Despite my life’s hectic nature and my yellow half of my personality that only wants to just have fun, my family still enjoys a homemade meal at least once a week–and on that occasion, I don’t even have to cook it. FREEZER MEALS, baby. They’re life saving, I tell you! (On the other nights, I like things that are Fast & Fancy.)
There isn’t much doubt that freezer meals are the stuff of a parent’s dreams, but if you’ve ever attempted to prepare them solo it can become a bit of a $*&@ show.
I One ends up at 2 am surrounded by 10 or more meals, a filthy kitchen and maybe not even enough room in the freezer for everything. My brief revelations today include how to do freezer meals in two completely non-soul sucking doable ways–one is even fun!
Freezer Meals Method #1
In the fall a genius friend invited me and two other friends (four people total) to participate in a freezer meal making night at her house that changed the freezer meal game for me. The setup and execution is simple, and the entire method is FUN!
- My friend selected those in the group not just because she enjoys spending time with each of us, but also because we have similar sized families and thoughts about nutrition. You don’t want to make freezer meals with someone who doesn’t eat the same way as you, due to factors like taste, nutrition, cost, allergies, etc. Keep the group quiet amongst mutual friends to not cause any hurt feelings. You can be my BFF, but if we don’t eat the same, chances are I won’t want you in my freezer meal group. No hard feelings, but dinner is serious to me. Ha!
- Pick one night each month and a host. Spouses will need to put the kids to bed solo. If you’re a single parent, be willing to host the group each time so you don’t have to get a sitter.
- Each person finds a recipe and lets others know what it is in advance to ensure everyone is OK with it. We generally rotate one person to do a vegetarian meal each month.
- Each person purchases the ingredients for 4 batches of the recipe she chose. Bring these ingredients to the chosen night. Depending on kitchen setup, you might want to bring an extra good knife and prep bowl. Always bring disposable storage materials in which to send food: aluminum pans, plastic bags, foil, plastic wrap, etc.
- Make the 4 batches of your meal at host home. Laugh, talk, cook, and enjoy adult only time! This is my favorite part to be honest!
- Leave with 1 batch of your own meal and 3 other unique meals from the other participants.
- Feed your family one of these freezer meals once a week until next month. And pat yourself on the back!
Tips for Method #1
Side dishes: we try to make freezer meals that only require one side (like a salad or rice) to complete them. The goal is to NOT have to cook or prepare much food the night you utilize your freezer meal.
For the summer: we are considering doing grill/kabob bags, because lasagnas and stews are just not what you crave in the heat.
On months when one or more people can’t participate: either skip the month, or make fewer batches of the recipe based on amount of attendees.
In tiny kitchens: You don’t need a large kitchen to host. We have spread out to other tables (or you could even set up a card table in an adjoining space) for food prep. Somehow, everyone sharing 4-5 range burners and 1 oven has worked too. You can always make your group smaller if you live in a tiny space.
Freezer Meals Method #2
If you find yourself making a homemade meal another night of the week, simply double the recipe, then label and store the second batch in the freezer for next week, or next month. Voila! This is a super easy option and doesn’t require much extra freezer space!
What do you think? Any other freezer meal hacks that I’m missing? I’d love to know in the comments. Thanks for reading! <3