One of my least favorite tasks is grocery shopping. Well, maybe it’s more like I don’t enjoy planning meals. No matter how many meal ideas I come up with, nothing ever sounds good when I sit down to make out my grocery list for the week.
So, when I head to the grocery store, my list is usually not complete making me feel unprepared to feed my family for the week. Personally I’m getting tired of this scenario, so I’ve decided to try some new ideas to mix things up a bit.
My pantry usually contains several items to start a meal. One area I overlook as I try to plan meals for the week is my freezer.
Now, I know some of you rock at freezer cooking. I admire your planning and preparation to put together meals for future use. I would love to do this some day, but I’ve just not taken the time to figure out how to make freezer cooking fit into my life and work for me.
There is one thing I can do that will make meal planning a little bit easier for me. Instead of just focusing on what is in my pantry, I’m going to try to be more deliberate about using what I have on hand in my freezer as well.
For instance, last week I cooked a huge pork shoulder in the slow cooker. After my family plus my mom and dad ate some of it, I still had four quart size freezer bags left over. I sent one home with my mom, put one in the refrigerator for leftovers this week, and stuck the other two in my freezer. Normally, I would forget about the bags in the freezer and end up purchasing another pork shoulder to cook later.
Now I’m going to do a better job of keeping track of what is in my freezer. Here is how I’m going to make the most of my freezer:
- Keep my freezer cleaned out. I am throwing out anything that has been in there too long, looks like it has freezer burn, or can’t be identified.
- Make a list where everything in my freezer is written out. If I know the date I purchased it or put it in there, I will make note of it as well. When I go to make my meal plan for the week, I’m going to consult my freezer list to see if there is anything in there I can use that week.
- Cook in bulk when I can. Making extra of something you are already cooking is one way to get ahead for future meals.
Hopefully in time this will become a habit for me and will help me save time and money when planning meals.
How do you use your freezer? Comment and share any tips you have below.