If you’re looking to save money and don’t have much time to spare in your evenings, bulk cooking could be the answer for you. Buy cooking meals in larger quantities and then freezing them into individual portions, you can have instant ready meals during your week, save cooking time, and even take advantage of bulk discounts. Here are some examples of meals that lend themselves to bulk cooking and freezing.
You can freeze just about anything you make in a crockpot, including chicken and dumplings, American Chop Suey (goulash), beef stew and more. Make your favorite for dinner, except fill a six-quart crockpot. After the meal cools, pack enough for the family or individual servings in airtight containers, vacuum-sealed bags or zippered freezer bags.
You can also freeze your favorite casserole. If you do not make casseroles that often because you can’t eat them in one sitting, you can make them to your heart’s content – just freeze the leftovers in meal-size packages. You can freeze baked macaroni, shepherd’s pie, mac and cheese and even meat casseroles, such as pork, beef and chicken pot pies.
It’s more difficult to freeze stir fry and have it come out good when you reheat it, but you can still freeze part of it to save time and money. Stir fry a bulk portion of the meat you are using. Divide the meat and broth into meal-sized containers. When you’re ready to use them, thaw them out, cook the veggies, and then add the meat. You can also purchase stir fry vegetables and keep them in the freezer – that will save you a lot of prep time. Buy a few large bags and divide them up into meals size portions. Vacuum seal the veggies and meat separately, then put one meat and one veggie in a zippered freezer bag. You’ll only need to pull one bag out of the freezer for the whole meal.
If you’ve ever had a taste for turkey at some point other than Thanksgiving, you know that buying turkey breast costs much more per pound than it does to buy a whole turkey. When turkeys are on sale, pick up two or three of them. Put the extra turkeys in the freezer.
When you’re ready for turkey again, cook a turkey. Cut all of the meat off the bones. Divide it up into meal-sized portions for the whole family or individually. Put the leftover turkey in the freezer – you won’t have to go through the thawing and cooking process for a whole turkey later in the year.
You love fried chicken, but it’s a hassle to make. It makes a big mess, so you don’t make it that often. Between work and taking care of the family, you just don’t have the time to make it and clean up after. Instead, when chicken goes on sale, buy it in bulk. You can freeze some for later. Pick a day when you have a few hours. Fry enough chicken for several meals, then freeze it in airtight containers. You only have to heat it up in the microwave or the oven when you have a taste for fried chicken.