Freezer Cooking: 60+ Meals In 1 Day
What a weekend! Friday night and all day Saturday were spent on this fall’s Freezer Cooking session. Whew!
Every few months I do a freezer cooking session, but this one was a whole new level. This time, Kayla and I decided to open up an offer to make meals for other people too. We told some friends and family about what we were doing and Kayla made this awesome Google Docs survey where people could order the quantities that they wanted. Once we knew how much of each recipe we were making it was time to get down to business.
Kayla and I have done this together before so we already had a little bit of a system going. We use Google Drive to share a spreadsheet of ingredients needed. This makes it much easier to organize everything when you actually go shopping. We also split up the prep work (choosing recipes, typing ingredients, ordering/purchasing ingredients, printing recipes and directions) so it made everything go more smoothly.
Breakfast Burritos – These are perfect for on-the-go breakfasts during the week. I typically eat one every morning when we have them in the freezer. We fill them with eggs, bacon, and cheese, but I like that you could easily personalize them to your own needs. Sometimes I use bell peppers in mine and you could easily add sausage, onion, or any other number of ingredients.
Chocolate Chili – This is my favorite chili recipe and easily the most popular one I’ve ever made. And I’ve made a lot of chili. The flavor is just perfect for most people. In our house we do tend to like things a little spicier so I usually use Hot Rotel in place of the diced tomatoes and then sometimes add some cayenne pepper as well. If you make it as written it’s not very spicy, but still full of flavor.
Enchiladas – These are a go-to freezer meal in our house because I can package them up 2 to a container and Hubby can take them to work if we don’t have leftovers from dinner the night before. Since they are pre-cooked it only takes 15 minutes to heat them up in the oven when you’re ready to eat. (I didn’t link to the recipe because we just use the recipe on the back of the Old El Paso can.)
Salsa Chicken Tacos – Easiest recipe ever. Seriously. And it’s so good either on tacos or burritos or just over chips with some queso poured on top. I personally like eating it as a burrito bowl with rice, lettuce, queso, tomatoes, and guacamole.
Sloppy Joe – This particular recipe is Whole 30 compliant if you don’t use a bun. The link says to eat it on a baked potato, but I like to roast some sweet potatoes and pour those in a bowl with this sloppy joe on top.
Slowcooker Jambalaya – It definitely has a kick, but not so much you can’t appreciate the flavors. This recipe feeds quite a few people and has always been a crowd please when we have friends over for dinner. Hubby liked to add more cajun seasoning to his, but I think it’s perfect as-is.
Superhero Muffins – This is one of my favorite recipes from the Run Fast, Eat Slow cookbook. I make them constantly. They are another great on-the-go breakfast because you can just freeze them all and take 30 seconds to microwave one each morning.
Stir Fry Kits – These are great to have for dinner in a pinch. I pull them out when I have other veggies that need to be used up. The kit already has 3-4 vegetables in it, but you can easily add whatever broccoli/corn/carrots/etc. you have in the fridge as well (you know, the ones you forgot that you bought a week and a half ago and you’re going to have to trash them if you don’t eat them up in the next 24 hours). I serve mine over rice, but noodles would work just as well.
Taco Casserole – I haven’t personally tried this one yet, but it looks and smells delicious so I’m not worried. A warning though: this recipe makes a TON of food so be sure you have a lot of people to feed or you’re willing to eat taco casserole for a whole week…or you could just halve the recipe. 🙂
Tuscan Pasta – This is my current favorite comfort-food recipe! It’s so good and cheesy and I love it. Now, usually I’m all about healthy moderation, but honestly this recipe is full of carbs and cheese and no vegetables. It’s fine though. Everyone needs those dinners in their life sometimes.
Once we picked out the above recipes and figured out how many of each we were making, we put all the ingredients into a spreadsheet which makes it MUCH easier when it’s time to shop because you can organize by section in the store. When we do our big freezer cooking sessions we like to use Kroger ClickList to order a lot of the food. It’s great for the canned food and dry goods and you save SO much time by doing it online instead of wondering through the store with a huge list. For the meat and produce we went to Costco so we could purchase in bulk. We walked out of there with 34 pounds of ground beef, 32 chicken breasts, and a whole lot of vegetables. It was a weird way to spend a Friday night.
We started off Saturday morning by picking up our ClickList order and some strong coffee for both of us (obviously). Once we got our groceries back to the house it was time to get going. We started by laying everything out on tables because there’s nothing worse than getting into the middle of cooking something and realizing you’re missing a key ingredient.
Another lesson learned last time: bring extra tables! Last time we did a big freezer cooking day Kayla and I were struggling with the lack of counter space and ended up misplacing things and getting frustrated and probably wasting time so this time we had extra tables both inside (for spreading out ingredients) and out in the garage (for quick cooling of the hot food).
Once we knew we had all of the required ingredients we got to work on the chili since that needed to simmer for 2 hours. We planned the rest of the day from there according to when we would need the oven versus stove and we fit in other tasks like chopping vegetables in between the cooking.
I won’t lie, it was a looooong day. We did our Costco run Friday night so that was probably an hour or so and then Saturday we left my house to get groceries at 8am and finished clean-up around 8pm. We did take about an hour “off” for lunch away from the house, but otherwise we were shopping, organizing, cooking, packaging meals, or cleaning pretty much the whole time. I know there are a lot of blogs that will claim you can make 1000 meals in 2 hours, but I know they don’t include picking out recipes, grocery shopping, and clean up in there (okay, a slight exaggeration on the number of meals, but you know what I mean).
Freezer Cooking Results
60+ meals in one day. I say “60+” because we counted the taco casserole as one meal, but it would easily feed 8-10 people. Same for the batches of chili; technically one meal would feed 6-8 adults so in our house that’s 4 meals.
Yes, it was a lot of work, but it was also totally worth it. Kayla and I each have a stocked freezer (as do 6 other families!) and we got to spend the day chatting and laughing with each other.
What are your favorite freezer meal recipes? We’re always looking for new ones to try!