Preparing for a Month of Freezer Cooking

If you want ideas for freezer cooking, check out this series with a full 31 days of freezer cooking recipes! Whether you are new to freezer cooking or an experienced cook, there are recipes here for everyone

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.

Organize Your Freezer - Joyfully Thriving

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.

Gather Your Freezer Supplies - Joyfully Thriving

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! 

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17 Comments

  1. Hi
    I am so looking forward to freezer cooking!

    Congrats on the baby news! You will have to keep us informed on your pregnancy! Search out your used book stores for a book on making your own baby food! Or even the library! I am thrilled for you!

    1. Now’s a great time for freezer cooking…anytime is, really! I hope you get some new ideas from this series, Rebecca!

  2. I am looking forward to this. I have a chest freezer that I don’t utilize enough. I work double shifts, I have an active teenager and there never seems to be enough hours in the day. I have shied away from freezer cooking in the past also as I have a dairy allergy & wasn’t sure what would freeze well & what wouldn’t.

    Thanks for all you help, you are a blessing & good luck with the baby.

    1. I think you’d be surprised what freezes, Kim! The only things that I have actually found that don’t freeze well are some dairy items – but that shouldn’t be a problem for you! ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope this series gives you some easy and practical strategies to implement in your busy life! Because freezer cooking, once it’s done, does make life easier in the long run!

  3. I love to freezer cook. I do more of a batch type freezer cooking concentrating on one meat at a time making up meat packs as the start of the meal. I also make desserts and breads for the freezer. I’ll be following along this month. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. That’s my traditional freezer cooking. This month, I’m trying to go out a bit more so I have fully prepared meals ready to go. Still, I love having meats prepared in the freezer! In fact, that’s what tomorrow’s post is all about! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Looking forward to the new series, I loved the chocolate one last year. Thanks for the tip about what we need to get started, freezer cooking is new to me so that was a big help!

    1. Thanks, Barb! The chocolate one was a lot of fun – so I hope this one gets you new recipes, too! Freezer cooking is a great frugal and time-saving strategy. I know you’ll be glad for freezer cooking – no matter how often or much you do it!

  5. Great way to keep your pans free also is to line them with foil, make the recipe, cover with more foil, write on it now what it is so you know what’s inside, freeze (I usually give it 24 hours to fully freeze), pop out of the pan and freeze all wrapped up in the foil and you can add a layer of Saran to help keep freshness. When ready to use I unwrap it all and dump it back in the pan and defrost overnight in the fridge.

    1. That’s a great tip, Kat! I’ve done that before in the past, but since (for me, personally), I get my disposable pans cheaper than the foil, I stick to those. This is a great trick to make the most of your pans, though.

    1. Thanks, Paula! I hope I will be able to give you some good – and practical ideas – to help you get started with freezer cooking.

  6. I need this series! I’ve always been scared of freezer cooking…or at least the effort of making a bunch of meals at once. ๐Ÿ™‚ Bless your heart for doing it while pregnant–way to be prepared :).

    1. Don’t be scared of freezer cooking! It’s really not that hard – at least the way I try to do it. I promise to walk you through it this month! ๐Ÿ™‚

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