Freezer Cooking 101: Save Substantial Money (and Time) on Groceries
If you haven’t heard of ‘freezer cooking’ before the concept by name only may sound backwards. In actuality, it might be better understood and ‘cooking then freezing’.
Put simplest, freezer cooking is a method by which you cook meals in bulk and freeze them until you’re ready to eat them. By freezer cooking, you can save money and time, especially when you stack this concept with Plastic Jungle discount gift cards.
Freezer Cooking: Getting Started
There are a number of freezer cooking cookbooks out there. If you’ve never tried the freezer cooking method before, I would recommend starting with Once-A-Month Cooking by Mimi Wilson and Mary Beth Lagerborg.
In Once-A-Month Cooking you’ll learn the basic principles of freezer cooking as you choose which of the five meal plans to prepare. My favorite entrees are Twelve-Boy Curry [page 24] and Taco Soup [page 30]. Each entree can feed a family of 4 or 5. Or, if your household is smaller (like mine) you can split the meal and enjoy it over 2-4 dinners and lunches. I highly recommend getting this book in versions that are published in 2007 or later. The book is constantly updated to incorporate feedback and recipe improvements from families across the nation.
At Barnes and Noble’s online store you can snag Once-A-Month Cooking for $4.48. Pay for this purchase with discount Barnes & Noble gift cards and you’ll only pay $4! (cost may vary at Barnes & Noble stores)
There are currently no Barnes and Noble coupon codes, but if you are a Barnes and Noble Member you can get free shipping. This book also qualifies for free shipping if with a purchase of $25 or more.
If you’ve tried freezer cooking before and are looking for new recipes, you might enjoy Make-Ahead Meals Made Healthy: Exceptionally and Nutritious Freezer-Friendly Recipes You Can Prepare in Advance and Enjoy At a Moment’s Notice by Michele Barboa and Fix, Freeze, Feast by Kati Neville and Lindsay Tkacsik. Both books have great tasting freezer cooking recipes. My favorites from Make-Ahead Meals Made Healthy are Chicken and Edamame Pot Pie with Double-Crust Whole-Wheat Pie Dough made from scratch [page 67] and Meatless Butternut Squash and Chard Lasagna [page 35] (great vegetarian recipe). Fix, Freeze, Feast is great for those who shop at warehouses like Costco and Sam’s as recipes incorporate bulk packages of meats.
Make Ahead Meals Made Healthy just went to print in 2011 and Barnes and Noble sells this new publication in paperback for a reasonable $12.99 and as a NOOK eBook for $10.99. With discount Barnes & Noble gift cards you can take it home for only $11.56 – $9.78! Barnes and Noble sells Fix, Freeze, Feast for $11.15 in paperback or $10.16 for the NOOK book. Use Barnes & Noble discount gift cards to get this book for $9.92 – $10.03.
You can snag all three of these freezer cooking cookbooks for under $30 with discount Barnes & Noble gift cards.
In all, a rotation of freezer cooking will provide enough entrees to feed most families for 2 weeks to 4 months. Costs vary by recipes/book, but on average my family spends $300 – $400 to buy food for a rotation of 14 entrees which will feed my family for several months.
You might be thinking, “Aren’t you worried about freezer burn?” Some people think that freezing meals can dilute the flavor of food and even make it unsafe to eat. This is not true as long as you know how to properly cool and store the food. Michele Borboa does a great job nipping this myth in Make-Ahead Meals Made Healthy.
How to buy these books on Amazon for less. Yes, you don’t often see Amazon coupon codes or Amazon discounts, but if you’re holding on to an unused gift card, you can sell your gift card to Plastic Jungle and exchange it for an Amazon.com electronic gift card which you can use to purchase these freezer cooking cookbooks.
Read more about my experience with freezer cooking in my article “Streamlining the Food Budget” on Mama Moderne.