I’ve done once a month cooking before (you cook a whole month’s worth of food at once), and I’m just not a huge fan – I don’t really like casseroles (not even lasagna), and unfortunately, a good portion of the recipes for the freezer are casseroles. After Daughter Person was born, we went to Dinner Done with my mom’s group, and I learned that freezer food could be good! We had always bought large amounts of meat at Costco and put it in the freezer – but we always had to thaw and then fix something. With the Dinner Done style meals, we would just have to remember to thaw something – or force thaw it in the sink.
We started pretty simply with marinades that we liked added to the meat before we froze it. Weight Watchers has a great Korean-style flank steak recipe that we like, so we tried that, and some lemon pepper marinade. They turned out pretty well. So we got adventurous. I went and bought Fix, Freeze, Feast from Amazon, and we tried a bunch of recipes near the beginning of July. The book is organized well for folks like us who shop at Costco and buy big packages of things. We only tried 6 recipes: Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Rice Pilaf, 4Bs flank steak, Caribbean Pork, Sweet-Asian Chicken, and Tequila-Lime Chicken. All are excellent! We make a trip to Costco about every other month, so the next experimenting will be in September, but we have enough food in our freezer to last until then.
Instead of cooking your food before you put it in the freezer, you just prepare it, then cook it when you thaw it – and most of the cooking instructions have been “grill”, because we’re not interested in heating up the house with the oven. No worrying about what spices we have, or what to do with the hunk of meat, just thaw the night before (usually sufficient) and grill. The food tastes fresh – not like leftovers, and it’s quick. The disadvantage is that you have to have somewhere in your fridge to store all of the meat you bring home from Costco before you prep it all. What we did was buy a bag of ice and put the meat in a cooler until we were ready for it – but our new fridge is massive and I think we’ll be able to use it next time.
Are we saving money with it? Most definitely yes. We’re not ordering out as much – and we’re even eating in on the weekends (at least for dinner). The meat is the same price whether we prepare it before putting it in the freezer or afterwards, and we’re saving a little bit by buying the Costco sized potatoes, veggies, etc for the prep. But the big savings are in time and knowing we have a meal ready.