishes to the freezer?
Try this! line your dish with heavy-duty aluminum foil before placing the meal in the dish. Freeze for 2 hours. Then lift the foil and the meal out of the dish. Wrap with clear plastic wrap, label it and place it in the freezer to be consumed at a later date (see photos below).
Take a Walk
Not sure what will keep well in the freezer? No problem! Just take a walk up and down the freezer aisle. Odds are, if you can find it in the freezer section, you can probably make it yourself and freeze it too.
Do you have a favorite meal or ingredient that you like to freeze? Tell me about it in the comments!