I've mentioned in other posts that I like to use the zippered freezer bag method to get meals in my freezer for ease of preparation on days that I have too much to do (in other words, every day!) So here's how we do things at my house (and how I share that with others).
First of all, I definitely stock up when things are on sale - that seems fairly simple, right? Well, as long as you pay attention I guess. I find that meat is sometimes hard to find at a good price - and I guess when I say meat I'm talking about "protein" in general....so chicken, pork, beef, etc. We have a freezer full of venison, so that helps (except if you take into consideration the ACTUAL price per pound of that deer having to factor in all the hunting expenses... yikes... yet again, I digress!) But we can't, or rather, I don't want to, serve venison every single night. So I do have to keep my eyes open for other deals on chicken and pork especially. Another way to do it is try to buy in bulk from discount clubs, etc. Or maybe you are lucky enough to get in on purchasing a whole cow or something like that. Whatever the case, get your meat at the best deal possible.
Then, for me it's a matter of implementing the 4 Meals in 4 Minutes system that I found when I started using Homemade Gourmet products. I used the products for quite a few years first, and then just over a year ago became a consultant. That story is likely a post for another day. Today I want to focus on the freezer meal part of this.
So here's the deal-i-o. You need freezer storage bags, meat, seasoning, and other canned goods, etc. to get started. For me, it's sort of like getting your pantry and your freezer to work nicely together, rather than get on your nerves by arguing all day like a 2 year old and 5 year old. Oh wait... I think I'm getting sidetracked - maybe because I'm getting climbed all over.
Start with your zippered freezer bag - make sure it's one that won't leak! I always test mine before my J.A.M.ers come over with my own meal. Can you imagine if I sent everyone home with a slew of leaky meat juice and condensed soup bags? Yuck. No more J.A.M. attendees either I bet! My personal favorite is definitely Ziploc brand freezer bags.
The great part is, it's SO EASY to get a bunch of meals quickly, efficiently, and (most important) cheaply into your freezer.
- Label your bag with the name of your meal, date, and cooking options. A Sharpie black permanent marker works great for the labeling. When my J.A.M. attendees come over, I have pre-printed on 2x4 inch the meal options for them to just slap onto their bag. But when I do my own personal meals at home, I use a Sharpie.
- Into your bag goes whatever the recipe calls for - for example, if you're doing Hawaiian Chicken (or pork if you prefer)...3-4 Tbsp of BLT Dip Seasoning, a 15 oz can of pineapple tidbits (or chunks, since I can only see BARELY a difference between the two), a Tbsp of low-sodium soy sauce, 2 Tbsp of honey, and 3 pounds of your choice of boneless, skinless chicken breast or pork chops
- (The Minis' favorite part) SMOOSH it all together.
- Throw (or gently set, your choice) it in the freezer. VOILA!
Back to where we started, what is J.A.M.? Just. Add. Meat. Come on over, pick your meals, put them together in your Ziploc Gallon-size freezer bag. Then go home, and just add meat. Get it?
That's kinda the gist of it. Get to work!
I'd love to hear what YOU do to make life easier in the kitchen. And as always, if you have questions because (gasp) I didn't explain this in a way that makes sense to you, please feel free to ask away!