It seems like freezer meal cooking and crockpot meals are all the rage. A simple search on Pinterest and there are hundreds of recipes to choose from. There are also companies that sell products, host parties, and provide recipes for quick and easy meals that can be frozen. As a busy mama of two small kiddos I am all about the quick and easy. I love to cook but there just is not always time to make an elaborate meal. I still however, want healthy, homemade meals for my family. Enter: Freezer Meals! Now I know there are some mamas out there who do marathon cooking days and freeze 20-30 meals. I think that is amazing IF you have the time for a marathon cooking day with littles underfoot. I just don’t really have time for that and it seems really overwhelming to me. Freezer meal parties sound like so much fun, I mean who doesn’t love a good girls night and to have some company while cooking for your family? Only problem for me is the price tag that sometimes goes along with those more organized parties. So, what did I do? I grabbed my mom and sister and we started having our own “freezer meal parties” once a month. Here is our fun, fast, and frugal how to:
Theme – We may or may not choose a theme for the recipes we are going to whip up. Some ideas would be soups, chicken dishes, Italian (meatballs, spaghetti sauce, lasagna), or any other fun theme you can come up with.
Recipes – We each find 2 recipes that fit our theme. I love having each person find some recipes because it gives everyone new ideas that they may not find themselves. Get out those cookbooks, fire up Pinterest and search away. Just make sure your recipes will freeze well!
Shopping – We share our recipes about a week in advance for two reasons. First, no repeats! Second, to save money we buy our ingredients in bulk and split them up. We love Costco for our bulk shopping and we can get some of the basic staples that all of our recipes use. Having a theme like all chicken dishes really saves money since we can buy one protein in bulk and share the cost. Don’t forget to double, triple, quadruple, etc. your recipe depending on how many are participating. We typically each spend about $60 total. You can’t beat $10 a meal and we always have leftovers!
Cooking – We come armed with copies of our recipes for each person, individual ingredients for our specific recipes, and a supply of freezer bags. We each assemble our own two recipes for each person. Since there are three of us, that means I am assembling three bags for each of my recipes, so six total.
Labeling – Make sure to label your bags with the recipe, cooking instructions (crockpot settings and time), anything else that may need to be added last minute, and serving suggestions. With everything right on the bag you don’t have to search around for the recipe when you are ready to serve it up.
This ends up being a fun day for us. It’s laid back, stress free and I always go home with 6 new meals to try. It has definitely proven to be a fun relaxing girls day for us and it’s productive at the same time! For us keeping it small means that we are done assembling all of our meals within a couple hours but you can make changes to fit your needs and schedule.
Finally, we always “review” our meals as we make them. We like to let each other know when a recipe is a real winner or if we think a recipe needs an extra dash of this or that. So far we have always tried new recipes at our party but we each have a whole list of recipes in our repertoire to repeat on our own. I hope this helps to jump start you into planning your own freezer meal party!