I'll be having surgery that will force me out of the kitchen for a month or so. With two High school boys and a husband... this is a scary prospect! I'm hoping my husband won't choose canned ravioli and pasta for a month! Yikes. My husband is a boiling water, burgers in the broiler and salad kind of cook! Basically, I'm the live in chef! I'm extremely well versed in the kitchen, would welcome ideas of all shapes and sizes! BTW, my 14 year old is a wiz in the kitchen, a chef in the making!
I got into the habit of cooking a bunch of stuff every other weekend (every week may be necessary for your family). I make batches of spaghetti sauce, pot pie filling, chicken Parmesan, all sorts of soups, taco meat, enchiladas, a variety of casseroles, meatloaf, etc...anything you can make and freeze. Then portion it out into serving sizes that fit your family's needs. Pull it out of the freezer in the morning, add a veggie or salad, and dinner is ready in 30 minutes or less.
I actually started doing this when there were just 2 of us at my house and we were on different schedules. I put meals into individual serving sizes, so my son could warm up a meal before he went off to class. I could also take a portion to work for lunch. I've told others that you just build up a rotation in the freezer. Make a double batch and freeze half. In a few weeks you'll have a lot ready in the freezer if you don't have a weekend to spend cooking.
I also make cookie dough and freeze it in a zipper bag. Make sure to write the cooking time & temp. When you get ready to bake them, bu the tip off the end of the zip bag and squeeze out your cookies. Fresh baked cookies if you can't eat a whole batch at one time.
Another plus, in the hot summer, you only spend one day heating up the house cooking and baking.
I am really glad to see a freezer meal group here. I have done freezer meals on and off for 20 years. They were most handy when I was commuting to work. I would make a weeks worth of meals on Sunday. Made life soo much easier. I am very lucky to be able to work from home now, so I haven't really put many things in the freezer.
I would like to get back to freezing meals again because life is always busy. I also feed the needy once a week and think I could utilze this technique for this also. Thanks for sharing, I hope to be sharing some old favorites soon!
I buy ground beef in bulk. When I divide it, I always have some I cook in crumbles for a fast start to many casseroles, and taco's etc. I freeze the cooked meat in freezer bags in the amount I need for a family size recipe. Doesn't take much extra time, but it really helps! Plus it's cheaper.
When I freeze my uncooked ground beef, I freeze it in a gallon size or quart size freezer beg, and pat them flat then freeze them in a stack. They take up less room that way and are much quicker to defrost. I have even cooked Wendy's shape hamburgers, by cutting into squares while meat was still partially frozen. Much faster, and again because of bulk, cheaper!