Adventures in Batch Cooking, Ooking, Ooking

Do you like my attempt at echoing in print?

May isn't quite over yet, but it has been a heck of a month for our family, especially me. Allergies attacked with full force this year and I ended up getting a sinus infection. I also found out this month that I have sleep apnea. After a very interesting sleep study, I found out that I woke up 81 times in the night and that the longest I stopped breathing was a minute and six seconds. Scary. Those two things coupled together roughly equals no sleep and a zap to my energy level. Thankfully, I have recovered from my sinus infection and I should be getting a CPAP machine soon. Not entirely thrilled about having a mask on my face while I sleep, but the prospect of having a good nights sleep has overshadowed that thought. No more half dead days wishing that I could curl up on the couch and take a nap at eight in morning.
My new sleeping gear.
What does this have to batch and freezer cooking you ask. Well I will tell you. I am really getting tired of whining about how much we spend on going out to eat on days where I'm too tired to cook or just too busy. And if I'm tired of it, you must be exhausted of reading about it. So the Wah!mbulance is leaving and the days of being proactive are here.

In comes some batch and freezer cooking. I have always thought about doing this, but we don't have a ton of freezer space and I have a bunch of other excuses, but I am done with excuses. Time for a game plan and to start I had a few questions that needed answering.

What kind of container should I freeze my food in?
So far it looks like you can freeze food in almost anything, but the best piece of advice I read was on Yahoo Answers (it's not just for stupid questions) was that you should store your frozen food according to how you want to heat it back up.

  • Wrapping burritos in freezer paper to heat up in the microwave 
  • Ziplock bags for soup to defrost in fridge and heat on stove 
  • Casseroles in a freezer safe casserole dish to put in the oven.
That does seem like common sense, but it does help me through a bit of unchartered territory.

What foods can I freeze?
Again, it looks like you can freeze just about anything, with a few exceptions. This is getting easier by the second.

Do I have to change my recipes if I am planning on freezing?
For the most part no, but when freezing noodle dishes like lasagna or macaroni and cheese you may want to add more than normal sauce/liquid to ensure a better tasting dinner. I'm sure there is a more technical reason, but this was the advice I read across the board.

Is there a place I can get recipes for freezer cooking?
You bet your bippy there is.
I really enjoy Once A Month Mom. Very organized and have separate categories for vegan and whole foods.
Life As Mom has a great list of recipes too.
Google might be your best friend when searching for a recipe.

Is there a way I can take this to the extreme?
You bet your sweet bippy there is.
Once a month cooking, it can also be called power cooking, bulk cooking, but I like to call it not-sure-I-could-pull-this-off, maybe-it's-something-you-work-up-to cooking dedication. There are people who cook an entire month of meals in one or two days time. I am in awe of people who can do this, if only for money reasons, but also that is some kitchen stamina. More power cooking to you!
Not gonna happen. Doesn't mean it wouldn't be nice.
How am I going to start this adventure?
My plan is to start small and try to build a decent freezer backup system for my lazy hectic days. For the next couple weeks/months is to double up on two dinners in the week. Like this week we are having burritos one night and macaroni and cheese another, these recipes will be doubled and one half will go straight to the freezer. I just have to keep myself motivated to not deplete the backup, and keep the rotation going.

I just wanted to say thank you so much for everyone's comments on my complainy post about eating out. There were some fantastic and helpful suggestions. 

This was featured on Festival of Frugality at Bible Money Matters