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Freezer Cooking Day: My Plan (and come link up yours, too!)

Are you ready to fill up your freezer again? I know I am!

Ours is looking pretty sparse after a month of Eating From the Pantry! I’ll be sharing my Freezer Cooking Day play-by-play on Monday (complete with recipes, pictures, and real-time results), but here’s my Master List:

–Macaroni and Cheese x 4
–Cheeseburger Meatloaf x 3
–Anytime Chicken and Dressing x 3
–Shredded Barbecued Beef x 3

And that’s it! Yes, I’m keeping it super simple this time. My husband, son, and I are going to Nashville for the and the next week, so there’s lots to do in preparation for that. Plus, I wanted to try a smaller-scale Freezer Cooking Day to see how that worked for our family.

All of the recipes are new-to-us, so I’ll be posting them after I make them. Here’s my planned order of cooking:

1) Boil noodles; boil and chop chicken

2) Start beef in the crock pot

3) Mix together meatloaves and freeze

4) Put together Anytime Chicken and Dressing and freeze

5) Make up pans of Macaroni and Cheese

6) Shred beef and freeze

7) Clean up the kitchen and enjoy some nights off from cooking!

Are you participating in February’s Freezer Cooking Days? If so, post about your cooking plan on your blog and then come back here and leave your direct link below so we can all be inspired!

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34 Comments

  • says:

    I can’t wait to see how the Cheeseburger Meatloaf turns out. I just did some mini meatloaves. Baked them then froze them. Hope they’ll be okay for next month!

  • Emily says:

    Thank you so much for all you do! I’ve enjoyed your site for months now and am finally jumping into the Freezer Cooking experience. Your abbreviated version for this month is just perfect motivation for me to give it a whirl ~ it seems so simple! Thanks again.

  • Emma K says:

    Enjoy your time in Nashville, there’s supposed to be a great Farmer’s Market downtown, We live about 45 mins away but haven’t made it to the Farmer’s Market yet.
    I just made the bread maker cinnamon rolls and am now encouraged to think about making some freezer meals on this snowy day.
    Thanks!

  • says:

    Crystal, some friends of mine at church recently had a WONDERFUL idea – to SWAP freezer meals!! Have you ever done this? It’s been great. We now get together once per month – we each make ONE meal of about 9 – 12 servings, and get together and swap. I love how I only need to gather ingredients for one recipe and then I end up with 9 – 12 different meals for the month. I included a link on your Mr. Linky above, but wanted to make sure to leave a comment about it too. You’ve been such an inspiration for me to get started with freezer cooking. It feels like a natural extension of couponing and enjoying a frugal lifestyle. I hope you will continue to share your recipes and tips – always looking for new recipes that freeze well!! Blessings!

    • says:

      @Angela, I am praying some friends will think this is the greatest idea. I sure would prefer to make just one meal. We do cookie exchange and that is not nearly as helpful for the family as a meal exchange!

  • says:

    I’m excited to cook for February and am also trying to keep my plan a bit more simple this month. Thanks for your continued inspiration!

  • Natalie says:

    Crystal-
    Sounds like a great plan! I am looking foward to seeing the recipes for these. Maybe next time I will join in the cooking.

    Most of the recipes you mention involve meat. Do you have a target price for these? And do you have any tips on how to find great prices on meat? It seems like I used to be able to find more markdowns, but not so much anymore. Maybe I am just looking in the wrong places!

  • natalie says:

    Looking forward to the cheeseburger meatloaf & barbeque beef recipes! We purchased a half of a cow a few months ago to save on our overall meat costs and have alot of hamburger & beef I’ve been looking to use for some make ahead meals!

  • says:

    That sounds easy enough to do–I look forward to seeing your recipes so I can try them!

  • says:

    WONDERFUL IDEA! Glad Happy Housewife steered me this way!

  • jennifer says:

    I’ve heard that pasta doesn’t freeze well….have you experienced this before or had no problem? I’m thinking of following along and trying it out this month. We need some different meals in our life! 🙂

  • says:

    I’m excited to see the recipes this month. I’m thinking about switching the way I meal plan and think I may be following this a lot more closely soon. I’m looking forward to joining in the fun!

  • says:

    I’m inspired by all you OAMC ladies! My plan is just to freeze the extras of what I make over the next week. I have a small family so we eat an awful lot of leftovers. I’d like to shake things up and rotate dishes a bit rather than eating the same thing three times in one week.

  • says:

    After a two month break, I am going to attempt to cook 14 meals tomorrow! I hope I can pull it off. I can’t wait to see how your baking day turns out!

  • says:

    I haven’t done OAMC in a very long time! Looking through your lists I’m getting the itch to start back with it. Would anyone be willing to share what their favorite OAMC cookbook is? In the mean time I’ll browse through your links. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • says:

    Hey, I looooove the new layout. Now that it’s gone, I’ll say the old one made me a tad dizzy. This one is fresh, crisp, and clean.

    Anyway, I was dropping by to say that I came up with a variation on the Super Power Muffin’s that Karyn S. posted on a blog post (https://moneysavingmom.com/2009/03/baking-day-pumpkin-waffles-and-cranberry-orange-muffins.html) a while back.

    substitute:
    1 banana for 2 tbs espresso ground (fine powder) coffee
    peanut butter for nutella
    applesauce NOT optional

    OR
    1 banana for 1/2 cup? double-strength coffee
    peanut butter for nutella

    I tried the first one, with chocolate chips, but think the 2nd would work if you don’t want to mix apple with coffee. I used Mott’s Natural (i think that means plain, but it had extra vitamin C) and I could only taste the rest.

    I call it Hazelnut Mocha Muffins. The absence of banana may make it lose some nutritional value, but I think these are still rather healthy because of coffee’s own health benefits. It’s probably more fit for an adult setting, such as a women’s brunch, than for the kiddos.

  • says:

    To follow up on my previous comment, the “natural” applesauce I used is on apples, water, and ascorbic acid. No high fructose corn syrup or anything else.

  • says:

    Is this something that everyone is doing on one specific day? Because I’d love to participate, but it would have to be on a day when someone else can watch my kids (like husband’s day off). I’ve done some “we’re having tacos tonight – so make 4 meals worth and freeze 3” things in the past, but I’d love to just stock the freezer and have nights free for awhile!

  • Natalie in VA says:

    Not quite ready to jump into OAMC this week – still have some planning to do, but hope to have an abbreviated plan next week. I have a question about items/foods that freeze well and those that DO NOT freeze well – recommendations would be much appreciated. I am particularly interested in knowing if the following recipe can be successfully frozen (I bought a bag of potatoes – and these look so absolutely delicious):

    (I haven’t thought to ask The Pioneer Woman if these are freezable – maybe I will shoot her the same question.)

  • Ann says:

    When you make the meatloaves, do you bake them and freeze or refreeze them raw? I’ve heard it’s not a good idea to refreeze meat unless you cook it. (not sure if it is a food safety issue or a quality issue).

  • says:

    Ahhh, do not talk on the phone and type at the same time! My link is suppose to read Butternut Squash…not Nutternut! Sorry about that!

  • Patti says:

    I am joining in with a full day of cooking (sort of like your plans) today due to our snow storm and being stuck inside. I am still trying to clean out my pantry and freezer so today I am cooking with things I have on hand. These are not freezer meals: I have to make 6 dozen cookies for a concert my son plays in on Monday, I am making two frozen pies – one for us and one for our new next door neighbor (this would be easy to keep in the freezer on hand), and tonight I am using up our leftover roast and veggies to make a vegetable soup.

    I made cookies using a box of white cake mix I had: added two eggs and 1/2 cup of oil. You roll them up into small balls, place on a cookie sheet and cook at 350 degrees for 5-10 minutes. The first ones I made were small so I made the rest of the batches by rolling up about a two inch cube, flattening them with my hands to be the size and shape I want. The small ones have disappeared so they must be very good!! I am sure these could be frozen but they are quick and easy for anytime you want a treat. Makes about 2-3 dozen depending on the size.

    The next idea I had was to use up butterscotch morsels I found in the cabinet. I again used a recipe from allrecipes.com: Butterscotch Cookie Bars. You mix 1 cup butterscotch chips with 1 stick of butter in a glass bowl. Melt carefully in the microwave (mine took about 1 minute 30 secs.). Let cool. Grease a 9X13 pan and turn on the oven to 350 F. Mix 3/4 cup flour, 1 tsp. baking powder, and 3/4 tsp. salt together. Beat 2 eggs and 1/2 tsp. vanilla into the butterscotch mixture. Add the flour mix until beaten together. Add 1 cup brown sugar. After completely mixing together add things such as 1 cup chocolate chips, 1 cup nuts, or 1 cup raisins. I used the chocolate chips. This was so easy I doubled the recipe to make two casserole pans.

    The last recipe I am going to do today is to die for!! I can’t keep this in the house. It is a Peanut Butter Pie:
    1 8 oz. cream cheese
    1/2 cup peanut butter
    1 cup powdered sugar
    2 Tablespoons milk
    1 6-8 oz whipped topping
    1 regular pie crust or use a graham cracker one or a chocolate one (our favorite!)

    Mix all the ingredients together ( I don’t use all the whipped topping). Pour into the pie shell. Top with chocolate syrup drizzles, nuts, or chocolate magic shell topping drizzled on. Freeze. When ready to serve,
    let it stand for a few minutes. You will only want to eat a small slice as this is very rich!!

    So I am ending up with an “Eating out of the Pantry” cooking day!

  • Lorie says:

    Sounds like some great recipes. When you freeze mac n’ cheese do the noodles not become too mushy?

  • Amy says:

    I love, love, love reading your cooking days.

    One suggestion to save time AND improve taste..don’t boil your chicken! Place pieces on a cookie sheet and bake for 30-45 min at 350 if boneless, 400 if bone in.

    Barefoot contessa taught me this and she was RIGHT ON. Plus it warms up your kitchen!

  • says:

    Thanks for the nudge to re-stock my freezer. It’s been a while since I’ve done any cooking ahead like this and I do kind of miss it. Just finished up a productive day in the kitchen and am looking forward to sharing about it. Thanks for all you do here–I really enjoy all of your ideas.

  • Becky says:

    Crystal, you inspired me to try freezer cooking a couple of months ago. I had a huge cooking day and that proved to be an absolute lifesaver during the hectic holiday season.

    Since Christmas, I’ve been trying smaller cooking days timed to take advantage of sales. For example, last week bone-in chicken breasts were on sale. I bought 10 lbs of breasts, brought them home and simmered them for a couple of hours with vegetables, then deboned and chopped the meat while watching my favorite tv show. I ended up with 13 cups of cooked chopped chicken and a couple of quarts of savory broth, with very little time invested.

    The next day, I made chicken pot pie filling (needs only to be put in a casserole dish, topped with a store-bought crust and baked), chicken broccoli crepes with swiss cheese sauce, chicken broccoli rice casserole (broccoli was also on sale!), chicken noodle casserole, and pesto chicken florentine with penne. All of these serve at least 6-8, so I now have several meals on hand. It took only about 4 hours to put it all together since I had cooked the chicken the night before.

    I’ve also started doubling almost every recipe and freezing half. Last night I made a huge batch of beef barley and lentil soup (recipe on allrecipes.com), so one cooking time gave me a big meal leftovers, more in the freezer.

    I am love, love, loving this system of cooking!!! I like taking advantage of the sales, and I really like having something in the freezer ready to heat and eat! I work nights and sleep during the day. Coordinating my schedule with my family can be very difficult. This way, I can take something out of the freezer when I get home at 7am, and leave simple heating instructions for my husband or children to do in the evening.

    Thank you for inspiring me to try freezer cooking!

    Becky

  • says:

    So excited for my very first freezer cooking day ever! Can’t wait to read about everyone’s progress!

  • says:

    Thank you so much for inspiring me to do this! I normally spend about $450 per month on groceries (even while couponing), but I think I finally figured out the secret to saving money…making things from scratch! I only spent $166 on a month’s worth of groceries. I know I’ll have to go each week for milk and produce, but our grocery bill is going to be so much smaller this month than normal. Thanks again! Love your blog! 🙂

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