***Give Away Alert! I will be giving away four copies of my freezer cooking cookbooks The What’s for Dinner Solution A winner everyday Tuesday through Friday. PLUS – a Freezer Cooking Prize Pack including The What’s for Dinner Solution and $25 Amazon Gift Card to buy all the Ziploc bags and 8×8 pans you need to get started! Just leave a comment on the blog sometime this week and I will pick four book winners and one grand prize winner – the more comments, the more chances to win! (One comment per person, per day, please!) ***
All this week, I will be giving you step by step instructions on how to have great, tasty meals for you and your family, every night. To make sure you don’t miss a post, subscribe to the blog!
My shopping system is pretty easy. I triple my recipes, make a list of ingredients and quantities needed, and buy the biggest containers I can to satisfy those need. If I am doing marinades (and I am always doing marinades) I will buy the big Costco-sized bags of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, divide those into Ziploc gallon bags with five breasts each (because that is usually how many people I am feeding – less breasts for smaller kids who will share,)and then pour marinade in the bags with the frozen breasts. Super, super easy. I also do this with those giant pork roasts at Costco – just cut them down into your family-sized portions and you are good to go.
When I got to advanced freezer cooking, I did an Excel spread sheet with my basic menu already tripled – that way I just had to see what I was out of and buy that at Costco and Safeway. My kids are never bored with my cooking and it makes my life SO much easier.
A couple of shopping tips that make things easier:
- Shop at Costco first. I love Costco, but the marinade that was there last month may no longer exist. I tend to buy most of what I can at Costco, and then the remainders at Safeway.
- Know what you have. There is nothing more frustrating than picking up 10 pounds of brow rice, only to discover you had another 10 pound bag hanging out in your pantry. Take an inventory of everything you already have, and then shop from there. (Plus, if you are inventorying everything far enough in advance, you might be able to shape some of your menu around the items you already have.)
- Have a system for “saving” your food. If you live with a pack of hungry teenage boys, those two Costco roasted chickens might prove too great a temptation. I put blue painter’s tape on any food I’m “saving” for cooking that they might want. (The dried egg noodles are safe.)
- Bring the kids. (OK – if they’re old enough to help.) By the time my kids were 12, they were Costco experts. I would send them on “runs” together to go get items we needed. I would say it cut our shopping time by 1/3. The trick is to have a good list and raise your kids on Costco.
- Leave smaller kids with a friend. The trade off? Pick up her food at Costco for her. Just put everything you are buying for her on the conveyer belt first, have them subtotal it, and then add in your stuff.
- Have a spice inventory in addition to your pantry and freezer inventory. You will thank me later!
- Bring a clipboard and pen with you when you are shopping. You may even want to have one of your kids be in charge of the list.
Things you will need besides ingredients
Here are some basic supplies that will make your Freezer Cooking Adventure easier:
- Ziploc gallon bags
- Sharpie Markers
- Clear packing take
- White labels
- Pam or some other non-stick cooking spray
- 8×8 foil pans (if you will be doing casseroles)
- Aluminum foil
- Plenty of kitchen towels to clean up as you go
- Dish washing liquid to clean posts and pans as you go
Tomorrow, we will get cooking!
For today’s free download, go to my Facebook Page this week (through September 1. 2013) and get our new Pantry Inventory Sheet.
Tell me below – do you have a favorite freezer trick? You could win a copy of The What’s for Dinner Solution or the grand prize of The What’s for Dinner Solution and a $25 Amazon Gift Card.
Want more freezer recipes? Did you know you can get a free ecopy of Six Chicks Freeze and Fix: How to Start a Freezer Meal Co-op just by liking my Facebook Page. Once you hit “Like” just go to the tabs and download the booklet. It’s that easy. Over 20 great family-pleasing recipes!
We’ll have a free freezer download every day this week. Stay tuned!