Everyone begins in a different place, I know that’s not at all helpful. If you’re new to freezer prep or the way that you’ve been doing just isn’t cutting it any longer you’ve come to the right place! To begin I suggest selecting a type of prep that suites you best. There is no “right way to do it”. I’ve come up with four main types of freezer meal prep. There are more than likely more out there, but these appear to be the top four that most people post recipes for.
Types of Freezer Cooking
Dump Recipes:Simply put, you dump ingredients into a bag and then freeze it. Most of the time these will be thawed and then placed in a crock pot at a later date. It’s also the “secret” way that people make all of those meals that you see in pictures.
Helpful Hints: You will need a good sharpie for these to write instructions on the bag (do so before you put ingredients in the bag). Sometimes you will add ingredients that aren’t frozen. You’ll also want to season to taste and possibly add more seasoning, the crock pot tends to have a lot of moisture that dilutes flavor a bit. Also be on the lookout for veggies that don’t freeze well. Sliced potatoes will actually turn black, they taste the same, but they will become black as the starch settles.
Prep for Cooking: Typically these are items for a meal. Taco meat, shredded chicken, marinara sauce, and meatballs are some popular examples. Items are cooked or prepped for later use.
Helpful Hint: Use this if you want to save a little time down the road and still make meals or hit a major sale on meat.
Prep and Heat: Primarily this consists of casseroles. The casserole is assembled and then thawed and baked. Typically involves a little cooking with preparing the meat and noodles.
Helpful Hint: Make sure that these are tightly sealed with foil and that you don’t freeze them for extended periods (longer than one month) to get best results. Also recommended that you write cooking instructions on the top with a Sharpie.
Fully Cooked: I don’t see a lot of this, but this is my personal favorite. Everything is cooked and then frozen and you simply remove from the freezer and microwave. Soups are great for this.
Helpful Hints: Use individual containers to grab and throw in your lunch bag or heat quickly. Also useful if no one in your house can agree on what to have for dinner-just have everyone grab their favorite! Make sure you label what each container is, I’ve had quite a few mystery meals when I forgot to label 🙂
This may seem simple, but this first step is essential in determining how the rest of your process will go. It is also necessary when you are searching for recipes, you don’t want to gather a lot of dump recipes when you intend to assemble a lot of casseroles or make items that you can simply heat in the microwave.