5 Easy Steps to a Successful Freezer Cooking Session

By Melissa Batai

While you may be convinced that freezer cooking or once a month cooking will make your weeknights easier and will save you money, you may be overwhelmed by the process. Don't be. It's not really that hard.

Here's what you need to know to have a successful freezer cooking session:

1. Check your pantry. Check your pantry, freezer, and refrigerator to see what ingredients you already have on hand. Using up what you have will save you money when bulk cooking.

2. Find your recipes. A few days before you plan to do your freezer cooking session, find the recipes. If you don't know what will freeze well, find recipes that are designed specifically for freezer cooking. A few places to look include onceamonthmom.com, food.com (search OAMC to find the recipes), and hollyclegg.com (freezer recipes are denoted with a snowflake).

Ideally you'll choose 5 to 7 recipes, each of which you'll triple or quadruple. That will give you enough for dinners for the entire month. Make sure to find recipes that use different cooking methods--one slow cooker recipe, one oven recipe, a few stovetop ones, and a few that you don't need to cook on your freezer cooking day. These may just have you put some sauce in with frozen chicken breasts, for example, and freeze them and add them to the slow cooker on the day you'll eat them.

3. Go shopping. Don't be surprised if you have a higher grocery bill this week, but remember, you're buying ingredients to prepare meals for the entire month. In the long run, you'll likely save money.

4. Prep ingredients. If you have time, the day before your freezer cooking session, cut and prepare all of the vegetables you need. That'll save you time on the actually freezer cooking day.

5. Cook. On your freezer cooking day, make sure you have freezer ziplock bags and be prepared for several hours of hard work. However, at the end of the day, you'll have a freezer full of meals for the month. Now, the only groceries you'll need to buy for the rest of the month are perishables such as fruits, vegetables, milk and eggs.

 Have you tried freezer cooking before? Did you have any difficulties?

Melissa, a mom to three little ones (ages 7, 3 and 1) blogs at Mom's Plans where she writes about living a fulfilling life on less and focuses on cutting expenses, budgeting, paying down debt, saving money and once a month cooking.