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This Shopping list will help you plan seven different recipes at a time. At the top of the list, you put the names of each meal. Then you go down the list and put the quantities of each item you will need for your recipe. The shopping list has the following categories:
- Canned Boxed Foods
- Sauces and Condiment
- Spices and Extracts
- Hard Goods (i.e.,. plastic bags, foil etc.)
How the Shopping List for Once a Month Cooking Works
I made a shopping list that will compile the ingredients and let you total them together the last time we did our freezer cooking, and it makes our shopping trip quick and easy. If you would like to download this shopping list you can do so by clicking on this link Freezer Cooking Shopping List
- Write the names of each recipe across the top.
- Put the quantity of each ingredient needed for that recipe in the column underneath it. You can use the notes section to the side to write specifics like diced, chopped, etc.
- After listing all ingredients total each ingredient to the LEFT! I know you are saying, “Isn't that backward?” Well yes, it is and here is why, when you go shopping the quantity of what you need is right next to the ingredient, so you do not have to drag your finger across the page. To make your shopping list more manageable cut the ingredient and quantity off before you go.
Prepping to cook freezer meals in one day:
- Shop the day before you cook not the day of. If you have time, shop your grocery flyers to get the best deals on each meat. Some stores price match, like Wal-Mart, so take your sales from others stores and they will match the price saving you run around time.
- This is much more fun to do with a friend. Wendy and I made over 30 meals starting around 10 am and getting done about 4 pm. We took our time and a few breaks.
- You will need multiple measuring spoons, measuring cups, a big bowl and pots so if you are cooking with a friend have them bring there’s as well.
- If you have kids, ask the Dad's to keep them busy or pitch in for a babysitter together.
- Wear comfortable shoes, comfy clothes (in my case yoga pants and a t-shirt) and put on some good music.
- Prep multiple recipes at once by dicing all your onions at one time browning all your hamburger together, etc., (see how to not cry when you chop onions here)
- Write the name of the recipe, date made, and if there are easy instructions like just an oven temp add that as well. Do this BEFORE you put ingredients in the bag.
- If you have a family of 4 and the recipe calls for six then double it, and you can make it into three meals.
The Best Way to Cook and Package Freezer Meals:
- If you have sauces, that need to cook, make these first so they can simmer while you are doing other things. Let them cool before bagging.
- If you are making recipes such as Manicotti, use a plastic gallon size bag and snip the bottom corner to fill them. No need for a fancy pastry bag.
- If your pasta comes with trays like Manicotti noodles, save these trays to put the shells back in for freezing, this will help them hold their shape while freezing. Slip the stuffed noodles into a freezer bag with the sauce in a separate bag.
- Some recipes do great in Freezer bags, I prefer Ziplock freezer bags. After you fill a bag, close it 75% then press out all the extra air before you finish closing it. Lay all your bags flat on a cookie sheet to transport to the freezer. Lay them flat in the freezer as well for faster thawing and space saving.
- When making recipes with stuffed chicken breasts, pork chops or any individual meat item such as hamburgers wrap each one in plastic wrap before putting them in a freezer bag. Now you can pull out only the amount you need each time. This tip is especially useful if you have kids that are often not there for dinner.
- Casseroles usually do better in pans so invest in some good glass ones with covers like mine or get throw away foil pans. Do not bother to get the foil pans with the plastic covers they are useless. You can wrap them in foil and plastic wrap, and they will do just fine.
- Get Reynolds Non-stick Foil for casseroles topped with cheese, trust me it is worth the extra pennies.
- Do everything in assembly line style. We made six pork roasts with the same recipe, so we set up all our bags and put one ingredient in all six bags; them went to the next ingredient. It's quicker and easier.
- Pull out all your ingredients before you start each recipe.
- Don’t be afraid to customize the recipe to your families tastes. If your kids don’t like, mushrooms leave them out or sub them with something else.
- If you have leftover onions, freeze them in 1 cup increments for using in recipes later. You can also freeze herbs in water, tomato paste and lemon juice in ice-cube trays then pop them out into freezer bags for later.
- Feel free to pop open a beer or bottle of wine while you cook it makes it more fun.
- Plan to have one of the meals you are making for dinner that night, trust me you won’t want to cook something else! You may even just order Pizza, which I know is so against what you are doing here, but it's sometimes necessary for your sanity.
- Lay your freezer bags flat in your freezer not standing up. You will fit lots more in.
- Make a list of what you have in your freezer and put it on the door so you can mark them off when you pull one out. This will always let you know what you have. You can also use a dry erase marker on your freezer door.
- If some of your meals are cooked first let the temp come down before you put it in the freezer, so it does not lower the temp of your freezer too much
- When you put a lot of freezer meals in at one time, it will take longer for them to freeze. It can take up to 2 days.
- How Long will your meals last?
- Raw Meats – Chicken 10 months, Fish 2-3 months, Ground Beef 3 months, Pork Roast 4-6 months, Beef Roast 7-9 months, and Pork Chops or Ribs 2-3 months, Steaks 7-9 months, Whole Chicken or Turkeys 6 months
- Cooked Meals – Meat and Poultry in Sauces 5-6 months, Pasta Dishes 2-3 Months, Sauces, Soups and Stews 5-6 Months, Side dishes 2-3 months, Quiche or Egg dishes 3 months