Decide how many entrées you want to make.
We freezer cooks get a bad rap sometimes because once we begin this venture, people expect us to eat an “out-of- the-freezer home-cooked meal” every night. But most of us don’t live that way. Be realistic. Freezer cooking is about doing what works for YOU. If you still want to eat out on Sundays and order pizza on Friday nights, that’s fine. Plan for it. You’re down to 5 dinners a week now. Is there a night when you always clean up the leftovers? Plan for it. Do you eat at Mom’s every Monday night? No reason to stop now.
Decide how often you want to freezer cook.
If you’re planning to be a once-a-month cook who needs about 20-25 entrées, we suggest that you choose about 6-8 recipes and make 3 of each. If you cook more often than that, you should still do several recipes but you will be building up a variety over more than one cooking day.
Try out new recipes to be sure that you like them.
It’s always a good idea to try a recipe out on the family before adding it to your Assembly Day list. Sometimes, a recipe might be an “adults only” recipe while others may fall into the “all of us plus guests” category. This is the time to decide whether you want to make any changes to the recipe such as increasing spices or adding/leaving out veggies.
Go through your own favorite recipes to see which ones can be incorporated into your cooking using Worksheet B.
All of the recipes in our book and those on this website are suitable for freezer cooking but, of course, you have favorite recipes that you might want to assemble as well. Just use the information on the next page to determine whether your recipe can be frozen. Use Worksheet B and our Multiplication Chart for Recipes to create your own multiplied out recipe. You can also use the online version of the worksheet by accessing the Members’ section of our website and clicking on the “worksheets” section.
Once you’re sure of a recipe, always make more than one. Even if you are doing a “mini-session”, make multiples. You can put 15-20 chicken entrées into the freezer on a Saturday morning if you choose 3-4 recipes and make 5 of each. The time you save really adds up. All of our recipes are multiplied out in columns making it very easy to assemble several of each. We’ve done the hard math problems for you.
Choose a variety of “easy” and “hard” recipes.
By taking a look at the recipe’s directions, you can decide whether it will be an “easy” or “hard” recipe to assemble. For example, meats in marinades like the Orange Marmalade Pork Chops or the Rosemary Sage London Broil go together very quickly. On the other hand, recipes like the Crab and Portobello Stuffed Chicken or the Shrimp and Pork Pot Stickers are a bit more time intensive but well worth the extra effort.
Always assemble at least one slow cooker meal.
Slow cookers are great. You’re not limited to using them for wintertime soups and stews. Sandwich fillings, Macaroni and Cheese, and all sorts of other foods can be done in the slow cooker. You can start a recipe the night before cooking day and when you wake up you already have one meal done.
Be sure that your recipe can be frozen.
Food in your freezer, as long as it is at 0 degrees F. or below, does not spoil or become harmful to you. More foods freeze well than not. All of the recipes in our book and on this website freeze fine. It would be impossible to list every particular food or food ingredient here. The internet provides a wealth of information about freezing at your fingertips. If you have a question about a particular food that we haven’t covered, do a quick search and an answer is bound to pop up in a moment. You can also check the information that came with your freezer (you do keep that stuff, right?)
Learn more about the rules of freezer cooking in our Big Book of Freezer Cooking.
Note: You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer in order to view the book. Click here to get a FREE copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader.