What’s the Deal with Freezer Cooking?

The following post is from Jessica of GoodCheapEats and LifeasMOM:

photo source: Jessica Fisher

Unless you live in a cave, you’ve probably heard the phrase “freezer cooking” a time or two. A google search reveals over 17 million results. A leisurely scroll through Pinterest? An indeterminate number of pins.

Freezer cooking, a practice our moms and grammas knew well, is seeing a rebirth in the 21st century.

But this isn’t the casseroles of yore laden with canned cream soups. Instead, batch cooking and freezing offers us a respite from commercially processed foods.

It gives us the opportunity to prepare healthy meals, customized to our own tastes and food preferences, that can be stored in the freezer and enjoyed at a later date.

Can it be healthy?

We all know that typical convenience foods are highly processed and chock full of dubious ingredients. Homemade is usually better for us, but we don’t always have time to make meals from scratch, especially on busy weeknights.

Freezer cooking allows you to make your own “convenience” foods that fit your goals. 

  • You control the ingredient list.
  • You determine the portion size.
  • You create customized meals more inexpensively than the storebought equivalents, even if they are gluten-free or adhere to certain dietary restrictions.
Bulk cooking and freezing gives you freedom from junk food, all the while allowing you to enjoy tasty meals.
photo source: Jessica Fisher

What can you freeze?

Well, almost anything. Unlike your typical TV dinner, freezer cooking offers you the flexibility to cook and freeze a main dish, like Tahini Vegetable Patties or Salsa Verde Beef as well as a simple side dish like Seasoned Beans. But, then on the night of serving, you liven things up with fresh vegetables and other condiments.

You get convenience as well as lots of fresh flavor.

While casseroles are still a tasty feature in a well-stocked freezer, there are plenty of other great meals and meal components that you can make and freeze.These include

  • enchiladas
  • manicotti and lasagna
  • soups, stews, and chilis
  • marinated meats
  • meat and vegetable sautes
  • burritos, wraps, and other sandwiches
  • quiche and other egg dishes
  • cakes, pies, and ice cream desserts
  • sauces and gravies
  • even homemade cream soups!

I’ve spent the last two years exploring these possibilities in my book, Not Your Mother’s Make-Ahead and Freeze Cookbook. Not only does this tome explain all the ins and outs of freezer cooking, but it also includes over 200 recipes to help you fill your freezer.

And no where in there will you find a can of cream soup.

What’s your take on freezer cooking?

A foodie at heart, Jessica Fisher has learned to reconcile a tight budget with her love for great food. As a busy mom of six voracious eaters, she regularly shares healthy, delicious and budget-friendly recipes at Good Cheap Eats. She also writes at her parenting blog, Life as MOM. She is the author of Not Your Mother’s Make-Ahead and Freeze Cookbook. This month she’s blogging 31 Days of Freezer Cooking as well.