See I told you, this would help!
- SC = Store Coupon
- MC = Manufacturer Coupon
- SS = Smart Source
- RP = Red Plum
- PG = Proctor and Gamble
- WYB = When You Buy
- B1G1 = Buy One Get One Free
- .75/1 = 75 cents off one item
- .75/3 = 75 cents off three items
- EXP = Expiration Date
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To have a successful freezer cooking experience, it’s important to have a plan. You want to focus on recipes that have variety, but also that use some common ingredients to make preparation easier. If we can make shredded chicken for 3 different meals and chop onions for everything all at the same time think of all the dish washing you are saving! (Though you may want a silly pair of onion goggles when you are done).
Head over here for how to freezer cook and why I think it saves money.
Focusing on Sale Ingredients
Meal planning alone can save you money, but if you also incorporate stocking up when essential ingredients are on sale, you can really shave a lot off the budget! It helps if you focus on in-season items and do several weeks of stocking up before your cooking day.
Remember, just like with couponing, you can choose to go extreme and make every meal for a whole month in one day, or you can keep it simple and make a few dishes to freeze that will supplement your weekly meal plans for when you have a busy night – it’s all up to your needs.
Tip: Want to get your feet wet? Next time you make something you think would freeze well, double the recipe and make one to eat now and one to freeze for later. This could be as simple as a big pot of chili and you freeze half right away.
Special Diet Requirements
If you have special dietary restrictions there are freezer cooking ideas out there for you too! One resource I found are the Gluten Free and Vegetarian menus at Once A Month Mom and there are tons of other recipe ideas out there if you do a little hunting. When you get the hang of it, you can probably even convert some of your family favorites into freezer cooking meals by doing some or all of the steps in advance!
Types of Meals you Can Prepare
You may think that freezer cooking is limited to casseroles and microwave meals, but the truth is that you can prepare most recipes in advance to some degree (even restaurants do it). To keep things interesting, you may want to focus on a variety of cooking methods like grilling, slow cooking, baking and sautéing. Don’t forget to label things and keep a list of any special cooking instructions handy.
To give you an idea of where to start, I’ve put together a menu for a freezer cooking session that is based on the sale items around the south this week.
Jenny’s Freezer Cooking Menu Plan
Click the links to see what store near you has the best price for each item.
You will need additional ingredients, spices, etc but these are a good foundation to work from because they are at a big discount!
Slow Cooker Chicken Curry – Recipe
Prep all the ingredients and store in gallon baggies to put in the slow cooker the day you want to eat it. You can freeze the coconut milk too, but it’s just as easy to add the can the day of.
Cheddar & Cracker Chicken – Recipe
Bread the chicken in advance and then thaw/bake for dinner.
Chicken Enchiladas – Recipe
Prepare completely, thaw and bake for dinner.
Spiced Pork & Apricot Stew – Recipe
Prepare completely and freeze into meal-sized portions. Thaw and reheat.
Slow Simmered Meat Sauce – Recipe
Prepare ingredients for sauce into storage bags & put in the slow cooker the day you want to eat it. Serve with noodles.
Sloppy Joes for Crowd – Recipe
Prepare beef and freeze into dinner sized portions. Reheat & serve.
Potatoes O’ Brien – Recipe
Prepare as directed. Makes a great side or easy breakfast.
Sweet Potato Gnocchi – Recipe
Prepare the gnocchi & spread them on a cookie sheet to freeze. Bag into dinner sized portions and boil or saute for dinner.
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