There are days when I really don’t want to cook; sometimes it’s hot outside, or I’m tired, or I’m hungry and nothing in the pantry seems to look good. On days like this, I used to pop over to a local drive-thru and pick up ‘value’ meals for everyone. What was I thinking?
Having a menu and shopping from a list helps curb my lack of desire to cook a little bit, but not nearly enough. There are still days when I want to be lazy. I’ve come up with a solution that works for me. I’ve turned my freezer into a drive-thru. It’s simplicity on steriods.
I didn’t buy expensive microwave meals. I just started cooking extra so I have leftovers to freeze on a regular basis. Now my freezer is filled with delicious foods that I cooked from scratch. All I have to do is reheat them. In most cases, it takes me less time to reheat a meal from the freezer than it does to get the kids ready to drive to the local fast food joint.
How did I start my freezer stash? It was a very gradual process, and it’s easy for anyone to do – I started by freezing cooked meat and beans. I soak and cook two bags of beans intead of half of a bag, Instead of 1 chicken, I’ll roast 2 (425F for 1.5 hrs), Instead of cooking 1lb of ground beef, I cook 10lbs, Instead of making 6 hamburgers, I cook 12 or 18, I cook a quadruple batch of pancakes every week, I double my bread recipe, I cut up twice the veggies, and store the extras after they are cooked.
I store all of the extras in portion sizes that will feed my family or individual sizes that my husband can take to work with him, and I mark everything really well. When I start to feel lazy, instead of stressing out about what is for supper or making plans to go out, I can pull some ready made meals out of the freezer and reheat them.
It does cost me a little bit extra up front, the freezer bags and storage containers can add up – but it’s saved me money in the long run. More importantly, I feel better about the food we are putting into our bodies. I know what the ingredients are, I know my family will eat it, and I know I don’t have to feel trapped in the kitchen when I’d rather be spending an evening beating my kids at monopoly. 😛