There is nothing quite like standing back at the end of a freezer meal day and admiring the stack of meals. Knowing that you won’t have to cook supper again for days, weeks, or even months is one of the best feelings in the world! Having meals made ahead is already such a time saver, but these little freezer meal tips add up so they will make you even more efficient.
- Clean your kitchen before you start. This may seem obvious, but starting with a clean canvas will make clean-up less overwhelming later.
- Make room in your freezer before you begin so that you’ll have room to put all of those great new meals you’ll be making!
- Invest in an electric can opener. I cannot stress this enough. I wish we had gotten ours years sooner. When I think of all those freezer meal days where my wrist and thumb were so sore by the end of it, I can’t believe I didn’t make the small investment in a good electric can opener sooner. It’s also a huge time saver. Another bonus is that my kids love operating it. Opening cans is an easy way for my kids to feel involved and makes one less thing for me to do.
- During your prep and while you assemble your meals, wear comfortable shoes. This is another tip that I cannot stress enough. This will be the difference between having very sore feet, shoulders and back and not. I even use an anti-fatigue gel mat in the kitchen by the sink for all the standing I do that day.
- Make a good, energetic playlist for your freezer meal day. Good music helps the time go by faster and keep your mood upbeat.
- Choose a friend to make freezer meals with or even a small group of friends. This helps the time go faster and maximizes your time. You can assign people to “stations” and have them assemble a large quantity of the same recipe. This also makes the experience a lot of fun. I make my freezer meals with my friend Christie, who also happens to be my neighbour. We get so much visiting in while we make our meals and we’ve gotten such a good system going that we just keep getting faster and faster.
- For ground beef freezer meals, put 20 – 30 lbs of ground beef into a large counter top electric roaster and let it cook on 200/250° overnight. In the morning, it’s browned and ready to use. You’ll need to use a ladle to take out the excess liquid or drain the meat. This tip (and picture) is from my dear friend Kimberly Walker, who is a mom of 10 and a freezer meal veteran.
- For recipes that call for cooked diced chicken, bake chicken breasts on a cookie sheet at 350° for 45 minutes and then chop. This allows you to cook a lot of chicken at the same time.
- Use printable labels and add the date to them so you can see at a glance which meals to use first. A freezer meal inventory sheet can also be useful for this.
- Dump recipes are the way to save the most time when assembling freezer meals. You can easily make ten meals in an hour or less. The downside of course is that there is less variety than using a freezer meal plan, but for speed, they just can’t be beat!
- If you’re making dump meals with a friend, have one of you fill the bags with the protein while the other makes the sauces to pour in. This makes things go even faster.
- Track your progress as you go and celebrate the victories. When you’re in the thick of a big freezer meal day, it can be easy to lose sight of why you’re doing it. You may start to feel discouraged. You can choose to keep track of your progress by crossing the recipes off a list or by keeping a tally sheet. At the end, celebrate your accomplishment! You can do this by giving yourself a treat such as chocolate or a glass of wine or going out for dinner with a friend, particularly if you and the friend made the freezer meals together.
Hopefully you’ll find these freezer meal tips helpful. If you’re new to freezer meals, you might want to read The Quick Start Guide to Freezer Meals. You can also check out our library of freezer meal recipes.