There are three popular methods of freezer cooking that can save a family money. There are many benefits to freezer cooking. Some benefits include preserving perishables and reducing waste, having ready-made meals in your freezer when you are tempted to order out, and maximizing time with the family by cooking less often. Fully cooked meals can maintain their texture and taste in the freezer for up to three months. Uncooked, ready to go meals, like marinated meat can be frozen without degradation for up to six months. Different methods can optimize for busy schedules or tight budgets and any family can find benefits in one of the methods mentioned below.
Freezer Meals for a month
Once a Month Cooking, also known as, OAMC is a way of making meals ahead of time and freezing them for later use. There are several ways to adopt this Freezer Meals for a month system into your family. The phrase once a month cooking was made famous by a book entitled Once-A-Month-Cooking by Lagerborg and Wilson. Their book is worth a buy at Amazon for beginners, the information inside is valuable to anyone looking into getting involved in this type of cooking schedule. OAMC, in its purest form, involves a family preparing 30 meals within one weekend each month, or mini-sessions where 14 meals are made in one day. The benefits are having only one weekend of dirty pots to clean and a highly detailed dinner schedule. For the family that eats take-out regularly or is rushed to find time for dinner, this is an excellent program.
Another method of freezer cooking is for seasoned deal seekers. “Assembly Line” cooking, as seen on websites like OnceAMonthMeals, takes perishable loss leaders from your local grocery store and assembles them into several meals in one day to be enjoyed or prepared for another day. Assembly Line cooking turns your kitchen into a family assembly line. Examples are finding over-ripe bananas at the store for less than $0.25 a pound and turning them into 30 chocolate covered frozen banana popsicles, buying 20 pounds of pork loin at $1.67/lb and making breakfast sausage, burritos, kebobs, steaks, and Weiner schnitzel. For the family that likes buying large quantities of loss leaders and getting the best price for their meals, this is their perfect match.
The third and easiest method of freezer cooking is called “Feed the Freezer”. These ideas incorporate making double or triple the amount you usually make for dinner and putting the additional meals away in the freezer for a later date. When planning to make lasagnas, stuffed shells, chili’s, or other easy to freeze casseroles, make two or three dinners instead of one and freeze the additional dinners. Try searching any recipe site on the internet for the keyword “OAMC”, to find recipes that are freezer friendly. For the family that wants to make their food dollar stretch a little more than usual and have one of two meals in their freezer this is an easy adoptive plan.
However a family chooses to adopt a make ahead style of cooking, there are savings to be had. An extra stand-alone freezer in your home can save $1,000 or more per year on a family food budget.