Freezer Cooking is a necessity in our house. Between homeschooling, church, various activities, and work, sometimes it’s hard to get a home-cooked meal on the table. With my husband’s schedule I’m never sure if he’ll be home at lunchtime or at suppertime.
If he’s home for lunch it’s hard to stop school at 11am so I can have an hour to get a good meal ready before sending him off to work.
So, freezer cooking has become one of those essential things for us. And now that I’m losing weight with Trim Healthy Mama I am experimenting and discovering new favorites for the freezer.
Freezing Tips & Tricks
First off, let’s talk about the methods for freezer cooking, from once-a-month cooking (where you prepare a whole month’s worth of meals) to small batch cooking sessions. Here’s a list of my favorite methods for freezer cooking:
Method #1: Freezing family favorites.
There are some family recipes that are hands-down favorites and often requested. I experimented to see which would freeze easily.
Sometimes I would freeze after the meal was cooked and sometimes I’d work out how to freeze things before cooking (fajitas are great for this!). We had a few things that didn’t work out so well (beef stew with root vegetables – stew was great but potatoes were mushy and weird tasting) but overall this is a very successful method.
Method #2: Freezer cooking sale items.
This is a great way to fill the freezer and save money at the same time. Right now cauliflower is on sale everywhere.
So I’ve been buying a whole bunch. I “rice” a bunch of it in my blender (no need to cook it beforehand) and freeze it in 2-cup portions. Others I’ll cut into pieces, blanch for a few minutes, drain, cool, package and freeze in meal-sized portions.
Carrots are also a big sale item right now. So I’ll do the same with them – blanch and package for the freezer.
I do recommend flash freezing (freezing things spread out on cookie sheets until firm, then bagging up; they’ll all stay frozen but in individual pieces) if you have the freezer space so you can scoop out just what you want instead of having to thaw out a huge frozen block of carrots.
Same goes for many other things – chickens, baguettes (I live in Quebec after all!), vegetables – you get the idea! When things are on sale stock up!
Method #3: Small batches add up.
All those individual things I listed above – those great buys that fill the freezer. That stuff adds up quickly! So, instead of some huge mega-cooking session. I do these little things.
After looking through our local store sale circulars I’ll make a note of things that I know freeze well (or google if I’m not sure about an ingredient!) and choose around 2-5 things with the intention of prepping them and freezing for a later date.
Some things will be more labor intensive than others. I wouldn’t choose 5 things that require loads of work. But I’d choose two that are a bit more involved and a few that might require a quick wash and blanch before freezing.
Here’s one example – whole chickens are on sale, as well as cauliflower and bell peppers. While I’m at the store I notice that there’s a rack of day old baguettes marked down super cheap.
So, I buy 8 chickens, a few heads of cauliflower, 4 bell peppers, and 3 baguettes. The baguettes get cut into thirds and put in freezer bags (very easy to reheat in the toaster oven when we want one).
The bell peppers get cut into strips and frozen (no need to blanch- but these will only be good for cooking afterwards. If you want some to munch on do it while they’re fresh). The cauliflower gets chopped, blanched, and frozen or turned into rice in the blender before being frozen. The chickens will require the most work.
I’ll season 2 with herbs and stuff a half a lemon in the cavity of each before bagging and freezing. The other six with get chopped into pieces, wings all put in one bag with a marinade and frozen, the rest of the pieces breaded and quick-fried (not completely cooked through though), cooled and bagged for the freezer.
On cook day, those just need to be tossed in a baking pan and put in the oven (straight from frozen!) to finish cooking. That’s a bit more work but worth it for the six meals that it provides.
Method #4: Make a double or triple batch
This one is simple. Once you have a few recipes in your recipe card holder that you know freeze well you are set.
Say you want to make a chicken soup. Instead of making one small batch for one meal, double or triple that recipe. Portion out enough for your meal that day and freeze the rest. It’s that easy.
Method #5: A Batch Cooking session.
I don’t do the once-a-month cooking thing but I do like to do smaller batch cooking sessions. Mine usually follow whatever is on sale. If ground beef is on sale, I will buy a bunch of it and plan my session around that.
I might make hamburger patties, brown some up with garlic and onion, make a big tray of meatballs, and a huge pot of spaghetti sauce – all things that will freeze very well.
By using these methods you can quickly and easily fill your freezer. It can be as easy as buying a few veggies when they are on sale! The hardest part will be keeping it all organized in your freezer!
Stocking Your Trim Healthy Mama Freezer
Changing your eating habits can take some time. If you’re following the Trim Healthy Mama plan there are quite a few changes that might be new to you – new sweeteners and different flours, separating your fuel sources – that’s a lot of new habits to work on!
But there are a few things you can do to make the transition easier. Here are seven things you can keep handy in your Trim Healthy Mama freezer.
There’s a bit of a learning curve to the (that’s an affiliate link –>) Trim Healthy Mama plan. Learning to separate your “E” and “S” fuel sources and using new sweeteners and baking ingredients can take some time.
But while you’re getting used to it, it’s helpful to have some things on hand to make mealtime a little bit quicker. Here are my favorite things to keep in my Trim Healthy Mama freezer.
1. Shredded Chicken Breast
Precooking and shredding chicken is an easy thing to keep on hand for quick meals (I have a few tips for effortless freezer cooking).
Toss it in your salad (with some beans for an “E” or with some cheese for an “S”), throw it in a pot of soup, or make a sandwich. You should definitely keep some in your freezer for quick meals.
2. Ground Beef
Like chicken, ground beef is another freezer staple. Cook it up ahead, rinse off the fat and you have another great choice for protein in your “S” and “E” meals.
I love to cook mine in the crockpot (ground beef effortless cooking tips) – easy to do and hardly any work for me.
If you soak and precook beans, measure them out into small bags (and keep them in a freezer bag) you’ll have another quick thing in your cooking arsenal.
Beans take a long time to cook – so doing all the work ahead of time is a great way to have them on the table for dinner in no time flat.
Brown rice is another of those long-cooking ingredients. I love to cook it ahead, package it up with beans, and I have an “E” meal all ready to go in the freezer.
Or measure it out into family-sized portions for your meals. Rice & bean burritos make a great quick “E” lunch for busy mamas.
Cauliflower is a low-carb staple that should definitely be in your freezer. For low-carb pizza crusts or ‘cauli-rice’ it’s a must-have. Making ‘rice’ from cauliflower is actually pretty easy if you have a strong blender.
I just break it up into florets, run it through the blender until it’s in a rice-like consistency and package it up for the freezer. No pre-cooking necessary.
10 Trim Healthy Mama Freezer Recipes
Finding tasty yet nutritious meals to serve your family that can be frozen can save you so much time and energy in the kitchen. It can be so helpful with those really chaotic days where you need something easy to throw in the oven or crock pot and serve up for dinner.
I also found a couple of fun and tasty breakfast and lunch ideas which are perfect for people who are on the go, looking to maximise their work day and spend less time preparing than cooking.
1. All-Purpose Ground Beef Mix
One of my favorite methods for keeping my freezer full of things for quick meals is batch cooking. It’s not a big all-day cooking session, but usually involves one item in the spotlight. This one features ground beef.
Now there’s lots of ways to go about using up a big package (I had an 8 pound package) of ground beef. I tend to pick 1-3 recipes and make doubles and triples of things instead of making a different recipe with each pound of meat.
Sometimes, if I’m really in stock up mode I’ll choose one thing and make the whole batch into that. For example, meatballs. I’d make up a whole huge batch of meatballs and flash freeze so we can just grab some as needed. But that’s not what I did with this batch!
Using this as a base you can create a number of things with it from bolognaise, beef cups, burgers, meatballs and more!
To find out more about how to create the all-purpose ground beef recipe click here.
2. Barbecue Beef Cups
This is a quick meal to get on the table if you have some of Gwen’s bread dough in your refrigerator and a bag of all-purpose ground beef mix in your freezer. P
reheat your oven to 400 and get to work! Using individual custard cups (very lightly greased) press a small bit of dough into the bottom of each.
I believe you want to keep your portion under 1/4 cup for an E. If you squish it really thin and have small custard cups you can portion that between two cups. Put the meat mix in a bowl and mix it with some barbecue sauce before dividing evenly between the dough-lined cups.
Top with a light sprinkle of reduced fat cheese. Put in the oven for 12-15 minutes until the bread is cooked and the meat mixture is heated through.
So there you have it – in one quick afternoon, you can have 5-6 meals already started and in your freezer.
Just thaw and season or add to something else and you are on your way. There’s no reason to brown one pound of ground meat when you can brown five and put them in the freezer!
3. Trim Healthy Mama Pancakes
A breakfast staple for many, Trim Healthy Mama pancakes are a great source of protein – and the are freezable. Make a few batches and freeze in a single layer.
Once they are frozen you can package them right up in a freezer container. Pull out what you want for breakfast and pop in the microwave (or toaster). Perfect for a quick breakfast.
These are perfect for anyone looking to make their morning routine quicker and easier, especially if you have children that have school and you have work yourself.
Find the full pancakes or waffle recipe at Trim Healthy Mama.
4. Skinny Chocolate
Chocolate is a must in this house and I like to keep a stash in the fridge or freezer. I usually make my Trim Healthy Mama skinny chocolate peanut butter cups – it helps to keep other sugary treats from being too tempting.
Another great option to stash in your freezer or pantry are the THM Dark Chocolate Chips.
This is a great snack and treat to have on hand to save you eating store bought treats that aren’t good for you or even having something you are trying to cut out on.
Find out how to make Skinny Chocolate here.
5. Freezer Breakfast Burritos
Who doesn’t love a burrito? Especially a breakfast burrito, as they are so easy to eat, make and store in the fridge or freezer.
I love making these as they are really handy for days when we are on the move, when my partner is running late for work or just when we want to have a warm breakfast.
You can make a whole batch of these and prepare them in as little as 1 hour, put them together, roll them up and put them into freezer bags. I found it helps to wrap them in a paper towel when heating them up in the microwave.
Find the full Freezer Breakfast Burrito recipe at The Well Planned Kitchen.
6. Cilantro Lime Chicken
This recipe is delicious and so easy to bring together and even easier to cook again. You can prep this recipe by adding all the ingredients into a freezer bag, placing in the freezer and bringing it out when you fancy it.
The best part of this recipe is you can cook it from frozen or thaw it out and cook. Place it into your crock pot and let it cook for 6-8 hours on low or 3-4 hours on high.
This is a perfect recipe to put in the crock pot and leave during the day to cook away ready for dinner that evening. It is super easy to add to any of your favourite veggies and great for staying on plan.
Find the full recipe for Cilantro Lime Chicken by Artful Home Making here.
7. Ham and Cauliflower Casserole
This is a perfect dish if you love the taste and texture of mashed potato but are cutting it out of your THM plan.
It is perfect for everyone in the family to enjoy and super filling so you don’t have to worry about padding out the meal with anything else.
The meal has minimal ingredients and things you can find is pretty much any supermarket so no matter where you shop you can find what you need.
What I really like about this recipe is that you can batch cook and get 4 pans of meals out of the recipe, use one for that day and freeze the rest for other days.
Find the full ham and cauliflower casserole recipe at One More Little Thing.
8. THM Chicken Chimichangas
This is another meal which is perfect for batch cooking, having one for now and freezing the rest for later. Again the recipe has all super easy to find ingredients or you can create your own even when staying on plan.
Remember that to stay under 5g of fat for THM recipes you need to keep an eye on how much cheese you use.
Though even for someone who loves cheese, I found I only needed a small sprinkle on top which really helped keep it on a plan.
Find the full Chicken Chimichangas recipe on One More Little Thing.
9. Spinach Stuffed Chicken
This recipe is delicious and is a THM ‘S’. The recipe is super easy to make and even easier to batch cook and freezer for later.
Even though the recipe includes spinach we found that my children loved eating it and never heard a word of complaint which I found a savour as it saved me making them a separate dinner from myself and my partner.
I love that I can have this in the freezer ready to pull out and thaw and stick in the oven or crockpot ready to put on the table at dinner time.
Find the full Spinach Stuffed Chicken recipe over on One More Little Thing.
10. Unstuffed Bell Pepper Casserole Recipe
Casseroles are a life saver for lazy or busy days, they are easy to make and easy to pull out of the freezer thaw or cook from frozen and are always tasty.
I stumbled upon this recipe and loved the flavour and so did my kids. We instantly found it was one of our favourite dishes to make. I like to make 2 or 3 at a time and freeze the spare for another day.
This recipe is easy to follow and easy to make and perfect for feeding a large family or even smaller families for 2 meals or more.
Find the Unstuffed Bell Pepper Casserole Recipe from Large Family Table here.
What do you keep in your Trim Healthy Mama freezer?