Freezer Meals on the Cheap

 freezer meals OAMC collage

Update:   One thing I wanted to point out… a lot of people seem to be under the impression that I cook all of my meat ahead of time and then thaw it so I’m losing a lot with the quality of the meat. That is not the case and I’ll go read the rest of the post to see if I led you to believe that anywhere. The only meat I do cook ahead of time, is the shredded chicken, ground beef and taco.  Everything else, gets frozen uncooked. I actually mention that this way it gets to marinate while it’s thawing and THEN we put it on the grill to cook.

I’ve been doing freezer meals for a couple years now, and admit that like most things in my life, I could stand to be a little more consistent with this!  I probably have a “cooking day” about 3 times a year and those meals will tide us over for a couple months.

Have you ever heard the story about the boy who woke up on a gorgeous day and his dad told him he had to go out back and chop firewood.  The boy asked why he had to spend a warm, summer day chopping firewood and the dad said it was so he didn’t have to do it on a cold, winter day.

That’s how I feel about freezer meals.  It’s all about sucking it up and committing to an afternoon of slaving away in the kitchen, because you know it will make life SO much easier for the next couple months.  This way, when you have that warm, summer day when you’re running your kids here and there and life seems so chaotic… dinner is already made and you look like supermom for doing it all and still putting a healthy dinner on the table!

First thing I do is look for sales!  When I know I’m running low on meals and I see bags of onions are buy 1 get 1 free… well, that’s all the signs I need to get going!

 

 

My onions and potatoes were both B1G1.  Woot, woot!!

Before I even get to the meat, I finely chop both bags of onions and 6 green peppers and finely grate a bag of carrots.  Just keep these all in separate bowls and they’re all ready to go for whatever recipe you’re working on!

Then I wash all the potatoes and pop them in a 350 degree oven for about an hour.

I hit some massive meat sales this week and am thrilled with how little I spent!  Nothing gets this girl excited like a good meat sale! : )

 

 

Are you seeing these prices???  $17 worth of sirloin for $6.50!  A $13 pork loin roast for $4!  I split that in half and got 2 meals out of it (which will each have leftovers!)!  So that’s $2/meal for a family of 4!  And that 92% fat-free ground beef… oh yeah, I got 8 packs of that!  I also found boneless, skinless chicken breasts for 79 cents/lb., plus chicken breast w/ bone-in for $1/lb.  I seriously cleaned up in the meat aisle. Ask your butcher at your local store what day they mark the meat down.  Mine marks it down on Wed. mornings and there are always deals to be found!

Anyways… while your potatoes are cooking, plop about 2 lbs. of ground beef and a bunch of onions, green peppers and carrots into a cast iron skillet and let it do it’s magic.  (side note, I throw grated carrots into A LOT.  The kids don’t know they’re eating it, it bulks up your meal for little cost and why not??).  Once this is all cooked and cooled, divide into quart size freezer bags.  You’ll be so glad to have these on hand!  Pull out to add to spaghetti sauce, sloppy joes, nachos for unexpected company… the list is endless!

 

 

After that’s done, in the same pan, cook up another 2 lbs. of ground beef, 2 cups of salsa, a can of diced jalapeno peppers, 2 tsbp. chili powder, 2 tsp. garlic powder, 2 tsp. onion powder, 1.5 cups of water, cumin, some brown sugar, garlic, a bunch of diced onions and whatever else you like to add to your taco meat!

Second story, same as the first… cook, cool and divide up between quart size bags.  Great to pull out for tacos, taco salads, topping for a baked potato, nachos for unexpected company! : )

While all the above is cooking, you can get lots of other meals made!  When I’m mixing up a marinade for meat, I mix it right in the gallon ziploc bag.  Don’t dirty all those bowls if there’s no need for it!

Take it from this clumsy girl, don’t leave a bag filled with an oily marinade just sitting on the counter.  What’s my method, you ask??  I take the bottom out of my blender (please remove that blade!!) and then just put my freezer bag in and wrap the top of the bag down the sides to hold it in place. Pour in your marinade ingredients and you can mix it right up!

 

 

One of my favorite (quick!) ways to get a lot of meals done in a short amount of time, is to make a big batch of one marinade and then use it on different types of meat.  It doesn’t seem like you’re having the same meal over and over then!

We love a teriyaki marinade!  I use 2 cups of soy sauce, 1.5 cups of sugar (it calls for 2 cups, but I decrease it), 1 cup of Mirin (rice cooking wine), A LOT of fresh garlic, salt & pepper.  Use about 1/2 cup of the marinade for every lb. of meat.  So you mix up this one batch of marinade and BAM… you just got yourself about 8 meals!  I use it on steaks, chicken, pork chops, tuna steaks and shrimp.

 

 

During all this, throw a bunch of chicken (I use bone-in chicken for this), in a stock pot with water, a lot of chopped carrots, celery, onions and any spices you like.  I simmer it, covered for about an hour or until the chicken is cooked.  Pull your chicken out, throw away the veggies and let the broth cool.  Once the broth is cool, freeze it for chicken stock for other meals.  Shred your chicken and you end up with a mountain o’ goodness.

 

 

Split this up between quart size baggies and freeze. Use for chicken salad, tacos, enchiladas, wraps, etc.  I already promised my son we can use one bag for buffalo chicken salads- after it thaws I’ll just throw it in a frying pan with a little butter and hot wing sauce for a couple minutes until it’s heated through and I will officially be his favorite mommy for the day!  You could also make BBQ chicken salads.  You can never have enough shredded chicken for summer meals!

Once your potatoes are done cooking and cooled enough to handle. Just slice them right down the middle and make some double-stuffed potatoes!  Scoop the insides out into a bowl and add some butter, softened cream cheese, milk, chives and whatever else you like. Sometimes we add crumpled bacon, shredded cheese, ranch dressing… whatever we’re in the mood for.  Use a potato masher until it’s all mixed in and then spoon the filling into your potato shells. I wrap these individually in plastic wrap and then put in a bag. On serving day you thaw and then bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or until heated through.

 

 

Summer freezer cooking is SO much easier than doing it for the colder months!  It’s basically just a bunch of marinades and then you grill everything!  If you aren’t feeling up to making your own marinades, you can still buy a bulk package of meat, split it up between freezer bags and just add some pre-bottled marinades!  It’s still cheaper, your meal is prepared ahead of time and letting the meat marinate as it thaws will make it much more tender and flavorful!

My all-time favorite resource for freezer meal recipes is the book “Don’t Panic, Dinner’s in the Freezer!”.  I’ve been using it for about 2 years now and every recipe has been a hit!  Last year I bought their 2nd book and we haven’t tested as many of those recipes yet, but it’s also fantastic! One of my favorite parts of these cookbooks is they do all the conversions for you if you want to triple, x6  or x9 your recipes.  This is fantastic, if you have a favorite recipe and want to triple it for 3 different kinds of meats!

This latest session of cooking took me about 4 hours and I got 46 meals out of it!! This is only about half of what I made today!!

 

Some of our favorites are:
Tomato Basil Soup
Sesame Chicken
Balsamic Roasted Chicken Thighs
Parmesan Garlic Chicken
Buttermilk Herb Chicken
Pesto Chicken
Cranberry Chicken
Dijon Pork Roast
Bourbon Brown Sugar Pork Chops
Hamburgers
Teriyaki anything!

If I have leftover carrots or onions when I’m done, I just freeze them in 1/2 cup increments and pull them out whenever I need them!

I didn’t get to it today, but I often will make huge batches of 40 or so waffles and freeze them so the kids can pull them out on a weekday morning!  All ends from the bread loaf get frozen for bread crumbs.  And I live by Chocolate World, so if I have time, I’ll stop in and buy their bags of day old cookies cheap and then freeze them for cheesecake crusts or crumb coatings.  I also try to always have some cooked sausage (w/peppers, onions and carrots) frozen that can be pulled out on the weekend for omelets or a quiche.

If I’m making casseroles or meatloaf, I line the pan with plastic wrap and then fill the pan.  Put the whole thing in the freezer and once it’s frozen solid, pop the plastic wrapped food out of the pan, put it in a freezer bag and now you still have your pan to use in the meantime.  Just remember, when it’s time to use it, take the plastic wrap off while it’s still a frozen block and put it back in the pan to thaw!

I also found some other deals that I won’t even do anything with until it’s serving day!

Most of these things are normally $4.95/pack.  I got them for 50 cents to $1/pack!  What’s that you say??? AWESOME!!

Not including these “ready-to-go” meats up above, I prepared 46 meal starters for us for the summer!  We have leftovers from nearly every meal, so this will actually get us much more than just the 46 meals. Add in these prepared meats above, the nights we’re away, cook-outs, etc… and I don’t really have to cook until about Sept.!  And trust me, the hubster loves this too!  If he gets home before me, dinner is thawing in the fridge with directions right on the bag. He plops it on the grill, throws the bag away and dinner is served with no mess to clean up afterwards!

I kept track of how much I spent on meat and veggies and just added extra money in for all the staples I used and I’m roughly guessing I spent about $95 on these 46 meals.  That’s just over $2 per meal for our family of 4!  I’ll take it!

Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll do my best to answer them!  (and I’m by no means an expert!! Just learning by trial and error over here!)

Edited to Add:  I did a follow-up post to this one where I tried to answer most of your questions!  Please check out that post and this one and hopefully that helps!  I’m still getting lots and lots of emails asking for all my recipes, and I’m REALLY sorry, but I’m not going to be posting them!  The reason is that they aren’t my recipes!  I take them from Don’t Panic- Dinner’s in the Freezer and I just don’t think it would be fair to those authors if I copied their recipes word for word here!  Sorry, but the book is only $8 on Amazon! For anyone interested in buying the books I mentioned,  I wouldn’t be opposed to you clicking directly on the links below! : )  Thanks!

 

 

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Natalie

Natalie

Hi, I'm Natalie and I like to move slowly (like a turtle, if you will)! I daydream about minivans, painting walls and eating fudge with a spoon. Welcome to my little computer home where I share my family's adventures as we live life from the slow lane!
Natalie
Natalie
Natalie

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Comments

  1. WOW!! You have really motivated me to make some freezer meals…thank you :-)

    • LeAndra says:

      I think this all looks awesome and I will definitely try it! I do have to say that there was one line in there that just made me sick.

      …and just throw it away…

      If everyone commenting on here actually follows through on this, do you know what that will do to our environment? I challenge everyone to find a reusable way to do this…or even wash and reuse the plastic bags…my family has done that forever.

      Please be kind to the earth you’re leaving behind for your children!

      • I grew up reusing plastic bags as well. They are good for quite a few uses after. Reusing plastic bags is another great savings for your wallet!

      • I would freeze everything in my Tupperware or Rubbermaid containers. I put foil on top of the meat or whatever and that keeps it from getting freezer burn and can be recycled when I thaw the dinner

      • Re-using plastic like those bags are bad for you as are the water bottles from the supermarket that people refill. They leach dioxins into your food and water disrupting your hormones.

        • Cory Hanks says:

          I agree with MissG! I have been a personal chef for over 20 years, and unless you want your kids to get sick from bacteria, i wouldn’t recommend this to anyone. Plastic wrap, and freezer bags are cheap, especially when you are making meals at such a cheap price. The money you might save by reusing things that are made for single use, you will spend in hospital bills! Lets think straight folks, we are making these meals for our loved ones, and the last thing you want is to harm them because you are trying to save a few cents! Check this out!

          PET is one of the most commonly used plastics in consumer products, and is found in most water and pop bottles, and some packaging. It is intended for single use applications; repeated use increases the risk of leaching and bacterial growth. PET plastic is difficult to decontaminate, and proper cleaning requires harmful chemicals. Polyethylene terephthalates may leach carcinogens.

          PET plastic is recyclable and about 25% of PET bottles in the US today are recycled. The plastic is crushed and then shredded into small flakes which are then reprocessed to make new PET bottles, or spun into polyester fiber. This recycled fiber is used to make textiles such as fleece garments, carpets, stuffing for pillows and life jackets, and similar products.

          Products made of #1 (PET) plastic should be recycled but not reused.

          • I totally agree with you and the facts. Those plastic bags are recycled for small garbage cans in my house. I consider my family worthy of extra money spent on properly sealing their food.

        • You may want to check the web site: http://www.snopes.com. They check on ideas expressed as fact to see if they are indeed factual. I found http://www.snopes.com/medical/toxins/plasticbottles.asp on the plastic bottles you mentioned and I believe there is probably some overlap there with the plastic bags. Sometimes we see something online and accept it for the truth whether it is or not ~ I know I have. Hope this helps.

          • All the snopes.com says is not gospel, either. Just sayin’ …

          • At least Snopes put some research into their findings, which is better than most people posting replies on this site. All the stories that you find online are not gospel either. It’s really up to the individual as to what they feel is best for themselves. No offense to anyone, but I’d probably put more stock in Snopes than internet rumors

          • Well, Snopes does have factual findings which are based on authoritative sources (i.e. The American Cancer Society, scientists from world-renown facilities, etc….unless you think you have more scientific research and knowledge than they do, that is), so Anna, I’m not sure where you’re coming up with what you said, either. Just sayin’…

            Anyway, to get back to the main deal here, this is such an awesome idea re: how to have things ready to go at a moment’s notice, and I’m grateful to have stumbled upon it! I try to cook a few meals on the w/e’s for through the week, but this is even better. Thanks for the ideas!

      • Darlin, i think your missing the point. getting hung up on reusing plastic bags and wraps that aren’t meant nor safe to reuse dismisses the savings of energy and resources that you would use to prepare 40 plus meals one by one. if you subscribe to the “carbon footprint” theory the carbon saved in energy more than off sets the carbon used in making the plastic bags and wraps and that material is recyclable for the most part.

      • Good grief

      • It makes you sick? Lol. I have always found that the best way to get a point across is to grossly exaggerate a personal reaction. I assume you did not literally get sick. Next time try something a little less sensational to get your point across.

        Also, I literally got sick when I read your comment.

        Also, I was totally joking about getting sick.

      • Of course you throw away the ones with raw meat in them.

      • OH Please! Typical sanctimonious liberal. Mind your own business.

  2. I’m jealous of all the deals you got! You have some great freezer meal ideas! I’m going to try out a few! :)

  3. That’s really impressive and looks like a huge time saver too.

    Best,
    Emily from Nap Time Is My Time

  4. WOW! This makes it seem so simple!

  5. um, could you come live in california for a few weeks, niece? you can visit a farmers’ market, take over our kitchen and get us all stocked up. i’ll supply the wine. you’re amazing!

    • i am making same dishes @ home even preparing and selling prepared just ready to cook or freeze, if u need that just help me to get there from Egypt( i am Moroccan) i can even cook both Moroccan and Egyptian dishes, sicerly.
      Nadia

    • I agree. You should pimp yourself out to busy mum’s for an hourly rate plus supplies (regardless of deals at supermarkets!) just to do their meals etc. You could even do it from home and bring the frozen goods over in those styro boxes like Weight Watchers do. People could purchase your services as gifts to new mums, people suffering a loss, disability folks… Oh I would pay for you just because I’m lazy as heck :) Brilliant website!!! I want to get a chest freezer!!

  6. ummmm HOW ON EARTH DID U FIND THOSE PRICES!?! I keep wanting to do this…I do the breakfast foods, i.e. pancakes, waffles, and often some breads but rarely foods. My friend who has four kids (just one more than me, but BOY OH BOY does that lil boy make a diff lol) does this…opening her freezer is like opening the gates to food-land…I have to do this and stop attempting to be superwoman cooking EVERYDAY! lol

    • I’ve never seen those prices, either!

      • She said to ask your grocery store what days they markdown their prices. Ralphs has prices that low.

        • You have to make sure you get there early in the morning on those days also…grab up all the great deals before other shoppers can get to them. :) Even Walmart and Albertson’s have these markdown days on meat – have found some amazing deals! Usually the family packs are the best deals but do your comparison calculating to be sure. These can easily be divided into multiple meals. ***Never had any desire to do the freezer meals thing, it always seemed too hard and complicated. Now that it’s been explained in such detail though I’m definitely feeling inspired and motivated to give it a shot! Thank you for sharing!

          • I have found meat for 25 cents a pound so it is possible.
            sams club has their special early in the morning just ask them for day old meat. so does the commissary.

          • It largely depends on what state you live in and the store you go to.
            I get to the store as they are putting the ‘manager’s special” “quick sale” meat out and haven’t seen it go down that low in 10 years!…. I think I struck gold if I get Chicken Breast for $1.69 a lb- Chicken thighs are usually more expensive than breast meat. Never seen ground beef go under $1.59. Lamb is usually for quick sale for 4.99 a lb. I also pay tax on top of that.

  7. i loooooooove doing freezer meals!! my best tip: make sure the hubby is home to keep the kids out of the kitchen :)

    • What?? why aren’t they in the kitchen helping? If the kids are too young, send them to grandma’s, otherwise, find tasks they can accomplish … Hubby can be peeling, washing, and doing the dishes. No one should grow up thinking food just appears on the tale and without the skills for self-sufficiency. Food is a family affair.

      • Thank you for mentioning the kids and Dad, too.I am amazed at how many people don’t know how to cook. I am a firm believer that everyone in the house should contribute, not just one person. My 2 sons & I take turns cooking and cleaning the kitchen. We each plan a menu for the week we’re in charge of and prepare the meals. The others are in charge of cleaning the kitchen.Just because they’re boys, doesn’t mean they can’t help.

      • Not everyone lives close enough to grandma! I live in Hawaii and my entire family lives in NC, my husbands family lives in CA. Your comment came off a little rude!!

      • Julie B says:

        You know, I agree with your thoughts, but allow for the fact that others may not. You sure are comfortable telling other people what to do. I’m not sure it’s any of your business WHY people aren’t doing it the way you want it done. Do you make exceptions for family members with severe disabilities? Or single moms/dads? Or even people who simply don’t agree with you?

        • Give it a break, she’s just trying to help and is making suggestions. Not everyone speaks the queens English. She’s trying to be helpful, your being spiteful.

          • Oh for pete’s sake it’s a helpful site- you need to adapt it to your own family. You sound so angry and vendictive that I can’t help but pity you. I have adapted her suggestions to my lifestyle since I live alone. It’s a no brainer…special needs are easy to incorporate as I have managed it quite easily. It’s a guide not a manual…these bloggers take a lot of thier own personal time just trying to help people you should be grateful. I agree you are being spiteful.
            Why don’t you ask for help planning your meals I’m sure there are a lot of women on here that would be more than happy to give you some helpful hints!

      • Wow! Becky, Misty and Julie need to chill out. Why does everyone take things so literal anymore? It if doesn’t apply to you, ignore it, simple as that.

        • Like maybe Jenn should have chilled and “ignored” the comment about the hubby being home to help with the kids without overdoing the “What!!!” comments. If it doesn’t apply to either one of you, maybe you should just chill. If you don’t want your advice to be taken literally (meaning at face value), what is the metaphor? Or are you and she reciting poetry? I’m confused.

          I agree with Misty that Jenn (not Becky) comes off as a little rude and I might add that you do as well. Misty, how about you and I have a long-distance tropical fruit drink and chill out? Genie and the rest of you are welcome as well. Make love, not war. Peace out.

          And again, Natalie, you are fantastic. I have mentioned the freezer meals to several people. I continue to follow you because I like your ideas. Keep up the good work.

        • I agree with Glenn, take a chill.

      • I can understand not wanting to include family members is the prep. A lot of us don’t have the luxury of a kitchen big enough to have more than 1 person in it at a time or the counter space to keep things save and clean should another be attempting to help…..as in our case. We don’t even have room for a kitchen table. Somethings are compromised for the simple ability to own a home.

      • As a mom of young children, I agree that kids need to learn to help and to enjoy cookin healthy, whole food meals. But there are plenty of times they can do that. I wouldn’t say that freezer cooking day would be the best time. The goal with freezer cooking is to crank out as much food as possible in a short time. I totally understand the idea of having someone help keep the kids occupied if they are young enough to make things take longer rather than shorter. Then pick a day of the week to bake something together or have them help with preparing a salad or side dish to go with the freezer meals.

      • AMEN

      • I agree. The younger you put the kids in the kitchen helping the better for them. I think it helps teach them respect for what others do. When they were really young they helped by sitting on a stool and ” making sure I didn’t miss anything” that was supposed to go in their favorite meals. Then telling me stories so that I wouldn’t “get bored”. They do not realize you are doing this to keep them from interrupting and you both learn to be involved and become closer. My kids are now 16, 18, and 19 and cooking together is fun. We are all very close and the effort it took to keep them interested when they were small has been well worth it

        • I understand your kitchen may not be a size that allows multiple people easily but more often than not the kitchen table does… letting younger kids take a peeler to the vegetables or older ones cut meat into correct proportions… you can have them take the ingredients in the mixing bowls they are in and measure them into bags there are options for kids of all ages. I grew up cooking in a kitchen barely big enough to fit 3to4 people washing the produce can be done by kids young as 4 give them a brush to scrub the potatoes and a stool or use the hose to spray a colander. If the kitchen isn’t big enough… you can prep a lot of things out of the kitchen.

  8. This is so motivating! You are SO organized…and I LOVE organized! I will be bookmarking this page…My mom was a school teacher and did this every summer {and she was very organized too}. Thanks for the motivation!

    Becky B.
    http://www.organizingmadefun.com
    Organizing Made Fun

  9. WOW, I think my jaw just hit the floor. I seriously need to do this. I can’t believe the awesome deals you got on all that meat..

  10. Wow is right – GOOD WORK! This IS very inspiring! I’m sharing this post on my crafty facebook page : )
    Jaimee @ craft-interrupted.blogspot.com

  11. Great work!!! Love it!

  12. Amazing!

    Did I miss it? How did you get all of that meat for $.50 and $1.00? Was your store having a major sell?

  13. mom my used to do this every summer so she didn’t have to waste nice weather cooking. Your meals are AMAZING! Come on over this week and link to my Tasty Tuesday party! http://nap-timecreations.blogspot.com/

  14. I want to do something like this but I am waiting for a friend’s lambs to be ready. I want to buy half a lamb this year, and only then will I know how much space is left in the freezer.

    • Why don’t you pressure can all your meats and your freezer is empty then? You can take canned meat out of a jar and all you have to do is heat it up. You can’t get a roast out of a jar but fresh chunks of meat are better. Can hamburger patties in a wide mouth jar or sausage it’s great. It’s always better to have fresh meats when butchered but you can do the same with store bought. Just FYI.

      • I agree Rita .. canning meats is simple and very helpful both space wise and economically. Start with learning to can hamburg and then go from there. The fat is always at the top so you can scrape it off and have delicious meat ready to eat. Great tip!

        • I am an avid home canner of everything from meat to beans to berries, and love to put meals in a jar, but I must admit, home canned food has a completely different taste than fresh or frozen. I feel a lot of folks just wouldn’t be as satisfied with a home canned product if they weren’t raised that way or into for a few years now.

        • Another issue with home canned whole meals besides the space to store them is usually 1qt jars are basically big enough for 1 adult meal. When you have a family of 4 that is 4 jars I would have to store for 1 meal as apposed to 1 lg freezer bag. I love canning but do so for fruit/veggies and condiments only for this exact reason. Great idea if it works for your family situation. :)

      • Personally, I have more spare room in my freezer in the summer months than on my pantry shelves. Boxes of grocery staples, flats of store bought canned fruits and vegetables, and canned home grown vegetables take up 75% of the space and HBA items and Toys For Tots items purchased for pennies on the dollar take up the rest.

        The only room left in the pantry by this time of year for me is in the deep freezer. And you can’t exactly grill canned chicken, right?

        • Oh yes you can grill canned chicken! Cut your chicken up into large pieces and use a wide mouth jar. Can it. The night before grilling open the jar and pour in your sauce. The next day pour the chicken into a throw away pie tin -put the tin on the grill cook until done. It will come out with a great taste! [I cover mine untill it has about 5 minutes left then I uncover it and let it finsh cooking.] It comes out tender that way. The other option is to grill your chicken then can it of course!

  15. wow!! Thoroughly impressed! I’m totally jealous of the steals you got on all that meat!! ;-)

  16. That’s amazing! I would love to try this the next time I go bulk shopping!

    Would love for you to share at Calling All Crafters!
    http://allthingsfee.blogspot.com/2011/06/calling-all-crafters.html

  17. oh, that made my heart sing when I see all of thos efrozen meals ready to go. Love it. Thankyou.
    Tess

  18. Oh my gosh, that’s a lot of food! So convenient! I’d love to do this in August before I have the baby and get too busy or tried to have anything but cereal!

  19. Anonymous says:

    That’s fantastic. I will have to get this freezer cooking thing started.

  20. sooooo inspiring! Thanks!

  21. Do you have links to your freezer cooking recipes?

  22. This is so awesome!

    I really need to do this-I’m not enjoying cooking lately at all!

    Thanks for the inspiration. :)

    Holly

  23. Anonymous says:

    After the food is thawed, how do you reheat say taco meat? Microwave?

    • When I do my Taco meat I break off a chunk about the size I need and either microwave it or put it in a pan to reheat. Depends on how you are using it.

  24. Kerrie Wylie says:

    Is the meat so cheap because it was a manager’s special type of this? For example, it was going to expire that day, something like that? I’ve seen Manager’s Special meat that would expire that day and I’ve been afraid to buy it, but this makes a lot of sense if I can make a meal that day and freeze it.

  25. You have some great tips! I love the idea of using the blender to help when filling freezer bags! Great post–very inspiring!

  26. All I can say is awesome.

  27. Do you have a generator? I’ve been wanting to do this, but I’m worried that one day I’ll lose power for too long and all that money and work will go down the drain.

  28. That is awesome! I wish I could find some awesome meat deals like that here!

  29. Wow! This is awesome! I’m really considering getting a deep freeze, but I’m wondering logistically how to do you make use of all these freezer meals — do you need to think to thaw them out the day before. Are there some recipes that can go straight from the freezer to the oven/microwave etc.? How do you know? Any other tips for making use of all of your labors?

  30. Hi! I followed the link here from Money saving Mom. I love to do freezer cooking, but I have never done 46 meals in one day. I’m thoroughly impressed!

    I’d lov eit if you linked this post up to my Making a Home linky tomorrow. :)

    Linda @ Linda’s Lunacy
    http://www.lindaslunacy.blogspot.com

  31. What a productive day! I love your analogy about chopping wood in the summer for the winter and freezer cooking. I, like you, have hard core freezer cooking sessions just a few times a year and always enjoy having a freezer full of meals ready to go.

    I saw that you got some of your meat from Giant. I do coupon match-ups for Martin’s (a Giant affiliate). Feel free to check me out for some deals on your perishables to go along with your main dishes.

    PS – I saw your link on Money Saving Mom.

  32. I saw you on MSM, and I’m thoroughly inspired. This is just the kick in the pants I need to do another cooking day. I admit, I secretly love long days of cooking. Thanks so much!

  33. So impressed! Just reserved a copy of Don’t Panic Dinner’s in the Freezer. Thanks for the inspiration!

  34. Would you mind sharing a recipe? I was curious what your recipe for the bourbon brown sugar pork chops are? They sound so good and I can’t find a recipe for them!

    Thanks for the post! It’s awe inspiring! I have done freezer cooking but not like this!

  35. I am so inspired by your post!! Thank you so much for posting. I just ordered the cookbook you mentioned.

  36. I’m friends with so many families that have 4 or more children and since I only have two, I never join in on their freezer cooking days. This has motivated me to do my own one afternoon (or morning since it is so hot here!). Thanks!

  37. OMG, I am so thankful to have found this post! I have been trying to think of things to make and freeze for when I give birth in a few months. Because I dang well know I am NOT going to want to cook anything! I also bought the book you used! So excited! Thanks so much!

  38. Wow – awesome post!!

    Your entry was the #1 most clicked project this week in the Weekend Wrap Up Project :)

    I featured you on my TT&J facebook page too!

    xoxo
    Jen

  39. I’m a lot jealous of the meat deals you got! Great freezer cooking inspiration!

  40. Wow you live right by me…I am close to chocolate world too. Going to have to ask my local store when they do meat markdowns…I have never found anything remotly like that!

  41. Oh this is awesome!! I need to do this. Thanks for sharing!

  42. You. Are. Amazing!

    Incredible!

    Ah. This is something that I hope to someday accomplish. Someday. But for now, I’m doing pretty good just doubling meals and freezing one. Well, every now and then at least!

    Ah, who am I kidding. I’m a crappy housewife.

    Thanks for such a great post.

    http://www.mydirtykitchenfloor.blogspot.com

  43. I am new to this whole freezer meal idea. I’ve seen it on a few blogs over the last few weeks! You’ve got me interested! :) Now I want to go cook and bake!

  44. You are a genius!
    I am very sad to have such a small freezer but glad to have read this anyway!

  45. Awesome job Natalie!

    Love your friend from WinLoseorBlog Melissa!

    I’m finally out of school on Wednesday so I can cook again. I miss doing so!

  46. Would you be able to tell us how you broke down the meats, as in what’s in all the little baggies? I’m new to the freezer cooking, so I need extra instruction!

  47. @Tina

    Me, too. They never mark our meat down that low. And this makes it all look so EASY!

  48. You are inspiring me to get some freezer cooking done this week! Thanks!

  49. Anonymous says:

    I have always been told that potatoes don’t freeze well…do your twice baked potatoes taste fresh?
    Great job, i’m impressed!

  50. New follower! Those prices are ridiculously priced, that is awesome! Not very often that I find deals like that. Great job! The meals sound delicious!

  51. This is so wonderful!!! Thank you so much for sharing!!!! I printed it out so that I could duplicate:) Have a wonderful week!!

  52. This comment has been removed by the author.

  53. All I can say is you’re amazing! Way to go! This was very inspiring. And the food is so much better for our family than take-out. Thanks for sharing!

  54. This is really amazing! I mean I really can’t say anything else but that’s AMAZING! Geesh, wish and hope that this day will happen for me soon!

  55. I am impressed and inspired! Kudos to you :)

    I’m facing an approximate 10% pay decrease. Our “drive-thru” budget has to be slashed.

    I can see that with a little planning ahead, I can save a ton of time and money with your method. And I love that so many things can be made from one “base” set of ingredients :)

  56. I live in Mechanicsburg, so I was shocked to see you live nearby! :) Great post – I wish I could do this! haha

  57. Found you via MoneySavingMom and loving this post! Also, I’m terribly jealous of the Laura’s meat you got – I’ve never seen it that cheap!

  58. Inspired…impressed…amazed. I really need to try and do this – what great buys and yummy outcomes.

  59. Thanks for sharing! I am motivated to try freezer meals now. Up until reading this post, I always thought, “Yeah, whatever” when I’d hear others talk/write about it.
    And, if I invest the time, maybe my husband will get me that second freezer I’ve been wanting!

  60. Wow! Are those meat buys wonderful! I’ve been Couponing for 4 years and can’t find these deals anywhere in our area! Needless to say – I’ve avoided freezer cooking for my family of 7 because the recipes don’t go far for me, but these look like I could just double and use for my family! Thanks for the motivation!

  61. Please please… post your recipes! I totally want to try freezer cooking

  62. Wow! I have been doing freezer cooking for a bit over 2 years too. It is a tremendous timesaver, but I usually try to make the whole meal out and put it in the freezer, but I’m in such a recipe rut right now, I think I’m going to try this method of just having the meats cooked and ready to go. I think that will help me menu plan around sales too. I do like having fully cooked meals ready to pop in the oven, but flexibility is good too. I’m impressed at the amount you got done in such a small time though. I tend to keep it to one meat at a time. Like this is when I made 26 meals from one turkey: http://saving-myself-silly.blogspot.com/2011/04/freezer-cooking-adventures-in-turkeyor.html. ;)

  63. I am majorly impressed! I have done freezer meals to supply me with food before having each of my kids, but nothing to this caliber. Not only am I impressed by HOW much you made, but the sweet deals you got.

  64. I enjoyed looking at the pictures, especially the finished products – all those bags lined up and labeled! I’m single so I don’t cook a whole lot and I live in Mechanicsburg, so I’m comin’ to your house for dinner! LOL I’m going to pass on this post to my sisters who have families. =)

  65. How WONDERFUL!! Great job!

  66. Oh my goodness! Sooo Impressive and Inspiring! I am motivated now!

  67. This is awesome! My husband and I are using some of these ideas to make some freezer meals right now! Can you post the recipes for the other marinades you do? All these sound delicious!!!

  68. This is a really motivating post. Thank you so much for your tips. I had forgotten about buying meat when it is marked on sale because it is close to its sell by date.

    Following your blog now, so glad I found it on Pinterest :D

  69. That was really inspiring – thanks! Hoping to start a family some time in the next year, so I definately think this is something I should have a go at. Thank you. Anna.

  70. wow! you are incredible! this really motivates me to get going and make me some freezer meals! This is awesome! great job! I am loving your blog!

  71. as a single gal i’ve been starting to make large dishes of stuff to freeze as single portions like my very own ‘frozen dinners’ without all the fancy packaging, $$ or crappy ingredients. never thought of freezing shredded chicken – thanks! another bonus of filling your freezer is that it takes less energy to keep it running/cold when it’s full (& fridge/freezer combos) – funny how fridges run better the less you have in there… unfortunately i found my freezer bags were slipping & sliding out of the freezer whenever i opened the door so i now keep my packages lined up in a cardboard box!

  72. Wow. This is the first time I have been to your blog. I am going to have to go back and check some of your older posts. But thank you for posting your tricks for freezer meals. I was looking for budget friendly meals and here we go! Can’t beat 46 of them! Thanks again, I will be checking out the freezer book as well.

  73. What deals! I need to go to your grocery store:) I’m featuring you as the most viewed link tomorrow at naptimecrafters.blogspot.com!

  74. This is awesome! From a gal who struggles cooking for two, this is perfect. Hubby already ordered the books. Thanks for sharing! :)

  75. Oh my gosh this is incredible, sounds like a lot of work at once but you are so right the payoff will be great when you have quick meals for later on.

  76. WOW! I can’t believe some of the deals you got on your meat. I’m also a fan of freezer meals, but you just gave me a whole bunch of new ideas!

  77. This is AMAZING! It makes me dream of the day we actually have a freezer for such things. Right now I’m lucky to fit a loaf of bread and 2 wks worth of meat. I’m majorly drooling over your bacon deal though. I grew up in Hanover and Kunzler is the BEST, but we can’t find it here in Virginia:(

  78. Wow! You found some KILLER deals on meat! Holy cow I am so jealous!!!

    I occasionally do this…but not like you! You have it down to an art! Wow! I am so impressed!

    I host a weekly Friday link party, I would love for you to link up if you are interested!

    Ashley
    http://www.simplydesigning.blogspot.com

  79. Wow! That is a ton of food! My sister does freezer meals too! They are such a great idea! :)

  80. You are my new hero! I’ve been wanting to stay doing freezer meals! Thank you for the inspiration and a good book to go get! :)

  81. Wow! I’ve always wanted to be organized enough to do something like this but can never get my act together. You should start those group cooking classes & make some extra cash teaching moms to do this!

  82. Michelle says:

    Do you do this with breakfast foods? I would love to use that as a starting point.

  83. I would love for you to link it up to my party that is running now. Any linky goes.

    http://bacontimewiththehungryhypo.blogspot.com/2011/06/any-link-goes-party-running-now-summer.html

    Come strut your stuff.

  84. Okay, you’ve inspired me! I got a similar cookbook last year “Fix, Freeze, Feast” and although the recipes sounded awesome, I hadn’t made anything yet. With the kids home this summer, I’ll need to minimize my time spent in the kitchen for dinner (their witching hour!). I’m going to get on the ball and make a bunch of recipes this week.

    Thanks so much for sharing.

    Laura @ Come Together Kids

  85. Wow, Awesome Post!

    I will try this, following you now on GFC!
    Angela & Angelica
    http://Groovybabyblog.blogspot.com
    http://SimplyAngelicam.blogspot.com

  86. Holy Cow! I don’t think I turtle would do this, more like a hare’s life! This is inspiring. I’d love for you to come link up at DIY Thrifty Thursday @ http://www.thrifty101.blogspot.com
    ~Michelle

  87. DAANNNG girl! I love this! We just got a deep freezer and I have been wanting to start doing freezer meals. Your organization is making me swoon!

    I’m linking this up as one of my favorite things!

    Kaleigh from Lotte Lu and Brother Too

  88. Wow, that is amazing! I need to pay more attention to those meat sales! I’m just starting into freezer cooking and you have inspired me so much! I’m hoping to do a big cooking day like this in August so that most of our meals for the fall semester will be covered. Thanks for letting me know that this IS doable! I’m off now to buy those books you mentioned…everything sounds delish!

  89. Wow, I wish you could come to my house and make all those meals for me :) Awesome post!

  90. Ok, I’m about to request a half day off work tomorrow to go home and stock up my freezer with meals- this is amazing! Thanks so much for sharing your system of pre-made meals. Definitely worth a try!

  91. You are so lucky to have a store that offers those types of deals! I’m totally jealous!

  92. Wow I am so impressed with this. Please come and join our link party: http://fabricbowsandmore.blogspot.com/

  93. Wow! I think about this often, but never do it. This is great motivation (especially with a new baby coming in a few weeks.) CONGRADS! This was the most viewed link at Whatever Goes Wednesday last week. I am highlighting it today. Grab my “featured” button.

  94. Love this!! I am sharing it over at my blog today. You have inspired me :)

  95. Love it! So many ideas! I need to be better at this. Thanks for sharing!

  96. I love is post! I did something similar when I was about 8 months pregnant with my first baby. I figured I’d be too busy (what, with all the cuddling and snuggling there was going to be with the new baby!) to cook, so I made a bunch of casseroles to freeze. the only problem was that the casseroles got old really fast. I will definitely be #1 buying that cookbook and #2 asking my butcher when they mark down their meat!!! thank you so much for the info!

  97. This is awesome. You should consider recycling those ziplocs for next time!!

  98. This is JUST what I needed to see!! I’ve been struggling making dinners for my bf who’s started 12 hr shift work. This is SO AWESOME!

  99. Thank you so much for this! My fiance works 48 hour shifts and over the last several years I’ve become an expert individual portion saver. But life is going to change this summer; he’s going to be in school 70 hours/week yet home pretty much every night and I’m going to be working full time for the first time since we’ve been together. Uncharted territory for us! I was just stressing about the though of spending all that time planning meals every week, then actually cooking them every night, and realistically probably just ending up going out to eat a lot. This is exactly what I needed. Definitely doing this!

  100. Hi there,

    A friend of mine directed me to this blog. Your post here is exactly what I do at home, cooking in batches and freeze them so I can take out reheat and eat when needed. but for me i make my meals perweek.

    love your post and your blog.

  101. Wow, that is intense! I did the same during my last month of pregnancy, but only planned for a month of frozen meals. I remember spending about a week to prepare everything (then again, I only did a little each day), so you making 46+ meals in 4 hours is really impressive. The frozen meals ARE really helpful though! My husband loves that he can just pull something out of the freezer and reheat without having to worry about what to cook for dinner–while taking care of a newborn.

  102. Wow! I just bought the book from Amazon and can’t wait to start! Your follow up post sold me on it. I on,y have two above fridge freezers as well. So, in two days my game plan will be set. Thanks for a great post. BTW, thanks for not posting the recipes. Being an artist i get the need to protect ones creative property. And heck, for 8 bucks…what a deal!

  103. Anonymous says:

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  104. Anonymous says:

    People really can get the meats at a lower cost, if they are willing to eat the ones on special. maybe its not typically what you eat, but you have to remember, as least you will eat.
    My father was a chef, Jewish and German. My mother was a Mountain woman. between the two, i have a respect for all kinds of foods. Now living in the South, i have a deeper respect for beans, rice, and lots of parts of meats i never ate before. Delicious!!

  105. Amazing. I’m floored. Thank you SO much for the link to the cookbook. G-d willing, when things get a little less crazy (we’re moving in a month), I’m totally going to get it!!

  106. This post is great! I’m a very beginner cook and this helps me a lot. I’d love some more of your simple recipes. Thanks for sharing! :)

  107. Really helpful post. I’m not much of a cook, but I’m learning a bit at a time.

    My girlfriend has purchased a deep-freeze, and it’s should be delivered on Thursday. I think we should try some of these principals. I’m cheap, and we both like to eat!

  108. Hi–This is a wonderful post. I read your header about how having your post linked all over the internet was “hard to swallow.” I clicked through from the Kitchn, where Sara Kate gave you full credit. Enjoy the accolades! You’re helping so many of us do a better job in our kitchens. Thank you.

  109. Anonymous says:

    I love your ideas but I am staunchly against those plastic single-use baggies. Have you tried compostable parchment paper to freeze or any other alternative that has worked?

  110. Love your ideas about using the same marinade for different meats. As a five year veteran freezer meal cook, I created a spreadsheet to tabulate all my frequently used recipes and used a pivat table to filter and print.

  111. Found your blog bc my husband found a post about you on Consumerist.com today.

    we have a Weis and Giant nearby, what is the term for the meat when it is priced for a dollar? I’ve never seen that code? Would LOVE to find that deal!

  112. Anonymous says:

    If you want to kick up the teriyaki marinade another notch, use brown sugar instead of white, and add maybe 1 tsp of fresh, finely grated ginger (you can add maybe up to 1 tablespoon, depending upon how much you like ginger). The ginger does need to be finely grated, though (almost pureed — use a microplane if you have one), as biting even into even a tiny chunk of ginger can be nasty.

  113. Anonymous says:

    Also, I’m not sure how well it freezes, but adding chopped green onions to the teriyaki marinade is yummy. If you want to stretch your green onions, use just one onion and slice it very thinly. Even that small amount adds a lot of flavor to a marinade.

  114. These were great tips, and in the spirit of paying it forward, I would like to share mine with you. I found by using a combination of lime, fresh garlic, blended tomatoes and cilantro you can change the flavor composition of most any meat, especially beef. It is very refreshing and when BBQ offers a most delicious flavor! A separate marinate I use is boiling Granny smith apples (to pulp) soaked in vinegar with cloves and brown sugar also gives shredded pork a deliciously tart finish (can cook all above in crock pot to break down and freeze as well). Makes great pulled pork sandwiches, compliment with egg noodles. To entertain, I toast rye bread, cut to quarters and serve amid toasted pieces. I also grab bacon on sale, cook for the sole purpose of an ingredient in my frozen meals. I’m always on the prowl to change up the flavors and eliminate the sameness out of my frozen offerings. Thanks for sharing your blog with us!

  115. enjoy the visits to your blog! you are a genius…4 hours and 46 meals. wow. you have got me pumped to cook and stock my freezer.

  116. Anonymous says:

    Anything vegetarian?

  117. Charlene says:

    You are just one cooking machine!!
    I envy your spirit and culinary delights! You GO GIRL!! You’ve given many great ideas, so THANK YOU!!

  118. Thanks for sharing! Some really good ideas for saving time and money on food.

  119. Anonymous says:

    I found your blog on wallet pop.. Great writing and great ideas. Even if we don’t find deals as amazing as yours, if we shop our grocery stores sales and then menu and precook or do all the tough work we can save quite a bit too. My mom fed six of us and worked full time and went to school using systems like this. Thanks for spreading the word.

  120. Anonymous says:

    I’ve been freezing soups, chili, pot-pis filling and uncannable vegetables for a while, but I never thought of dinner prep in this simple way! I love it! We pick up fast-food so often b/c no one feels like cooking! Think of all the money I could save… Thanks for the tips!!

  121. You are my hero! As a young married in school and working two jobs, my husband and I are constantly trying to cut back our prep time when we get home late, tired, and needing to work on papers. Thanks for all these tips and ideas. I am so excited to put some of these into practice.
    -Tiffany

  122. Thank you very much for all this fantastic information and taking the time to write it all down for others. I found you through your friend’s website who posted a link on remodelaholic (thecellardoorstories) I hope you don’t mind if I pin your article on Pinterest but I will include your website in comments section. Thanks again!

  123. HeatherV says:

    MAN! You weren’t kidding. This has gone viral. I have never seen a pin repinned so many times on pinterest! This morning every. single. person has repinned this post. FYI – I used several of your recipes on Sunday and froze the meals. So far, so good. Thanks for the good info.

  124. Thank you for sharing this!!!

  125. Just linked over to this from Pinterest and had to say hi! Looking at all of your deals made me smile – we wust live close to one another because I find the exact same meat deals at the same store and LOVE them! I’ve stopped paying full price for any meat in either of those stores now that I know the kind of deals I can get!! Thanks for such a great post – definitely going to be doing this soon:)

  126. @AnonymousNot sure where you get the idea that I’m pissed about it being re-pinned on Pinterest?? I don’t recall every mentioning that or even making a reference to it, but thanks for jumping to conclusions. I was never pissed about anything. I was caught off-guard by how many other sites picked up the full article and published it with their commentary (sometimes not complementary AT ALL, they just seemed to run it for the purpose of trashing me), without me having any knowledge of it. I’m thrilled with Pinterest and have never said anything otherwise.

  127. Anonymous says:

    I think it’s incredible that you seem a little pissed that this post has been re-pinned all over Pinterest. Uhh.. I’m guessing your blog didn’t get ANYWHERE near this much traffic previously. Live it up- this is your 15 minutes of fame!

  128. This is awesome! I’m buying the book right now and telling all of my friends! Thanks for taking the time to explain how you’ve done this!
    -Sarah from Create Studio
    http://www.createstudio.blogspot.com

  129. Great post! The mister and I aren’t this hardcore but often when we cook there’s too much for just the two of us so we’ll freeze the leftovers into dinners and work lunches. We do this mostly with soups and spag. sauce. Your frozen meals have way more variety!

  130. This is fantastic and inspiring! I should really reorganize my freezer and start doing this.

  131. Just came here from a Pinterest link. Love everything you did here. Thanks so much and my family will really thank you.

  132. This is amazing! I have been doing this for years. It makes a busy mom’s life so much easier. And the deals you get are great! I have a facebook page that might help you with your deals and many more … Search “Shopping With Pennies” on facebook!

  133. Anonymous says:

    HI,
    congrats on your idea but I have a couple of questions. Here you only show examples of meat dishes. Do you have sugestions for fish or vegetarian dishes. Also, according to what you show your basic vegetables are potatoes, onions and carrots. Do you cook with other vegetables, if so can you give some ideas?
    Many thanks and keep up yhe amazing job!!

  134. @AnonymousHi Anon.!! I’d love to reply to you directly, but you don’t have your email enabled so hopefully you come back and get to see this reply! The reason I show mostly meat dishes is because that’s what freezes the best! I’m pretty sure I mentioned that I do freeze tuna steaks and shrimp (especially with the teriyaki merinade), but I’ll go back and double-check to be sure I included that. I also freeze salmon with a brown sugar/bourbon marinade. I don’t usually freeze and marinate fish like tilapia, because that doesn’t usually seem to absorb too much of the marinade anyways, and I usually end up just doing a dry rub. The only thing to keep in mind is you do NOT want to buy frozen fish, add a marinade and then re-freeze it. You always want to buy fresh fish, add your marinade and then freeze it (so it’s only getting frozen once).

    As far as the vegetables… the ideas in this post are just meal starters. I cook the meat with the onions, peppers & carrots because it freezes beautifully. When I pull the meat out and cook it for dinner, I always add a vegetable. So if we grill chicken breasts for dinner, I’ll add a salad. Or broccoli or corn on the cob. Just a normal meal, but the fact that the main dish is ready to go just makes it so much easier! You could also use the bags of ground beef and make stuffed green peppers to add an extra vegetable (although you did already cook with that one!).

    Hopefully that answered some of your questions!

  135. WOW!!!! I’m so impressed. I saw all the Giant and Weis groceries and figured you must live in my neck of the woods and then I saw Hershey! I live in Carlisle – maybe I can come over and borrow some of your freezer food?!?! ;) Seriously though, I’d love to get motivated enough to do this some weekend. I’ll be back! :)

  136. You.are.a.genius.

  137. I clicked over from Pinterest too and man, do I wish there was an organic/sustainable version of this for me to use. I do not shop for meat this way and I could never get my meat for these prices. It’s okay with me though to spend more and know where my meat came from.

    Also all the plastic bags make me cringe because of this: “He plops it on the grill, throws the bag away and dinner is served with no mess to clean up afterwards!” I’m all for convenience but there is a mess to clean up afterwards, it’s our earth.

    I love that you are organized and preparing home cooked meals for your family! I’m not trying to be overly critical. This is awesome and way better than eating out or eating fast food obviously on busy nights. Like I said at the beginning, I just wish there was a version of this for people like me who choose to buy organically and sustainable meats. I know I can adapt this to my ingredients but I’d need a bigger freezer to house glass containers for one thing.

    Thank you for inspiring people! I hope you don’t take my comments to be a criticism, I am simply piping up in case there are others like me out there reading. =)

  138. Great tips!

    I featured you on my round-up post.

    http://charlottelaughs.blogspot.com/2011/07/another-round-up-july-edition.html

    Thanks!

  139. I love how you liked all your baggies up and took a picture. I also read how you can not share all the recipes since most are from published books. Admirable. I’m wondering could you list all the names of the dishes packed in this picture?

  140. Wow, thanks for all that info & the tips! You must live in the same area as me–I noticed “Weis” & “Giant” & “Kunzler” brand in your photos! I can’t wait to try making meals ahead of time. :)

  141. Awesome! Thank you for doing all the footwork and letting us reap the reward! I only have one freezer so I think I’m starting with the twice baked bakers!! I have a 5lb bag in the pantry ready to use!! If you don’t mind I will share this on my Coffee.Clean.Cupcake. page on FB!! If you feeling like dropping by, I’m at http://www.CoffeeCleanCupcake.blogspot.com
    Tootles, TJ

  142. I am in awe! Do you have a deep freezer to store all of these in? We live in a (small) apartment and just have a regular sized fridge with freezer… just trying to figure out how much I should freeze.

  143. Awesome work, I’d love for you to post a recipe link on my freezer cooking site, http://www.momonamission.me next week! thankx

  144. FANTASTIC, ty

  145. Nicole B says:

    I read your blog and was inspired! I ordered the books from Amazon and they just got here! I can’t wait to get cooking. I’m the mother of 2 and I find it really hard to get dinner on the table at a decent time because my husband doesn’t come home until 6:30 and by that time the kids want someone’s full attention. This will be a huge help! Thanks for you inspiration!

  146. I am new to blogging and I wrote up a post inspired by yours! I freezer cook alot like you do. I added a link here, I hope that is okay? Not that I get a lot of views, but my friends will read it:D

  147. I started couponing almost 3 years ago and I worked on doing freezer meals but not nearly as well as you do them. In the past I would cut up the chicken and freeze it when it was on sale but I saw a post that said to marinate before. I have been doing that everytime it has been at rock bottom prices. I never thought of cooking and freezing the shredded chicken. I always freeze the huge package and take it out and cook them (which I am doing right now) and plan a few meals around them like buffalo chicken slidders and chicken enchiladas. I am totally doing that next time there is a great sale. I have never thought about doing anything with potatoes so I will add those to my list too!! I saw another blog that did it for baked goods where all of the dry ingredients are mixed and the bag says all of the liquid ingredients and cooking time. I think that is the next thing that I am going to add to my to do list. Thanks for all the frugal tips. I might have to put the cookbook on my christmas wish list :)

  148. Wow–lots of great stuff here! I’m always looking for new tips on freezer cooking. Glad I found your blog (via $5 Dinners BTW). Thanks!

  149. Anonymous says:

    I must say thank you. I’ve come here from hyperlink at Techdirt, through indirectly linked site at consumerist. Once seeing this blog, I’ve bookmarked the page and will be back.

    I’m retired, or I guess you could say early layoff that means in this day and age a permanent no hire ever again for work. Times aren’t better and aren’t likely to get that way. So saving to get by is the theme of the day, everyday.

    Who doesn’t like food? I’ve long ago learned the value of a freezer and we stock it full. That means one trip to the grocery store every 4 months or so, barring fresh produce.

    I will certainly be trying out your methods as it looks both interesting and right up my alley.

    Again, my appreciation in text form!

  150. Today I spent dicing, chopping and cooking for our family. I did it on a much smaller scale than you’ve given as an example, but I’m still very excited. I think the next 2 weeks are going to be so much easier because of the time I put in today. Thank you for your post as it inspired me to try out prepping all in one day.

  151. I would love to do freezer cooking, but almost everything I find is meat or pasta! My whole family is vegetarian, and there is only so much pasta you can eat before you can’t stand it. Have you come across and vegetarian freezer meal cook-books? I’ve looked and have not had luck.

  152. Just got a new freezer for our garage- I’m so excited to give this a try!

  153. Hello! I same to this post via pinterest. I have been trying to get into freezing for quite some time but have never quite known where I should start. Thanks for breaking things down! I have one question. How do you know how long it is safe to keep things in the freezer? Do you have a guide you can refer me to? Thanks!

  154. @Jessica Nichols

    If using plastic bags are a concern, could you not use foil and recycle?

    Love this!

  155. Found you via Pinterest and I’m so glad I did! I’m mid chopping onions and carrots right now and wanted to take a quick break to say THANK YOU so much for the inspiration :)Alright, I gotta get back to chopping and freezing ;)

  156. I love my “Don’t Panic” cookbook too! Another amazing freezer meal cookbook I have is called “Fix, Freeze, Feast”…it uses Costco sized amounts of food. For example, what to do with a 5 lb. tray of pork loin…or making make ahead red sauce using the Costco sized cans of tomato sauce. It’s been a perfect cookbook for my family :o).

  157. I also found you via Pintrest, and I am hooked! I have made a few rounds of freezer meals, but not to this extent! I’ve been making my son’s baby food, and it’s so rewarding to have good “organic” food to give him! I am excited to utilize your methods for adult food :) Thanks so much for this post!

  158. This is amazing! I can’t believe the deals that you got on meat…I never would have thought to ask the butcher what day the meat is marked down…that is an awesome idea! I wonder if our Kroger ever sells meat for prices like that…

  159. Very, very impressive!!

  160. This is inspiring! I think I know what I’ll be doing this Sunday afternoon. Thanks for posting!

  161. LOVE that cookbook too! The chicken noodle soup is our favorite. You’ve inspired me to break it out and plan ahead. Thanks!! Time to get freezing….

  162. wow

  163. oh!Very nice blog creation of the food i like this blog….
    Book of Ra

  164. oh!Very nice blog creation of the food i like this blog….
    Book of Ra

  165. Anonymous says:

    Just a note on the firewood analogy. The way I understand the putting away of firewood is that it gets put away in the early spring so that it is seasoned for fall when it needs to be burnt. It warms you as you put it away and as you burn it.

  166. Wow! Those prices are crazy! Where were you shopping??

  167. OMG!!! Love this! I have been freezing soups & cassaroles for a long time now, but it is nothing like this. I wonder if the idea you gave about how to freeze the meatloaf would work for casseroles too. It would definitely be nice to have my casserole dishes out to use more often. I am definitely buying that book!

  168. Wow what an effort. 4hrs – 46 meals! Amazing job! Great Blog you have here. looking forward to coming back again.

  169. Hey! I have a question… I’m definitely gonna try this for next month (because I already bought food)
    anyways
    have you tried freezing rice? I need to freeze the sides too, yo know? like maybe ummm mashed potatoes? pasta? what do you think? thanks!!

  170. @Gaby GodoyHi Gaby! I’ve never personally tried freezing rice or mashed potatoes but both of those are recipes in the books I posted, so I’m sure it’s doable! Maybe I should try it sometime… or do a post on freezable side dishes?? Hope it works for you!

  171. Thanks for the ideas…ive been freezing soups and casseroles and been wanting to freeze other things tomake life easier for our family of 6…having 4 kids EVERY minute of my time os occupied and i am always looking to simplify things so that we can have more family time. ordered both books today

  172. I didn’t read all the comments, so don’t know if anyone mentioned it: Instead of cooking up chickens, you can save a lot of money by roasting a turkey and using it in the same way…especially with turkeys on sale this time of year. Don’t bother with stuffing…just roast it. When it cools, you can slice, shred, cube, and make a huge pot of broth…AND your house will smell like a holiday!

  173. I’m curious as to how healthy these meals are; they seem to all be centered around meat, starch, and carbs (with a few veggies here and there)… I’m not a vegan, I am an omnivore but I only eat meat a couple of times a week because too much is not actually that good for you (especially red meat). I think your freeze-ahead idea would be more interesting if the meals included more vegetables or vegetable-centered recipes and ideas.

  174. @Jessica Nichols I’m “like you” in that I buy grass-fed beef and pastured chickens, but I’m not like you in that I guess I have some common sense and the ability to adapt ideas to my situation.

    Obviously you won’t be making 90 meals for 45 dollars or whatever, if you’re buying grass-fed beef. Like you said, you’re okay with it. I am too. Buy your beef directly from the rancher, and you will get a GREAT deal. Not $1 a pound, but $3-5 a pound which is great compared to “Whole Foods” prices for grass-fed.

    Find a farmer who raises chickens the way you like, and put in an order when they’re buying chicks… soon you’ll have 10 frozen “perfect” birds in your freezer. You can butcher them into pieces to marinate or cook them whole to shred.

    If I said something like “Gosh, I wish you had a cooked ground beef for people who don’t like onions.” You’d say, “well leave out the onions then,” right?

    If you don’t like plastic, don’t use plastic. If you want glass and need a bigger freezer, get glass and a bigger freezer. I don’t understand why you need a blogger to do EXACTLY what you want in order to be happy with the post.

    I hope you don’t take my reply to you to be a criticism. I’m simply piping up in case there are others like me out there reading. =)

  175. I just have to tell you that after reading this, I am convinced you are a Saint!! To do all of this in such a short amount of time AND save so much money is just CRAZY!! Thanks for the tips!!!

  176. i love how you figured out how to get such great deals on meat!!! we raise our own animals here so i dont get to figure out those deals but i know that i dont have to read the ingrediants on the meat and spend hours researching comanies to make sure i dont help a company who polutes or mistreates animals. also just learned that tyson chicken if being sued for polutants, animal abuse and feeds their birds arsinic in their feed!

  177. I found a link to this entry on Pinterest, and I am so glad I did!! I want to attempt some batch cooking/freezer meals but had no idea where to start. You have just given me the motivation I was looking for. Thank you!!

  178. Also found this in Pinterest. Excellent ideas!

  179. Crisna Well says:

    Hey, I had been searching on this topic for a long while but I was not able to find great resources like that. Now I feel very confidence by your tips about that, I think you have choosen a great way to write some info on this topic. Regards,

  180. … soo gonna need a deep freezer!

  181. I’m a wedding photographer and a full time mom. This is a life saver. Thanks for the book recommendation; I love new cookbooks.

  182. what kind of bone in chicken did you use? i really want that shredded chicken, yum yum!!!

  183. Hi, I been visiting your blog since a few months ago. Nice food you have been having. I have a food blog too. Come visit! ;) food solutions, disaster food aid

  184. I just learned a trick for shredding chicken: while it’s still hot, cut the skinless, boneless cooked chicken breasts in half or thirds and toss in to the Kitchenaid mixer with the white cookie dough paddle and “beat” on low for instant shredded meat. I would guess this would work for pork as well. Great post!

  185. Anonymous says:

    hoop hoop, go girl

  186. WOW! I just ordered BOTH books! I hope to be like you when I grow up…LOL. (You’re probably at least 10 years younger). I’m going to definetely try this! My stress meter would never see red again during dinner time!! Thanks for the inspiration.

    ~W in NC

  187. WOW! I just ordered BOTH books! I hope to be like you when I grow up…LOL. (You’re probably at least 10 years younger). I’m going to definetely try this! My stress meter would never see red again during dinner time!! Thanks for the inspiration.

    ~W in NC

  188. Came across this on Pinterst. I was surprised to see the Weis and Giant logos on your food bags when I started reading! I suppose I should realize that other people in Central PA blog, but surprised all the same! Thanks for the post!

  189. Comfortable Ugg Bailey Button Triplet Boots Period, so the next letter I received further consideration. Fruit not yet ripe, do not pick! Fourteen days or so can cheap ugg boots for kids Bit. I am standing! – I do not blame myself, because I have the courage to die. – If I really … I now sit cheap uggs for kids

  190. Holy crap, your awesome!

  191. This is part of the reason I got into making frozen meals and shipping them. You should apply the same ideas, even if you just did some sort of local thing with others on the block or office. A ton of people want something that is good for them, and ready.

  192. I want your supermarket. I get ill going grocery shopping! Those sales were insane.
    Great Job, Love the ideas:)

  193. Do you have a listing of what you do for winter months? I live in TN and I am a school teacher. My husband works midnights and when I get home he gets up and I’m tired and neither one really wants to cook and I know it would be awesome to have these meals handy. What are some great ideas for winter since that is what I’m in the middle of now?

  194. These are WONDERFUL suggestions…can’t wait to start utilizing some…well MOST of your freezer suggestions!!!!! I have never been one for most freezer meals as we change our tastes …but to have bags of the ground beef mixture or the shredded chicken or the chopped veggies…etc, that I can just quickly thaw and make something easy out of…I LOVE IT!!!!!! Oh…and may I pass on a freezer suggestion on to you. My Mom always did this when I was growing up and I do it also. After we eat a meal…we take the leftovers (if there is not enough for another meal) and dump them in a freezer container. Veggies, meats, broth, mashed potatoes, rice…whatever. Then when it is full, we dump it into a pot…add some broth,or water or a can of diced tomatoes or whatever is needed to round it out and we have soup for supper!!!!
    Merry Christmas!!!
    Shelley

  195. Carol from TN says:

    I notice that most of the replys are from young mothers. I just wanted to say that I am a senior citizen and this would be great. You never know, at my age what might come up. I had breast cancer and if I had these meals in the freezer it would have been a blessing. Also, what a nice thing to do is take a couple of these meals to shut-ins. Thanks for the idea.

  196. THANK YOU SO MUCH!

  197. I hope you’re getting some commission from the Don’t Panic people….my books just arrived. Thank you for the great ideas. I used to freezer cook when I was teaching full-time. I’m back to work so I needed some motivation to freezer cook again. Thank you! And I love your dress up idea…too cute! I’m going to try to find a way to adapt with something around the house.

  198. This is awesome! I found you through pinterest. I am a mom of 2, full time student and a wife to a retail manager with crazy hours. Freezer meals are perfect with us trying to cut down on eating out and with our hectic schedules! Thank you for sharing! I know I’ll be using a lot of your ideas!

  199. Thanks so much, I found you through pinterest too! Your freezer meals totally inspired me, so I’ve ordered the book you reccommended and got my shopping day planned. Not sure if I’ll find the same AMAZING deals as you (I’m in Northern Canada and groceries are a bit more expensive…), but I’m on the look out for coupons, flyer deals, and discount days! Thanks again for all your organization, and for sharing about it!

  200. Anonymous says:

    These ideas are fantastic! What a great way to kick off a new year…2012..the year for saving money and being organized! I found you on pinterest, as well! Thank you so much for sharing!

  201. Hi,
    Loved how you broke it down and you inspired me. I got the book and i really am going to give this a go. I have always wanted to do this but felt i could only make a few meals at a time but you showed me how to make a ton.

    I do have a question under your favorites
    you wrote this…

    “If I’m making casseroles or meatloaf, I line the pan with plastic wrap and then fill the pan. Put the whole thing in the freezer and once it’s frozen solid, pop the plastic wrapped food out of the pan, put it in a freezer bag and now you still have your pan to use in the meantime. Just remember, when it’s time to use it, take the plastic wrap off while it’s still a frozen block and put it back in the pan to thaw!”

    I am not understanding what you are doing here and what the purpose is.(completely missed what you were explaining).can you explain what you are doing in this paragraph and how it is related to casseroles (which i love ) and meatloaf.

    thanks so much..

    Tanya

  202. This comment has been removed by the author.

  203. This comment has been removed by the author.

  204. think i got the wrong book because mine is called “More – don’t panic, dinners in the freezer” but i’m sure it gives me some good information any way..as i couldnt’ put it down last night. I will look and hopefully get the older one to :) I am currently in the midst of cooking your first item on top (as we speak) the beef, peppers, onions and shredded carrots..smells great in the house..i will be bagging and freezing shortly i’m sure. thanks for inspiring me, the difference between you adn all the other stuff i have read..you walked me through the those 4 hours and made it simple. and with 3 boys i need that.
    I do have a question ..i bought a cottage roll today (think its beef) anyway,,looks like a picnic roast. it was 30% off and i want to make something with it to freeze..any thoughts. i dont’ see this item in any of the books recipes..thanks

    oh and I could not find Mirin anywhere :( i went to two grocery stores and even asked the employees..saying ti was a rice cooking wine..but i could not find it..

    any suggestions? i live in canada

  205. What store do you shop for your meat?

  206. Made the taco meat today..and before freezing i put some in cresent rolls in the shape of a square added cheese and thats what we had for supper:) and i’m currently cooking a pork for pulled pork :) i’m doing it..i’m really doing it!! i think i need that other book though. i got the second one and i want the first one to !!

  207. Anonymous says:

    Curious about the meat prices. Did you buy them all on the day they expired or even just a couple of days left?

    I’m single and my problem is sometimes I defrost food and b/c of work or change of plans it may be “defrosting in my fridge for 1-3 days. So, if there’s only 0-3 days left before the meat expires I fell like I’m venturing into “danger-zone” territory.

    Excellent deals though!!!

  208. Anonymous says:

    Another good idea for the green pepper ground beef mixture is adding whole wheat pasta shells/macaroni and canned tomatoes for a chili mac version. I’ve been wanting to do that and the taco mixture for some time.
    You have inspired me to get cooking!!!

    Seriously, I don’t want to spend more than 15-20 minutes cooking dinner, otherwise it becomes your whole evening with no time for exercise and the 3-4 hours of other stuff you need to do in an evening.

    Love your blog!!

  209. @AnonymousHi anon, I did talk more about the meat prices in my follow-up to this post here http://www.aturtleslifeforme.com/2011/06/update-to-freezer-cooking.html

    Hopefully that helps you!

  210. @Tanya AKA Little BitHi Tanya! That sounds like a fantastic meal that my whole family would love! I might have to try it soon! I’m really hoping you’re getting all the messages I’ve been leaving you b/c I don’t want you tto think I’m not replying! I sent you a long email the other day and commented on your blog too!

  211. @LesleyLesley, I just shop at our local grocery stores, Weis and Giant. I don’t always find deals like this, but can usually stumble on something once a week or so.

  212. I love this! I would like to think that I am organized, but with two kids, I’d say I am just shy of being a hot mess. lol. This would be so great if I could pull it off. I do like to cook, but sometimes I’m just not in the mood. Plus, I have a little one who does not like to be separated. Thanks so much!

  213. This is so well worded and full of fantastic ideas. I have read quite a bit on freezer cooking, but this post is not intimidating or overwhelming. I am ready to start freezing something tonight. Thank you!

  214. Robyn Kuiper says:

    Got a question…I saw your post on Pinterest and decided to do some weekend cooking. I went to Sams and got two large containers of chicken legs and thighs. I used a couple of the marinades (from the cookbooks you suggested) and cut and trimmed the chicken, threw it in freezer bags with the marinades and back into the freezer they went. I got to thinking about the fact that the meat I bought was most likely frozen (there was some icy parts on some of the pieces). The bags sat out on my counter for maybe 15 minutes or so before going back in the freezer. So…should I be worried about eating the refrozen? I sure don’t want to make my family sick? What is your system when it comes to buying frozen meats? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks for the inspiration to get my family eating better meals again.

  215. I just found your blog through a pinned picture on Pinterest. I am impressed, jealous, and inspired. It’s time for me to go grocery shopping and I’ve been wanting to be better about having meals ready. My husband and I go work out in the evenings after he gets home from work, and if I don’t have something ready before we leave, it’s too easy to resort to sandwiches or other, less healthy convenient foods. This would be a great al ternative. Thank you so much for all the time and effort you out into getting this post ready.

  216. I always read these types of things and want to do it but can never actually get to doing it or keeping up with it. One I think I could stick to is the twice baked potatoes! Your the bomb.

  217. Wow great ideas! thanks!

  218. Anonymous says:

    You rock!! You have inspired me to get moving on making my own life easier. Thanks!

  219. April N. Ohio says:

    As soon as I was done reading your Blog, I order the book, “Don’t Panic, Dinner’s in the Freezer”. I love it! I am so ready to do this! Thanks for taking the time to share :)

  220. Anonymous says:

    How do you finely chop your onions? I HATE chopping onions!

  221. I think the thing i like the most besides the obvious things is the fact that you have a normal freezer section.

  222. Anonymous says:

    Great way to promote your amazon affiliate program, don’t publish the recipe’s publish the link so you get commission from the sales…..

  223. I too found you on Pinterest. I made my first batch of freezer meals this weekend. I’m a lot slower than you are but I made over 20 meals this weekend and I’m so excited to start doing this more regularly. Thank you for your tips and suggestions.

  224. Anonymous says:

    Very inspiring for all the busy moms out there who still take time to cook for their family. I have one important question though, do i need a big freezer to store these foods?

  225. Anonymous says:

    Very inspiring for all the busy moms out there who still take time to cook for their family. I have one important question though, do i need a big freezer to store these foods?

  226. Stumbled across your blog via Pinterest (new addiction for me). It’s great to see someone’s first-hand account of freezer meals using the “Don’t Panic” cookbook. I bought the book for ME (as a single 30-something) and never used it. Now that I’m married and have a 17yr old stepson, I need to dust it off and get busy. After five months of marriage, I think I have “family” cooking sort of figured out…as long as I have a plan. Otherwise, I WILL panic. LOL

  227. Thank you for the great ideas! :) I now follow you on Pinterest.

  228. I appreciate the write and the real insight of the writer on the subject. well done

  229. Thank you so much for this post!! I’ve tried for years to figure out how to save potatoes… never thought of twice-baked!! Awesome!!
    One question I do have tho, how long do these stay good in your freezer? Should I worry about things expiring before I get a chance to use them?

  230. Leah URHere says:

    Thank you for a great blog!

    Based on your recommendation, I just bought both of the books and am looking forward to many great meals.

  231. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the motivation! Found this on Pinterest…
    I ordered the books and am VERY eager to begin! We buy our meat in bulk, separate it & freeze. This is going to be a tremendous time saver! Hats off to you and thanks for sharing!!!

  232. Have you tried shredding chicken in a kitchen aide I read this tip & am planning on using it next week when I cook up my chicken to freeze. Mom of 7 who has bulk cooked since 1993 when I worked full time before kids.

  233. Have you tried shredding chicken in a kitchen aide I read this tip & am planning on using it next week when I cook up my chicken to freeze. Mom of 7 who has bulk cooked since 1993 when I worked full time before kids.

  234. Awww…I miss WEIS and GIANT…You must be in PA…I MISS PA…

    anyway, enough cryng (lol) you have some very awesome ideas and this is a GREAT IDEA! I have a family of 6 (including me) and these tricks will come in handy this week and next week especially! THANK YOU FOR SHARING YOUR TIPS!

  235. All I can say is greatness! I am so going to do this. Planning and prepping is always the hardest part for me…. always a day late and dollar short. Hoping this makes my life so much easier.

  236. Great job!
    QUESTION: how long does the food last for? What do u put as your Expiration dates?
    Thanks- Marybeth

  237. I love this..love it love it!! thank you so much.

  238. Really appreciate your organizational skills – I use to do something similar in my single years – need to get back at it again. So glad to have found you on Pinterest!! Lori

  239. All I need now is a shopping list and step by step instructions!!!

  240. I don’t know that I’ll start doing this anytime soon since we are getting ready to move, but I will definitely give this a try once we get back to the states!

  241. Is it best to wait until the meat is completely cool before you put it in ziplocks and put it in the freezer?

  242. where do you shop at?

  243. A little tip I do, it may be useful for you too… Rather than freeze things in many baggies, I fill up muffin cups. Freeze the items that way, THEN put many of them into a baggie. You can fit many small servings into one bag this way, and save yourself some baggies in the process. (Perfect for single servings of sloppy joes!)

    Also, I have no chest freezer, so space in my freezer is VERY limited. I fixed this by cutting the top 1/3 off of several plastic cat litter jugs. Clean them inside and out, and you can then label the jugs, and fit WAY more in a basic fridge/freezer.

  244. Just found this blog on Pinterest. Thank you for posting that you only do this about 3 times a year! I have avoided the freezer meal thing, because I knew there was no way I could do this on a monthly basis. But…I’m pretty sure I could do this 2 or 3 times a year. Thank you!!!

  245. I love this. Such a great idea. I am a crockpot kind of gal and am going to adapt some of these to include. Plus, I’m going to buy the book. P.S. I love “crumpled” bacon, it made me chuckle!! Take care!!!

  246. Well done! The only thing that keeps me from doing this in such large quantities is I worry about all the plastic waste, but I’ve yet to find a good alternative :/

  247. awesome! but I about croaked when you were preparing the chicken stock and said to “throw away the veggies”. AAAHHHH! we throw away NOTHING in our house. if they can be frozen..freeze them and use them in a casserole, maybe? :) Just my own little thought. :) I love your recipes..and defiantely will be trying for myself and the hubby! :)

  248. I just found this blog post on pinterest and I am 7 weeks away from having my 4th child. I am going to be buying these books and doing a Saturday of cooking in the next 3 to 4 weeks so I and my husband have t. Lot easier for the weeks following my delivery. Thanks for the great post!

  249. Anonymous says:

    @Natalie Dixon – Thanks for some great ideas, tips and inspiring photos. I have a lot of food sensitivities, so I can’t eat many commercially-processed foods or convenience foods. Looking forward to trying freezer cooking on a ‘large’ scale. @Jessica Nichols, @Emily- thanks for your ‘organic’ comments- Can you suggest/ have you tried any inexpensive, environmentally-friendly alternatives to plastic zipper bags? I use mostly Pyrex glass containers for fridge storage but don’t have enough and haven’t tried them for freezer use. Any idea, how these meals hold up in plastic storage containers? Thanks.

  250. Great meals and ideas, thanks so much for taking the time to share, my girlfriends and I were recently talking about spending a day together, cooking up a bunch of freezer meals and swapping with each other- with work, sports for the kiddos, and just day to day busyness- these will be super handy and great for those days when I don’t have the time or energy to put into dinner- instead of ordering out. Thanks again!

  251. Coquetta says:

    Thanks for this post!

    I find it a challenge to bring a meal together, everything warm and nothing over-cooked. It is the timing of the different parts–meat, vegetables, and bread that is hard for me to think through. Your post made the timing so understandable! I’ve frozen large amounts of our favorite chili, ground beef, casseroles, etc on the days I was making it for supper. But to do different meals in the same day with two children looked completely impossible until 10 minutes ago!

    Thank you so much for sharing what you do and for taking the pictures–they make it come alive!

    I think I CAN do this! My husband is going to be so happy with me!

    Thanks so much!!!

  252. Wow! I may actually try this this summer! Wsh I could find some great meat sales like you did!

  253. I CANNOT believe those meat prices!!! So jealous right now! I did my own cooking day. Going to reference your blog next time I do. You can see my cooking day post here
    http://craftsbycj.blogspot.com/2012/05/cook-thon.html

    Your newest follower
    CJ

  254. Anonymous says:

    I was wondering how you thaw the meals? Do you have to plan what you are eating in order to allow for enough time for everything to thaw?
    Thanks,
    Britney

  255. Thank you so much for this idea! I have lupus nephritis and struggle with energy and extreme fatigue/pain. A lot of time I’m just too tired to cook anymore and settle for a little salad.
    Today I had some energy so I took your suggestion and cooked for 4 hours. I made tons of things for the next week—and whatever i don’t use, I’ll freeze for my “lupie days”
    I’m going to feature you on my Lupus for Newbies blog when I get a chance because it really is a great idea for people that struggle with chronic illnesses & autoimmune diseases

  256. I would love to know where you do your shopping! Such great deals and prices! I love this idea and it inspires me to do the same especially when we are close to the end of the month. I never know what to cook by then. This seems easy and I love the idea! Thank You!

  257. Any vegetarian freezer meals?

  258. Anonymous says:

    This is an awesome idea! I saw this on Pinterest and I was wondering if you have a grocery list or a menu plan? Thanks so much for sharing this!

  259. Susan L. says:

    @Joan I was thinking that, but also maybe saving the plastic baggies (after thoroughly washing them), splitting them open, and using them as “garden cover” (or weed-be-gone). The roll of weed cover is expensive, and we’ve found that newspapers do not work. I’m all for repurposing on this.

  260. Anonymous says:

    Middle of 2012 and u are still making a difference. & with pinterest we can come right back to u to give u your props. Thank u so much for the ideas, inspiration and the info on the book.

  261. I’ve seen a lot about freezer meals like this. My biggest problem is I have a side-by-side freezer and it doesn’t have room for all this stuff! I suppose I could do like 2 weeks at a time…but the thought of marathon cooking every 2 weeks kinda bugs me. lol

  262. I just want to tell you THANK YOU! I found your site through Pinterest and it is a lifesaver! I don’t know why people gave you a hard time about precooking meat – it has helped me a ton. My husband loves to cook but I can’t get him to include the veggies our kids need. During the school year (I am a teacher) I don’t have the time to cook from scratch – your ideas have helped me save time, money, and get the veggies my girls need. Thank you!

  263. Thank you thank you for sharing!

  264. You mentioned meal starters?? Do you have any examples or recipes? Are they also in the “Don’t Panic – Dinner’s in the Freezer” Cookbook?

  265. I just wanted to let you know that I love this post and I have purchased the book you mentioned. I’m preparing for a summer of being a “single” working, mom who is going to school part time, while my hubby works out of town during the week. I’m hopeful that hours in the kitchen today or tomorrow will bring a summer full of appreciation for it! Thank you for your wisdom :)

  266. YOU are AMAZING. Thank you so much for sharing these tips. I am totally going to try this. My hubby bought me a HUGE stand up freezer for mothers day, so this will help fill it. Thanks again.

  267. I need to shop at your grocery stores! How the heck are you getting such good deals? You have inspired me to do this, maybe with some help from hubby and the kiddos.

  268. Very cool! I have to give this a try this summer. It will be fun having the kids who are home for the summer help out and then I can stock the meals away for when they are back in school and life is crazy!

  269. Anonymous says:

    This is amazing….I just need to get a bigger freezer :)

    Thanks heaps!

  270. Thanks for the information, you have a great blog, oh to cool your meals faster so you can freeze them, set them in front of a fan. That is what I use to do, when I was a personal chef. I am also from Pennsylvania. my blog is http://athomewithmary.blogspot.com

  271. I think even if I spent a little more money than what you spent, it’s ALL worth it to get that many meals and not have to ‘prepare’ every single meal every single day!! I am going to try a few of these for sure! It would be nice to wake up in the morning, already knowing what’s for dinner and you don’t even have to prepare it! Thanks for sharing these wonderful, time-saving ideas!

  272. I am going to buy this book asap! My lands, you made all this up for that amount of money. Did you use any “coupons”? I hope to be able to freezer cook everything up so it’s ready to go when I need it.

  273. What an excellent post – I am now inspired! Thank you!

  274. Anonymous says:

    We are a single income family of 3. My husband has been in and out of work, struggling with unemployment, and not getting assistance with food. I’ve become great with couponing, and love to cook. Thank you so much for this blog! I LOVE the ideas and can’t wait to try this! Cooking for a family every day gets expensive, and you never know when that one day is going to come where you say “ah, there’s nothing here to make for dinner.” This is the most wonderful thing I’ve read all day! I shared this on Pinterest so that my friends and family can learn from you as well!

  275. What recipes did you use to make the 46 freezer meals?

  276. What recipes did you use for the freezer meals?

  277. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for posting this!! I have been struggling with finding affordable groceries, cheap recipes without 5 million ingrdients, and better ways to have a home cooked meal when my husband and I may not get home from work until after 7pm each day and have to start from scratch. We usually end up eating Dollar Menu or fending for ourselves and that’s not the way we would like it! We have also really been trying to come up with new ways to cook meat. You are now our lifesaver!

  278. Anonymous says:

    I think I’ll try this when I go back to school in the fall. I only wish grocery stores in Canada had meat that cheap!

  279. Anonymous says:

    This blog has really opened my mind to thinking outside the box and trying new things. Having a full time job and two kids i rarely have time to get done with all the things that need to get done on a daily basis. Dinner usually takes atleast a hour even with something simple. Especially while trying to tend to a two year old. I think this will help not only save alot of time but alot of money. Thank you!

  280. Anonymous says:

    I just found this page today from pinterest.

    You are awesome! I hope you are still getting these deals. I would love to do this!.

    my husband is an ass and is really picky and won’t eat anyhing. This would make life so easy for us all.

  281. As a single mom on a VERY tight budget I need to get on board with this. I’ve ended up eating cereal or a quesadilla every night because I don’t feel like cooking for 1 and a half people. I’ll make some this weekend and post back my results. Wish me luck! Thanks for sharing :)

  282. Love your post, my freezer cooling methods are very similar. My FAV book is Fix, Freeze and Feast. It would fit your method very well-check it out!

  283. Love your post, it’s very similar to how I freezer cook. Check out Fix, Freeze and Feast. It’s my favorite freezer cooking book. Best wishes, Becky

  284. Anonymous says:

    How long do the onions and things like that stay good in the freezer? And how long do the meals in general stay good in the freezer?

  285. I just want to say thank you for posting this. I was injured in a car accident a few years ago and although I love being in the kitchen and cooking I’m not always able to get up and stand for an hour to cook and clean. This is perfect! Again Thank You so much!!!

  286. Anonymous says:

    I wish I could find deals on meats,chicken and sausage like you did. Where I live there is no such thing. Ir your lucky it may get marked down an additional 10% on the already 20% on family size packs.

    But thank you so much for all the ideas. I will put it to use, meat sale or not meat sale!!! Thanks

  287. Where are the recipes? I must have missed something… all I saw are a bunch of pictures of meat on sale. (BTW- nice!)

  288. just found you last week due to the recommendation from a friend to read this post. just the motivation i need to get it together for some freezer cooking for the upcoming school season. always hard to get a meal on the table with all of the high school activities. ordered the first don’t panic – dinner’s in the freezer book last night. have the 2nd one on request from the local library.

  289. Valarie says:

    FYI, you can reuse or recycle the freezer bags. They can be recycled with other plastic grocery bags most groceries accept.

  290. Anonymous says:

    How many are you feeding with one meal in a bag?

  291. I wish we had the same deals in France… But meats unsold are thrown :| it’s a shame !

  292. Do you have a shopping list for these recipes??

  293. Anonymous says:

    Just made your taco meat (with onions, bell pepper, and carrots)…. made enough for lunch and for freezer… my family loved it! I was worried the carrots would be an issues b/c I didn’t grate them as small as you did and the kids could see them…. not a complaint at all!!!! Potatoes are cooking in the oven now for twice baked! Thanks so much!

  294. Anonymous says:

    Are there certain days that meat goes on sale like that? I live in Lancaster. I saw a lot of your meat was from Weiss. Thkx!

  295. Anonymous says:

    I love this… I use to make my meals a week at a time but this is awesome. You should consider getting a food vacuum.

  296. Anonymous says:

    I can’t wait to try all these ideas, but do you have cooking instructions for when the raw meat is thawed out so that it retains it’s juices? I always have a hard time with that :(

  297. Anonymous says:

    Genius…pure genius. Thanks for the inspiration!

  298. Please tell me where you find discounted meats. I never find a real good deal on meats.

  299. Anonymous says:

    Very interesting. I do a lot of the same kind of shopping. I go through the meat case and look for the marked down meats and freeze them.
    I also do the same with marked down produce.
    I like to have halved, diced, and sliced peppers in the freezer.
    It takes planning, but having stuff ready in the freezer like spaghetti sauce and cheese sauce makes preparing meals much easier.
    Keep up the good work. It can be fun.

  300. I am so happy I found you! I am making my first batch of freezer food this weekend and I am so excited. I am going back to school after 9 years of being a stay at home wife and mama and my family is used to me doing all of the cooking and cleaning. I showed this post to my hubby and he says he can do this kind of cooking. Yeah! This takes such a load off of my shoulders. Thank you!

  301. Anonymous says:

    amazing! ill definately be doing this next month!

  302. Great ideas! I linked to your post in a recent blog post I did on freezer meals and once a month cooking: All Things with Purpose

  303. Fantastic share! Definitely worth pinning! You might consider adding an affiliate link for those books because I’m certain you have sold a bunch of them!

  304. Something you might consider instead of pitching your veggies from your chicken cooking method is to use some of the tasty shredded chicken and add some egg noodles. It’s a really hearty, flavorful and healthy-ish chicken and noodles, and it cuts down on the waste!

  305. Super awesome idea! We love homemade meals, but it’s so difficult when life is so chaotic. This really cuts down on prep work! Thanks for sharing!

  306. I used to do exactly what you are doing and I never noticed a lack of flavor by freezing cooked meat like you describe if used within the normal freezer guidelines! Bravo on your sale items as well, and yes I too LOVE marked down meat sales! LOL! Everything looked great and you just keep up your superb work!

  307. Great blog post!! (I read the one about the negative comments – and I probably also use too many exclamation points!) – What’s wrong with happiness? Anyway, I loved this post! Wonderful ideas, and inspiring. I will take what I’ve learned from this “great read” and use it! I hope that it will help my family to have quite a few less stressful days! Great ideas, great tips. Thank you for posting!

  308. Did all this fit in a the freezer you took a picture of? My biggest issue… I LOVE premade meals like this, but I don’t have kids…and we live in an apartment…with a regular old fridge. :( No freezer space. WAHhhhh

    Great ideas though. Def. love the twice baked potatoes. What would you recommend for a picky husband who doesn’t like cream cheese or sour cream for the potatoes? Can you just make em like a mashed potato and slap it back in there?

  309. OH…second question!

    Where do you find meat on special? I know grocery stores vary from state to state. We’re military and the commissary on base only does a slight reduction on the meat the transfer to the frozen area. It’s never THAT cheap. That’s amazing!

  310. Anonymous says:

    I found you on Pinterest and I have spent the last hour searching all the posts! Great stuff! I can’t wait to get started.Love the idea of shredding the chicken in my kitchenaid. I am excited to see how much I can multitask when I do it! I will wash and reuse my plastic bags, and I love the idea of wrapping your casserole till frozen, so you can use it in the meantime. I only have 2 9X13s and one meatloaf pan.

  311. Anonymous says:

    Holy Crap! I am impressed! SOOO gonna try this! Where the heck do you live/shop to get those prices?? I live in the south where things are cheaper and I haven’t seen that kinda deal around here! Still – for my 2 week grocery budget I could get 2 months worth of dinners! Thanks so much!!!

  312. Absolutely amazing. I think I’m going to buy that book!

  313. Anonymous says:

    Great ideas! When my kids were in college some of the things I froze for them: meat loaf, chicken pot pie, and recipes I have for chicken dressing casserole and chicken enchiladas among others. All they had to do was thaw, and pop in oven. They loved it.

  314. Anonymous says:

    Natalie gotta say you are the BOMB!!! Awesome post! I do have 2 things though
    1–what part of the US are you in? Cause I sure can’t find meat deals like that at my Giant or Shoprite stores WOW did you get some unbelievable deals!
    2–If when you cook your chicken breasts instead of throwing out the veggies cooked in with them cool them in the broth then using your handy-dandy blender(with the blade in haha) Puree them in the broth for an even more nutritious and richer base and no waste!
    Oh and reading about your carrots in the ground beef etc reminded me that my Mom used to do that PLUS she added finely chopped mushrooms(which I hate) to burgers and meatloaf for yrs before I caught on. So if you can get them on the cheap yet another way to stretch your meat farther plus they add moisture.

  315. All I can say is wow. This is a fantastic way of having a dinner in no time. Thank you. Sure wish I could find those meat prices!!!!

  316. Anonymous says:

    i havent tryed any of the meal yet i was just wondering if you have any meals that are good for baked goods cookies,cakes that kind of thing!!!?

  317. Anonymous says:

    I am impressed. Found this thru pinterest.
    Preparing for a surgery that will have me down for nearly 8 weeks, and needed simple easy meals for my hubby to fix for us. This is just the trick.
    Only problem I have is only two days till surgery wish me luck.
    Keep up the great work, you are an inspiration.
    PS I find meat deals like you do, makes everyone jealous. But I scarf them up when I find them.
    50c sausages, $1 pounds of bacon, ground beef. And I love Costco chickens at $4.99 they are a staple at my home.

  318. Anonymous says:

    Love it!! Great idea to do bags of shredded chicken ect. to pull out. I just did my first batch of freezer meals and it has made such a difference!I did several dinners and also chicken tacos and breakfast burritos. Made 40 of them individually wrapped and they are so great to have on the go! just microwave 2 mins and done. Also, i made a big batch of meatloaf and separated the meat into 1 pound bags (only 2 of us). Then i just defrost and put the meat in muffin pans- cute and only take 20 MINS TO BAKE!

  319. might i suggest the awesome set of tupperware freezer mates to put those meals in which would totally organize your freezer and allow for more food to be stored? yes of course i sell tupperware. please see my link: my2.tupperware.com/laurateague

  320. I love freezer meals! I have been planning and organizing meals for about 5+ years. It is annoying to have to set up the meals all in one day. But, I realized over the years, I only need 3-4 days a week for freezer meals to cover the busiest days. The rest of the week I fill with 1 take out night, 1 vegeterian night (usually a salad/veggie dish combo) and 1 night for leftovers. That comes out to 12-16 meals a month. I created a list of recipes ingredients and created a pivet table in Excel so I can select the recipes that I want and compile a list so I can see the total of all the different ingredients I need. I also feel that marinades and roasts are great easy freezer meals that I can setup and freeze in a matter of minutes. Thanks for sharing the photos. Great post!

  321. Anonymous says:

    Where on earth do you get groceries so cheap? I dont’ think anything by me will have them so cheap. Nice!

  322. This looks awesome. My fiance lives by himself (only for less than 10 more months) and he’s always wondering what to cook himself for dinner. Freezer meals would be great for him to come home and cook after a long day at work. I was just curious as to what you do for side items to go with things like the pork chops. Do you freeze everything, or just the main part of the meal? I’m looking into the cookbook too so maybe that would help.

  323. Real helpful work indeed.Hope it will work with great efficiency.Any update should be available here and congrats for the work.

  324. I downloaded that book on my phone through Kindle reader. Pretty sure I would enjoy these a lot more than I enjoy eating ramen and mac and cheese every day like I am now! Thanks for the inspiration!

  325. Amazing idea! I really love a good deal and it helps feed my growing family. My 9 year old is almost as tall as I am and he eats like there is no tomorrow! Thanks for the tips.

  326. Do you individually wrap your hamburger patties?

  327. Soo what frezer bags do you use??

  328. Hi, you have some amazing ideas, I found you through Pinterest like most people here. I do have a question for you: I have tried freezing meals and some have thawed out watery or just plane gross or others have come out frost-bitten. How do you prevent frost-bite and thawing out gross? I am a busy mom and would love to get started on doing all your suggestions.
    Thank you so must for all this information.

  329. Genius!!!!!

  330. You are amazing!!! Really u are. Awesome ideas I’m going to buy the books and distress myself at dinner time!!!

  331. I am FLOORED by the prices you are getting on these meats. I am a single mom and really strapped for cash so a lot of times I am stuck buying a lot of ground beef or chicken because they are the cheapest for meals. Where do you get these AMAZING deals on your meats?! I REALLY hope there are stores here where I live.

  332. I need to find someone I can pay to come to my house and do this for me! I am a mother of 3 with #4 on the way and am on strict bedrest! :( My family is suffering through the worst “food drought” ever! They hate fast food now!!! Someone help! -Amber GR, MI alanimami@ymail.com

  333. I love to the teriyaki marinade, I never knew to add sugar! Thanks for the tips.

  334. I also live near Chocolate World! I love the freezer meal idea, too.

  335. My family is vegetarian, is the cookbook you use mostly for meat-eaters? I assume I can still freeze some things just maybe not as many things as if we ate meat. Thanks for your ideas especially the twice baked potatoes and the onions and green peppers chopped up and frozen!

  336. You ma’am, are a GENIUS! thank you on behalf of college students everywhere.

  337. U will never find a meat sale like that in los angeles county o_O

  338. U will never find a meat sale like that in los angeles county

  339. Wow, I need to move where you live. We never see meat at those prices, unless it is rotten!

  340. I love this idea. However, I am VERY new to cooking. (Career-turned-stay-at-home-mom) So to me, at the end of all this cooking, I would have bags of frozen, cooked things and no idea what dishes to use them for. You went into great detail about how to cook and get them into the freezer, but I don’t know what to do with some of those things after that. I realize that I am the minority in my inexperience, but a little more information on the final “product” would have been very helpful. Thank you for this very creative idea.

  341. when you freeze the shredded chicken, or the cooked ground beef, is there any liquid added to freeze? Or do you just put it in the bags and freeze, im not to sure about how to freeze them.

  342. I AM TOTALLY MOTIVATED!!!! I would like to know how you picked the recipes you use or do you modify your recipes depending on what’s on sale? I too make waffles ahead and my husband thinks I am crazy. If I could figure out how to only spend $98 a week on food for our family of 4 I might win the wife of the year award…please help.

  343. I AM TOTALLY MOTIVATED!!!! I would like to know how you picked the recipes you use or do you modify your recipes depending on what’s on sale? I too make waffles ahead and my husband thinks I am crazy. If I could figure out how to only spend $98 a week on food for our family of 4 I might win the wife of the year award…please help.

  344. I AM TOTALLY MOTIVATED!!!! I would like to know how you picked the recipes you use or do you modify your recipes depending on what’s on sale? I too make waffles ahead and my husband thinks I am crazy. If I could figure out how to only spend $98 a week on food for our family of 4 I might win the wife of the year award…please help.

  345. I AM TOTALLY MOTIVATED!!!! I would like to know how you picked the recipes you use or do you modify your recipes depending on what’s on sale? I too make waffles ahead and my husband thinks I am crazy. If I could figure out how to only spend $98 a week on food for our family of 4 I might win the wife of the year award…please help.

  346. Where did you get all the meats at such a great price?

  347. Hello, darling. I am writing a post on menu planning and, having come across you on Pinterest, am using you as inspiration and clear directions. Thanks for the great post.

  348. Could you list what meat you need and the poundage for all this? It makes the grocery shopping much easier to know what quantity to get.

  349. I happened to stumble on this while I was looking for something else. Just so happens, my hubby is in the Air Force and his base is having a commissary case lot sale TODAY. Meat is CHEAP and we don’t pay taxes. A whole new way to look at shopping and prepping.

  350. Wooow this is amazing but I don’t even think I could come CLOSE to these prices where I live! Even the full price of your meat still looked REALLY cheap to me!

  351. I can’t wait to try this! It sounds so efficient and saves so much money. Thanks so much for sharing! :)

  352. Just saw your plan on Pinterest and wondered
    why you cooked the chicken and veggies and then THREW away the veggies?
    This is chicken soup, I would have that for one
    of my meals.

  353. I just read this post and noticed the grocery stores you bought the meat. While I was reading, I thought, “She must be in PA.” How funny to learn that you are right around the corner from us. We live in Palmyra. I like the tip on the cookies at Chocolate World. Do you ever make ahead things that can cook in the crock pot all day? I don’t have a lot of luck with those turning out so well.

  354. @Jessica Nichols For those of you that are concerned about using plastic bags, use freezer containers instead. They work like a charm!

  355. Anonymous says:

    EXCLAMATION MARKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  356. What amazing prices you got on all the meat! I’m really impressed here and jealous on how easy it much be now when you need a meal, guess that’s some motivation for me to find time to make these ahead of time! As soon as I find some sweet meat deals!

  357. This is wonderful! I’m definitely going to give this a try so that I save some time for baking instead of making dinner every single night! Thanks for sharing!

    Hope you don’t mind me sharing it on my blog…posted a link back to here for my readers because I can’t get over how great this is!

    http://rollingapple.blogspot.com/

  358. Thank you so much for posting this! I made the ground beef, carrot, onion and green pepper mixture a few days ago, and after letting it thaw out in the fridge overnight, used it in our spaghetti today, with my overly skeptical husband, and he loved it!!!! The kids gobbled it up too! Can’t wait to try the rest!
    Thanks again!

  359. Anonymous says:

    I’m so happy to have found this. This will help me get organized and get the most of my groceries. Thank you for sharing.

  360. Anonymous says:

    Do you have Fall/ Winter meal ideas? Casseroles take up so much space…need some hearty and wholesome meals for this upcoming cold weather ;) Thx!!! amyjane83@msn.com

  361. I have to say, I have never seen prices as fantastic as yours! Wow. The best we’ve ever gotten is a couple of bucks off the total price.

  362. Anonymous says:

    I’m curious if you add carrots to your taco meat? And if so, does it change the flavor at all. I can see with the meat you add to spaghetti, but I was curious about the taco meat specifically. Thanks.

  363. Anonymous says:

    Uhm, no. I’m a lifer chef. This sounds good, but fresh ingredients on a budget are better. Everything out of the freezer looks brown. Yummy, sure looks appetizing. Nice to know the old invention of a freezer can HOLD things. Lazy way to avoid fresh foods for the family. Ugh.

  364. Thank you so much for posting! I found you through Pinterest, and I just requested the book via inter-library loan to check it out :)

  365. Anonymous says:

    I have NEVER seen meat prices like that around here! Would coast me much more!

  366. Where on earth do you grocery shop? If I could find deals like that I could feed my family of 6 a lot easier.

  367. @Jessica Nichols
    I can understand the glass containers completely. The easiest solution is mason canning jars…ie Bell or Kerr mason jars. They aren’t just for canning, or crafts for that matter. They freeze wonderfully, stack perfectly if you stick with the wide mouth jars, and if you are freezing instead of canning, the lids are reusable. You only have to toss the sealing lids if you are going to can the food and the lid has been previously sealed. They aren’t cheap, but two quart jars of something such as soup is a full meal for my family of four. Some places put them on sale in the fall when most canners are coming to an end. Best wishes.

  368. Where do you shop that you can find such good markdowns on meat? I have called the meat department at every grocery store in my town and they all think I’m crazy for asking which day of the week they mark down the prices. They claim they don’t have a certain day. In fact, I’ve lived in Indiana and North Carolina in my life and the best/only markdowns I’ve ever seen were by maybe 5 cents/lb on the sell by date. Is there a certain place I need to be looking for?

  369. Can I ask where you shop to get those prices? I am so jealous!!

  370. Robyn Battista says:

    I was wondering where you get your recipes from and if you have a grocery list on your website. If you could email me I’d greatly appreciate it. Thank you

    Robyn

  371. This would never happen in Canada.

  372. Susan C. says:

    Brought here via pinterest. Recently I wanted to start freezing some meals, with baby plans, school, and work my husband and I just do not have the time we’d like. Loved your thoughts and ended up buying and reading the book you mentioned (Don’t Panic!), and have already made several meals for the month. I look forward to finding out even more and making our lives a little easier. Thanks again for the tips!

  373. I was just wondering how you find such good deals on the meats. Do you shop at a certain time of the week? or just watch the sales ads. I typically only shop at 2 stores, when i HAVE to, so I’m wondering if it’s just watching sales ads, or shopping around.

  374. I would love to do this! I would love to know what some of your recipes are – that you make with these pre-prepared freezer items. Every now and then I find manager specials in the meat section, but nothing that cheap. I guess calling the butcher to see when they put stuff out would make sense. Thank you for this – this is inspiring!

  375. Desert Girl says:

    Amazing post!!! I pinned this on pinterest. I just made your teriyaki marinade and used it for flank steaks, organic chicken breasts, organic chicken tenders, etc that I picked up on a meat sale! On Sunday we made your twice baked potatoes and did BAGS of cooked shredded chicken! Great ideas! Thanks very much from a single mom! When my budget allows I want to purchase the cookbooks. You have real integrity for not posting someone else’s hard work-and I admire that! Thanks again!

  376. I absolutely love this idea. We’re certainly going to be trying this. Anything that makes dinner and super time easier (and less expensive) is a good thing. Thanks for posting this!

  377. Hello. I don’t actually comment anything…. Ever…. But I just wanted to say thank you for taking the time to post this. I had no idea there was even a book called “Don’t panic, Dinner’s in the freezer” title reminds me of “hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy” movie lol. I bet the person who wrote that book is very happy with you also. Especially since you didn’t plagiarize the recipes. Probably could of got into copy right trouble if you did.

    Anywho my point is I really really appreciate this. It’s really hard to make health meals for my little family with a very active 2 year old getting into things and the less cooking the better and less spending $$ the better also.

    I plan on buying that book I’m very excited. Thank you again!

  378. Christine says:

    Really useful for the nights you really dont feel like preparing and cooking a meal

  379. Great stuff.. thanks.

    Just wondering why you are wrapping the potatoes in plastic rather than foil that can go directly into the oven?

  380. Morgan Jenkins says:

    This is exactly what I will begin doing starting this weekend when I do my grocery shopping. I have a few questions. I am a military wife. I shop at my local commisary a lot because I find they have the best meats. Do you think they do meat mark downs? Probably something I will just have to call and ask about. Are the pre-cooked meals just as tasty and fresh meals? What do you not pre-cook? Thank you so much!

  381. Vicki Richardson says:

    I found your blog on FB where someone had asked about Crockpot dinners. The person said you had a really neat and cheap ideas for dinners. So I came a looking……….I read and re-read and was amazed at what you have accomplished. I did wonder about the marinade only cause I was always told after your done throw it away, so I wondered about freezing it but hey it hasn’t killed you off yet so I think its safe. LOL Then I went to read your other posts on the subject of this post, and I actually was upset for you about rude people. If they don’t like it don’t read it. And if you get their info we will go baggie their front yards! You are perfect with what you do to keep your little family happy and that’s all that really matters.

  382. We do the marinate and then freeze method for meat. Have been doing it for years. For pork or chuck steak it’s great (we have a little family of 3) to be able to marinate the meat, freeze it, thaw it the night before, and the next afternoon plop it in the crockpot. Also, cake mix totally freezes! Freeze it in cupcake liners, pop into a freezer bag, thaw when needed then bake. (Even the gluten free cake batters freeze ok)

  383. Laurie Christensen says:

    This style of cooking is also known as OAMC: Once A Month Cooking. There are many sties that will give you great recipes and even size them out for you. It is not just the really good deals on meat that make this cheaper but the time saved daily on prepping all your meals once a month and eating for many meals for weeks after that.

    Always look at your grocery store flyers for “Loss Leaders” .. those are usually the highly marked down items put on the front page. By going in to buy those items specifically you save money. Try NOT to shop every week as you waste gas, time, & money. Only shop during the month if you didn’t get enough dairy or bread items. Make as much as you can at home. That way you know what is in it and how it tastes. Go to Sam’s or Costco to buy the dry goods you can stockpile up without refrigerator/freezer space being wasted. My standard is to have enough food to supply 2 people for a month without running to the store. I do that easily with a 3/4 size frig and a couple extra metal shelving stands.
    When you make a dish make extra so you can freeze a meal or two. Pick foods on sale and plan a weekly menu from what is available. Over time you will have meals of all types ready at a moment’s notice. To set up I did hamburg(5-10lbs) the 1st month, ham(1 lg bone in)(ham juice saved for bean dishes) 2nd, chicken the 3rd as that was what was on sale.
    I marinate meals in Qt size (2 people) freezer ziploc bags for a couple days in frig then lay flat to freeze so they stack well. I then box them according to type or date frozen.
    Some favorites are teriyaki chicken, beef, pork chops with crushed pineapple added to sauce. I BBQ sauce everything. Italian dressing is fantastic on all meats. Simmer with vegies and place over pasta or rice for a fast and totally complete meal. Ceasar dressing is great for most meats. Steak sauce with either pineapple, applesauce, or even plain broth is a great kick to marinate & cook with.

    Roast a chicken or two for a meal. Afterwards cook the leftovers in water to make flaked chicken for hundreds of dishes and throw in leftover vegies to make chicken bone broth that will keep you healthy and flavor any meal. If you only do one chicken then freeze the bones and leftover vegies to make a big pot later on. You can get free green onions by saving the rooted end & putting them in water. Change daily and you will see them regrow. Free food. OAMC will save you time, money, gas and sanity! :)

    • I was wondering if you cook all the veggies before you freeze them or have you frozen any raw? Thanks.

  384. Wow!! That type of meat sale does not exist where I live!! What deals!!!! (Even in 2011)

  385. Hi Natalie:) Thank you so much!! Gosh I could’ve really used this for the last year! My husbands in the marine corps and our budget is so tight! So this will really help me in the future! And I’m still pretty new at cooking so crockpot and easy recipes are amazing:) thank you your a blessing!

  386. Hi! Thanks for sharing the post. You have some great ideas! Is there an alternative to plastic bags? Have you ever successfully tried containers? I hate to throw away so much. The landfills are virtually full as is.

  387. Raechel says:

    Where do you shop that you have such awesome prices??? this would be so handy to start doing!!!

  388. This is really great! I’m a vegetarian but I love this because the idea is enough for me to tailor it to my own tastes, which I always figured was the point of your blog. I just want to offer a suggestion: vacuum sealed bags. I’m single and after a long day at work, I don’t often want to cook. I’ve used your method to freeze meals in vacuum sealed bags, and then drop the bag in boiling water and let it cook. It’s so easy and I’m not soiling a bunch of pots and pans. So just a suggestion for you, in case you wanted to try it :)

  389. i need to start doing this.

    question… How do u keep the plastic wrap from sticking to the food when u freeze the casserole? i tried it and the plastic wrap ended up sticking to the bottom of the frozen foid and i had trouble getting it off….

  390. Hah I live by Chocolate World as well! what a small world… Love the ideas, thanks!

  391. I’m trying to decide to buy these cookbooks or not but the reviews are rather mixed. Do the cookbooks call for lots of ‘pre-made’ ingredients like cream of mushroom soup and juice concentrates?

    I’m trying to keep all the high fructose corn syrup and GMO stuff out of my home, but cooking from scratch each day is… a LOT of work. I’d love to be able to pull more meals from the freezer. I always try to make an extra lasagna or two when I make that but other things are not so easy!

  392. pollywantsacracker says:

    Thanks for the inspiration and new ideas.

    Even married couples with no kids benefit from from mass cooking. The key is labeling and dating the product.

    In response to the question about alternatives to plastic bags, I have a selection of washable, re-usable divided rectangular freezer containers for entrees. I recycle other containers from food products I buy. I have a large collection of two cup containers from buying cold cuts and an even larger collection of 10.5 ounce containers from buying a certain brand of dog food.

    Is it passive aggressive to send your husband’s lunch to work in a recycled dog food container that has the brand stamped on the lid? Not really. He knows I’m a cheapskate. The rigid container is better than a zip lock bag when packing soup for lunch.

    Now, these rigid plastic containers do take up more space than a flattened zipper bag but long term, it saves money.

    If something needs extra protection, I’ll add a layer of plastic wrap pressed down on the surface of the food before I put on the lid. That plastic wrap, I can write contents and use as a label too.

    If I cook something where I don’t make a side dish like a pork roast, I portion the meat into individual portions, wrap in plastic wrap to prevent freezer burn then put it in a labeled zipper bag or rigid plastic container. If I need one portion, it’s easy to grab and go.

    Labeling, I keep it simple. On the reverse side of scrap paper, write the contents with a sharpie and rubber band the label around the container. Add the date and reheating instructions if others are digging into the frozen assets. The label and the container, both wrapped in a sturdy rubber band.

    As we pack up our frozen assets, I use the reverse side of discarded scrap paper where we tally the number for portions created and keep track of the freezer contents.

    I do have four dogs so those veggies used when I poach chicken, skin removed from the chicken, the fat drained from meat, some other scraps, I don’t let that go to waste. I paid for that “waste product” that humans might not find all that tasty but the dogs do need small amounts of added fat and mine happen to love veggies. The vet says no to dogs eating onions so I will discard those.

    Finally, some dairy products when I find them marked down, they freeze beautifully.

  393. Laurie R says:

    I’m going to commit to cooking quite a few meals for my husband’s parents every month and stumbled on to this post while looking for some ideas. You have inspired me to order one of the books and to go full steam ahead with my plans. Thanks so much!

  394. Hi! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any trouble with
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    of hard work due to no backup. Do you have any solutions to prevent hackers?

  395. I never find meat on sale at prices like that! EVER! If I could I would be just like you “in Heaven” and ever so happy. I am so happy you do get yours that cheap though!

  396. So I linked this into my blog. you motivated me…only I think I’m a little lazier than you…Thanks!

  397. I really enjoy posts like this. i am a prepper. i buy generics 99% of the time, i never buy brand name unless i have a coupon and it is on sale. of course clearance sales are an exception if i dont have a coupon. Right now for 2 people, i have about 6 months of food, not including my long term prep and seed storage!

    Please post more about this! you are very informed, and know how to keep a person interested in a nice size post!

  398. Thanks so much for the great ideas….I am a couponer and I too make my menu according to sales. Thanks for the recipes….gonna give this a try…also…I gave you a plug on my FB page….good luck!

  399. Carol Cannon says:

    I love going to our local Winn Dixie at 8:00 a.m. Any meat that was left in the meat case from the day before is marked down at least 40% and often more than that. I just picked up a pack of 8 center cut pork chops that were originally 13.47 but marked down to $6.21… BUT IT GETS EVEN BETTER…. It was buy 1 get 1…So I got 16 NICE pork chops for $6.21. You have to get there early, because by 9 or 9:30 there’s not a sale meat left in the meat case. I also look for the deals when something is getting close to the “SELL BY” date. A few months ago I bought a whole case of Thick Sliced BOLOGNA for $3.00 because they had an excess of it and the sell by date was 3 days away. I threw them in the freezer and I’m still eating bologna sandwiches. (Good thing I like bologna, eh?) I’m a single, disabled grandmother, living alone with a very limited food budget. I believe in the “COOK ONCE – EAT 3 (or 4) TIMES. I’m going to add a few of your ideas to my meal planning. Thanks for the great ideas.

  400. I see you shop at the same stores I do. That means you may or may not live in the same area I do, and for that reason I think Wegmans might have some meats, such as ground beef, chicken leg quarters, and pork roasts cheaper than Weis or Giant. Wegmans also has a plethora of other daily necessities, such as salad mix, baby carrots, canned veggies, frozen veggies, fresh potatoes, and boxed macaroni and cheese (to name a few) much cheaper or at the same pricing as Wal-Mart. I understand if you don’t buy your meat at Wal-Mart, I don’t either. :-)

  401. Does this work with most meals? Meat is so expensive where I live, what stores do you mostly shop at??

  402. Hi Natalie,
    I just found your site from pinterest. I love this freezer post and have read lots of your blog. Love, love it! Adding it to my FAVORITES!!! I am just starting my own website http://www.inspireserendipity.com I am at the beginning stages so I am learning as I go. Talk about turtle pace. lol There is sooo much to learn. I so appreciate all of your advice on here! I have linked this post to my website. I look forward to reading more of your posts. With a smile, Heidi Curhan :>

  403. I noticed when you wrote about cooking all the chicken with the veggies to make broth—-do you not toss the bones back into the stock pot to simmer awhile longer? It makes for better broth.

  404. Just a thought – when you make chicken stock, why throw away the vegetables? Leave them in the pot with some of the stock, put some of that shredded chicken back in there, and add some rice. Chicken soup! I do this all the time, it freezes very well. Just don’t over-cook it when you reheat, the rice will get mushy – or just add the rice (or noodles) when you re-heat, that works too.

  405. Nikki Boyce says:

    I am happy for you that you were able to find meat that cheap. Unfortunately that isn’t a feasible for everyone. In my area it’s a crap shoot to find things like that. Unless you are hovering around the meat counter 24/7 or are willing to drastically lower my standards in the meat quality, I will never see those prices. Even on sale they are nowhere near those prices. I would like to see how to cook like this as if there were no sales/markdowns.

  406. Too much red meat (not good for you)…I eat lots of beans, fish, fresh veggies…use in stews. Sorry, not impressed.

    • Why would you feel it necessary to tell someone who simply shares what she does that you are “not impressed”? I see you share what you eat and I agree it is healthy. But not impressive.

  407. Gail Northness says:

    You have great ideas! I am inspired!

  408. I already do a little of this, but not enough and not in this quantity. I’m pumped up to do more now. Thanks. I’ve never seen meat prices like you found. I’d give my right arm to land those deals. Doing that many meals at once is a little cost prohibitive at the moment, but any little bit would help in our chaotic life. Thanks again for all your tips!

  409. That sounds like a nice way to cook for your family in the long wrong. However, if you’re going out of your way to be “environmentally friendly”, can’t you use some of the savings you’re getting and buy the meat from a local grower? Buying cheap meat like that just supports CFO’s which aren’t good for the environment or the animals. Or, make most of your meals vegetarian and eat lower on the food chain. Thanks for sharing your great ideas!

  410. Hi Natalie. I applaud you for being so thrifty in buying your food supplies and the meal prep. I only wish we were as fortunate in Canada to get deals on food like you do in the USA.

  411. My husband and I are empty nesters in our 40s! Yes! The children are grown & gone so I do not have to cook for 5 anymore. We started eating out almost daily. I found your video on YouTube and have been inspired to prepare freezer meals. I still work and I am tired at the end of the day, but I was sick of eating out. I have been preparing freezer meals for only two weeks now and I am so excited that we have NOT eaten out and I have food in the freezer for the rest of the month. I am getting better at it but for now is has been a blessing. Thanks Natalie and please consider another video.

  412. Love this idea. What I do is when I want a specific dish, like ham and beans, chili, chicken and noodles or hamburger soup, I will make a huge stock pot (there are only 2 of us in the house now) and I will freeze the rest in quart bags for later. I also cook up ground beef in water (crumbles better) and freeze that for use with whatever I am wanting to make later. I combine shredded chicken, mushrooms and green onions (sauted) for use in casseroles and such. I make 2-3 loaves worth of french toast and freeze those for easy breakfasts. So many ways to save and make meals ahead. Thanks for the super ideas.
    Angie

  413. What! Where do you live? If I bought all of that here in Hawaii, I’d spend double or tipple that. You are so lucky.

  414. ifyouwereananimaliwouldn'teatyou says:

    Wow! I really wish there was a veggie version of this. I’m definitely low income, but I would love to be able to do this with my vegetarian lifestyle!

  415. Thats awesome :) I wish we could get meat that cheap in Australia! I have never seen prices that low…. That said I definitely need to start keeping an eye out for sales and stocking up some freezer meals :)

  416. If I am preparing a 13×9 casserole to freeze, do they make big enough baggies to store them in? I love the idea of making casseroles ahead and popping them in the freezer, I just need to know if there is a ziploc bag big enough for that! :) Great ideas!

    • You can buy the aluminum casserole containers and freeze them directly in those, defrost for a day and pop in the oven!

  417. I love these ideas. I made up a list of recipes including some of these. As for rude comments: They are just jealous. Ignore those bugs and they will go away. Haters gonna hate.

  418. Hi! This inspired me so much that I did it myself over the summer. I had food from July to September! I am a teacher, so for one of my graduate classes, I even made a WebQuest that involves this. You can check it out at my website: aviscito.com/brainsfinal

  419. I just wanted to say Thanks! You gave me quite a few ideas. I wanted to give my daughter something special for Christmas …well….. I made her a little over 3 months worth of freezer meals! I did special dinner meals for my grandsons for the nights she has to work. This way my older grandson can just pop them in the oven for his brothers and himself. I did some Sunday meals as well. It has taken me almost 2 weeks to do this but it was great. I did a combo of plastic bags and alum pans since I also did the combo of family meals and separate meals. Today I did snacks like popcorn and put those in tin. I also did a dozen pies and 6 sheet cakes which I froze as well in the aluminum pans.
    I’m all tuckered out! I just hope this will be a good Christmas Gift for my daughter and grandsons…yes, I know I probably just bought them something but this is more to the reason for the season…

  420. Thanks so much! I have read many blogs about freezer meals but most are meant for the crockpot and after about 2 weeks, my hubby replied, “can we eat something that didn’t come from the crockpot?” I like that your freezer meals can be grilled, baked, thawed and cooked on the stove top etc. Brilliant. Now I just need to find some sales!! We just moved across country and I miss Aldi and a few other stores we used back home. I really appreciate your sharing and I am now motivated to try some of your ideas!! You rock!!

  421. I am so inspired by this! Thank you so much for taking the time to write this out and share your “secrets”. I’m all about cooking ahead and do so often but I didn’t think to do so many uncooked recipes to freeze. I feel as though my cooking world just opened right up! Thank you.

  422. MissKeriMac says:

    THANK YOU for the ideas! I didn’t get as much meat on sale as you but got the most if it :-) I am so not an organized person by nature but this truly inspired me and I did it! My freezer now has about 15lbs of meat ready to be used for different meals. I am so blessed to know that there are people out there like you for the logical ideas. I know that my artsy-fartsy brain can’t handle this on my own. LOL Thanks bunches!

  423. Hello :) I am new to freezing meals. My girlfriend and I are actually going to get together next Saturday to go shop and prepare the meals together! I was wondering if you have a shopping list to refer to? I don’t even know where to start! I know it will depend on the recipes we want to prepare but I was wondering if anyone has any basic guide lined list! :) It would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!!

  424. I also meant to ask what you will need list! Thanks! :)

    I started making a list

    Quart Size bags
    aluminum pans
    Telling my friend to bring her blender too so she can hold her marinade in! :)
    Any other ideas/tips would be helpful!

  425. Far too much plasic involved, as unhealthy and polluting as it can get. Pity, the idea as such is o.k., the execution not.

    • Maybe you could find a way that didn’t use so much plastic, I’m sure there would be a lot of people who would appreciate it.

  426. Love your ideas. I buy 50 baby chicks each year, raise them and butcher them. I freeze some for roast chicken and process the rest as canned chicken. I also froze the extra broth from cooking to use with noodles. The jars can be opened quickly for use in soups, noodles, chicken salad, etc. I know raising chickens isn’t an option for most but a friend bought chickens when on sale and canned the meat.

  427. I love this. My only question is how do you cut up so many onions without your eyes burning & liquifying? ;)

    • Paula Perry says:

      Rachael Ray says “Don’t cut the root end off. Slice onion in half, then cut verticle slices right up to root end and then chop across”.

      When I am cutting up more than one onion, or several different veggies, I use my food processor.

  428. I was so impressed with this idea that I went to Amazon to buy the book. The Kindle version is only $1.99. I can’t wait to look through it!

  429. Made the potatoes but changed it to fit our diet. Thanks for the inspiration!

  430. Made the potatoes but changed it to fit our diet. Thanks for the inspiration!

  431. You don’t realise how cheap food is in the USA. We pay around $10 per kilo for chicken breast, $8 per kilo for top mince (that’s low fat!) & around $16 per kilo for rump steak!

  432. tammy yarbrough says:

    if i had a bigger freezer /n not a picky child grrr id love to cook/freeze meals..i do save/freeze leftovers.i do cook in bulk tho n put in fridge….as far as freezer bags i love dollar tree very thrify/frugal…

  433. Paula Perry says:

    Great hints! Thanks.

    I got a Vacuum Packer, no more freezer burn or ice crystals and things take up a lot less room
    .

    I also got a wipe-off message board that sticks to the freezer. I list everything I put in the freezer. Easy to see what I have and what I am low on. Easy to plan menus. (I have one on fridge too)

    • I use a black Sharpie pen on my freezer bags — but I find the ink rubs off of the plastic (just stays on the white part of the bag) — how do you get the ink to stay on?
      Your ideas are great – we have a chest freezer – would love to get an upright freezer so we can organize our meals better & not have our head stuck in there digging out our meals :)

    • I use a black Sharpie pen on my freezer bags — but I find the ink rubs off of the plastic (just stays on the white part of the bag) — how do you get the ink to stay on?
      Your ideas are great – we have a chest freezer – would love to get an upright freezer so we can organize our meals better & not have our head stuck in there digging out our meals :)

  434. Stormy Stewart says:

    Where do you live. Here they call it a closeout sale if the burger is only $6.95 a pound and chickens are less than $14.00. We have one store near by and they know how to raise their prices.

  435. Maureen S says:

    First off, thanks for the cool planning tips. I definitely need to get better at planning ahead so we make better choices at mealtime.
    Secondly, you live near a place called “Chocolateworld”?? Oh my, please tell us what that is? I’m in PA and never heard of it.

  436. This is so helpful! Thank you.
    Any chance you (or someone) could do this for vegetarian/vegan? We don’t go all the way at our house, but we’re trying to do as much of this as possible.
    Thanks,
    Victoria

  437. these meals sound awesome and delicious. thank you for going to all this trouble to share it with us. I cannot believe the negative comments and criticism — some people must be soo miserable.

  438. Lisa Chris Yza Morris says:

    hey, this is so cool, i try to get some ore-done prep work but nothing like this…..i am in awe ..45 meals. i am not in the US so here our meats don’t really go on sale. but i definitely will do my best to take a look at the number of meals i can prepare at one time. Really Really great ideas. cheers

  439. I’m going to try a ‘no spend’ month in May to finish saving for our trip to Ecuador in June/July. This is just what I need for preparation for that. If it works out and makes it to my blog I’ll try to remember to give you the link. I’ve read lots of these and this one sounds do-able. Thanks!

  440. Not sure if anyone has said this already (there are 500+ comments!) – you could use the celery, onions and carrots from your shredded chicken stock/broth, with some of the chicken & stock/broth reserved, to make an easy soup by throwing in a few more veggies and some herbs then blending it all! Instead of throwing them away. The soup could be taken to work/school for lunch in a Thermos flask, it will keep warm if you heat it in the morning :) I usually throw in any veggies that need using up into my soups, like broccoli, sweet potatoes, carrots, leeks… Anything is good!

Trackbacks

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  20. […] make a bunch of meals ahead of time and then freeze them for later! Here are some great ideas for make ahead freezer meals. Even more […]

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  22. […] Here are some great uses for the carrots:     Add to ground beef – from A Turtle’s Life For Me - a great way to sneak veggies into a meal   Make carrot chips – from Chow.com […]

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