Freezer Cooking 101: Healthy Family Dinners With No Hassle

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Happy family at home
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Editor's Note: This story originally appeared on Living on the Cheap.

Are you looking for more time during the week? Maybe spending more time with your family is high on your to-do list or you’d like to take up a new hobby but never seem to find the time.

There is a solution to your time dilemma that you may never have considered before: freezer cooking.

When freezer cooking becomes part of your life, you find more time, more money, and a lot less chaos.

You are able to do more of the things that need to be done and you still get dinner on the table. Sound too good to be true?

Are you curious about what freezer cooking is or how to get started? Let’s take a closer look through some questions you may have.

What is freezer cooking?

Vegetables in the freezer
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Freezer cooking is making up a number of meals ahead of time and freezing them until you are ready to serve them.

There are several different ways to freezer cook. First, you can go ahead and do all your meals in one day. Second, you can do a recipe whenever you find extra time. Or third, you can get together with your friends and divide up who will make what and share the meals.

That’s one of the great things about freezer cooking — it is super flexible and can be done on your terms.

What are the benefits of freezer cooking?

Thanksgiving dinner
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One benefit is the time you save by freezer cooking. When you make all your meals ahead of time you are spending less time in the kitchen every night. You are no longer having to prepare each meal from start to finish; all you need to do is take your meal out of the freezer and pop it in the oven.

Not to mention, clean-up is a breeze. You’ll have fewer dishes to wash, and the kitchen doesn’t get quite as messy as it would if you were having to cook the meal that night.

When you cook all the meals at once, you are able to save money because you can buy in bulk. For instance, if you know you are going to use a lot of cheese for a recipe, you are able to buy your cheese in bulk instead of buying it in a smaller package.

How do you get started freezer cooking?

Family chopping vegetables
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Freezer cooking is easy to start. Once you’ve made the decision to give freezer cooking a try, simply look for recipes that you think your family would enjoy.

After compiling a list of recipes and deciding how many meals you would want from each recipe, write down all the ingredients and go shopping. It’s as simple as that to get started. Then, you simply plan to prepare all your meals.

What if you get overwhelmed?

Man looking in fridge with head stuck in freezer
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It is so easy to start out with every intention of prepping and freezing a month’s worth of meals and then getting totally overwhelmed. In fact, I think it’s one of the main reason more people don’t continue with their freezer meal plans.

If this is something you want to avoid entirely, sign up for Erin Chase’s ($5 Dinner Mom) MyFreezeasy Freezer Cooking Workshop.

The secret, she says, is having the right recipes. Her subscription service lets you pick and choose recipes each month.

What supplies are needed to start freezer cooking?

Food in the refrigerator
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You may already have the supplies you need for freezer cooking in your kitchen:

  • Freezer zip-top bags
  • Glass containers
  • Aluminum containers
  • Aluminum foil

Who benefits from freezer cooking? /

Not only do you benefit from the time you are spending in the kitchen, but your family also benefits because they get more time with you. Plus, the meals you are eating are coming from your kitchen and not a drive-through.

You can throw a freezer meal party and get to spend more time with your friends, as well. And they, too, can benefit from ready-to-go homemade meals.

How long does it take?

Woman dancing and cooking
Sabrina Bracher /

If you have a whole day to commit to freezer cooking, then a whole day. Or you can break it up into several different days. The choice is yours.

What are some freezer cooking resources I can use to learn more?

Friends and family cooking Thanksgiving dinner together
Dean Drobot /

The best place to find recipes for freezer cooking is probably the MyFreezeasy Meal Plan Service. It focuses on budget-friendly freezer meals and has probably been around the longest. It starts at $8 per month.

Another place you can look would be on Pinterest. You may be surprised by the number of recipes that actually exist just for freezer cooking. There are recipes for whole meals, crock pot meals, main dishes, and side dishes all geared toward freezer cooking.

There are also e-books on the market to help you learn more about freezer cooking.

If the idea of spending a whole day cooking sounds a bit overwhelming, you can still have the benefits of freezer cooking by choosing one thing to make in bulk. For instance, if your family loves French toast sticks, you can make a whole bunch of those and freeze them.

Then, the next time you decide to give freezer cooking a try, you can pick another recipe to make and go ahead and make several of that meal.

Over time, you will see your freezer beginning to fill with different types of meals, and eventually you’ll have enough to last several weeks.

Whether you want to jump feet first into the whole freezer cooking thing or you want to test the waters, there are benefits to both.

Freezer cooking saves you time, money, and sanity. Are you ready to start saving?