Welcome to the start of another October and the beginning of another 31 Days series. I’m so excited to join the Nester again as well as hundreds of other talented bloggers. Last year, I wrote for 31 Days about Chocolate – yum! – and enjoyed being in the kitchen baking my favorite chocolate treats. I discovered a lot of new favorite chocolate treats, too!
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This year, I decided to stay in the kitchen and am devoting 31 Days to Freezer Cooking. There are several reasons for this motivation. First, my husband and I are both busy teachers at separate Lutheran schools. When we get home in the evening, it would be nice to not have to cook every night if I knew there was dinner waiting in the freezer. Second, my menu planning has been lacking lately. I need the accountability of this series to get back on track. Finally, we recently discovered that we are pregnant with our first baby so I want to make the most of this energetic second trimester time and get back in the habits of stocking my freezer.
Now, a little more background for those of you who are new and trying to determine if this series is for you. I think it will be for everyone – and here’s why. Yes, there are only two of us (currently) in my house, but all of my recipes serve more and are easily doubled. I want to make the most of my time so I will be cooking a lot of double batches this month – one for us to eat that night, and one for the freezer. This makes it easy to stock the freezer without a whole lot of additional effort. Finally, while I do have an extra upright freezer in the basement (best wedding gift ever!) by freezing things flat, you can still do freezer cooking with a basic fridge / freezer combo.
Throughout this month, I will be sharing a variety of recipes. Some are mine, some are my Mom’s, some are my mother-in-law’s, and some are from various others, like Ree Drummond and Jessica Fisher. Many of the recipes I’ve tried but some are brand new. All of them can be frozen! I will be sharing recipes for main dishes, breads, side dishes, and yes, even desserts. I want our freezers to well stocked with a variety of foods. This is why I’m writing this series.
Whether you have freezer cooking experience or this is your first time attempting it, anyone can follow along and gather ideas from this series! To get us started with our freezer cooking, there are two simple thing to do today. Get ready!
The first and most important thing to do is organize your freezer. This took me around five minutes to make order of my freezer. I grouped the breads and baked goods on the top shelf, meats on the second shelf, and pizzas and miscellaneous on the third shelf. My freezer has a basket at the bottom which stores all my frozen vegetables as well as grated cheese that I freeze. The door is utilized as well. The top shelf is for juices, the second for chocolate chips and nuts, the third for butter, and the fourth for miscellaneous items. Take a look.
As you are organizing your freezer, be sure to toss anything that leaked or has gone bad. I discovered a half used bottle of spicy pasta sauce in the back of my freezer that I didn’t really like, but thought I’d use again. This time, I tossed it. Also, be aware of boxes with only one or two items in them. I had a large box of Eggo waffles that was only half full. I kept the bag and threw away the box, freeing up quite a bit of space in my freezer.
The second task of the day is to gather your freezer cooking supplies and see what needs to go on your grocery list. You probably have most of these things in your pantry, but check to see what needs to be restocked. The basics are saran wrap and foil, as well as Ziploc bags of all sizes – gallon, quart and sandwich size. I also like to use reusuable Gladware containers and disposable foil pans. I’m fortunate to have an Amish bulk food store in my town where I buy disposable pans for $0.25 each. Awhile back, they were were marked down to $0.10 a pan so I (obviously) stocked up. Using disposable pans keeps your regular pans in your kitchen without tying them in the freezer. You can buy disposable pans at your grocery store or at the dollar store, if you’re not by a bulk store like I am.
Add those two tasks to your to-do list for the day, and you’ll be ready to get started on this month of freezer cooking with me. I have lots of great recipes to share with you, so follow along! Now, who’s ready to begin freezer cooking with me?
Update: If you want to see all the recipes I shared throughout the month, check out this post! Be sure to join me on Pinterest to see what other Freezer Recipes I have to share!