by Rebekah Sullivan
I have been Freezer Cooking on and off for about 14 years now.
Why do I Freezer Cook?
Well, it’s not because I hate cooking and want to do it at as infrequently as possible. I love to cook! Cooking is my passion. I love searching out new recipes, I love reading about cooking and I love watching chefs in action on reality TV shows. But with a family of 8, life is too busy for me to indulge my passion in the kitchen each night, and sometimes, when we get home from dancing or cadets, there’s little time left to put dinner on the table before the kids fall asleep. That’s where Freezer Cooking comes in. Freezer cooking allows me to put a home-cooked meal on the table on those crazy nights. A meal that hasn’t come from a supermarket freezer or the local take-away, but a meal I have prepared myself in my own kitchen.
Here are some of my Freezer Cooking Tips:
1. Get to know your local Butcher, and I mean get to know him by name, he’s going to save you money in the kitchen. Butchers love to reward their regular customers. Our current butchers , Nathan and Andrew have a loyalty card. Each time we visit they stamp our card and write the value of our purchase on it. On our 10th visit they add up all of our purchases, work out our average spend, and we get that dollar amount in free meat. In the past our butchers have rewarded us with free eggs each visit, free bottles of marinades and even bags of meat for the dog. If you’re MamaBaking as a group, maybe you can nominate one person to purchase the meat and see if you can get a better deal with your bulk purchase.
2. If you’re MamaBaking as a group, maybe each member could cook enough of one dish so that each person takes home two of each meal instead of just one.
3. Keep at least two to three meals in the freezer at all times. That way if you or the kids fall sick you don’t have to worry about what’s for dinner.
4. Keeping a freezer stash of muffins, muesli bars, pizzas, sausage rolls (some of these may be member recipes)etc. in the freezer means you always have healthy snacks on-hand for the kids, and you always know you have lunch box fillers. I pack most of our lunch boxes the night before, otherwise my kids would never make it to school before lunch time. I take the muffins out of the freezer, put them in the lunch boxes and back into the fridge until morning, and by lunch time they are ready for the kids to eat.
5. If you plan to holiday in a self-contained unit, have a mini-freezer cooking session and take your frozen meals with you. That way Mum gets a holiday too.
6. Stick to recipes you know your family loves. Don’t go doubling or tripling recipes you have never made before. It could turn out to be a huge failure, wasting both time and money.
7. Always, always clearly label your freezer bags with the recipe name and the date it was cooked and frozen. That Bolognese may look like Bolognese today, but when frozen it could resemble Taco Mince.
8. Never re-freeze or re-heat a meal that you have taken from the freezer and re-heated once already. I know it’s tempting not to waste those left-overs, but is it really worth risking food poisoning?
You see, there are no hard and fast rules about how to make Freezer Cooking work for you. Maybe you work a couple of days a week and would rather spend time with your family when you get home than head for the kitchen. Or maybe there’s an evening yoga class you would love to go to and you only want to eat from the freezer one night a week. If you double two meals a week for a month you will have eight meals in your freezer ready for those nights. Whatever your stage of motherhood there’s sure to be a way you can use freezer cooking to free-up some time to do things you want to do.
Hi, I’m Rebekah, a happily married mum of six who also happens to be a cooking and baking addict and new accidental blogger. I live in Rural Sout-East Queensland, about an hour and a half from Brisbane . I have a 16 year old son who is itching to learn to drive, a 9 year old daughter with Type 1 Diabetes who loves to play her violin and dance her way from one end of the house to the other, 7 year old twins, a son who loves cars, trucks and mountain bike riding with his dad and his twin sister who loves to paint and draw her life and hang it on mummy’s fridge. Then there is Little Miss 5, the happiest child I have ever met, very independent, and she dances and sings everywhere she goes, followed closely by Little Miss 3, who thinks she is the boss of everything and is a mixture of all of her siblings put together. To say life can be exhausting is an understatement, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. Rebekah writes about cooking for her family of eight at plate4eight.com