Give Baking Day and freezer meals a try and save yourself some time during the week!
"Baking Day" on the Weekend
by Juju Mommy
Making Fresh Freezer Meals
Using a Freezer Effectively
Freezing Food Staples
I have several blogs that I read and something that seems to be a really popular theme lately is what is referred to as a "Baking Day." This is a day where you make a to-do list of items to bake for the freezer, to be taken out later when you want to eat them. Items such as pancakes, muffins, quick breads, etc. are perfect for this. It's a great idea because, in the long run, it saves you a lot of time in the kitchen and the items end up being a lot cheaper than any other on-the-go breakfast item (not to mention much healthier!).
I don't necessarily do "Baking Day," but I do a general "Cooking Day" pretty much each weekend. My main method of meal preparation is to do freezer meals. These are meals that I cook in large batches and then freeze in individual portions (enough for a meal for a family of four) to be taken out later for dinner. I started this while in preparation for maternity leave with my first child and have been cooking this way ever since! It's saved me tons of money, time and stress. My typical freezer meals are spaghetti sauce, gumbo, taco meat, various kinds of soup, beef stew, BBQ pulled pork, red beans, white beans, lasagna, muffins, pancakes, banana bread, etc. Another bonus of cooking in bulk is that I get to purchase in bulk! And I can purchase things cheaper in season and cook for the next few months. If you want to give freezer meals a try slowly, then just get in the habit of cooking larger meals and freezing the extra. If you do this at least a couple times a week, you will fill your freezer quicker than you'd realize!
On Sunday, I make my menu for the week. I usually write it down on a menu pad I have on the fridge, but I will admit that sometimes I just make a mental menu. I then go to my freezer and take out the items that we will eat for the week. I put them all in a pan and put in the fridge to defrost. Having a menu plan for the week helps me to remember to defrost things in time, eliminates the constant "what are we having for dinner?" question, and it helps me to make sure that I am using things before they expire and rotate my food storage.
This weekend I've "cooked" a couple of things. Yesterday (and I'm finishing up today), I dehydrated two large batches of mushrooms. I've dehydrated many things but never mushrooms so this is a first for me. I also have a large basket of apples (they are on sale for $1 per pound at Wal-Mart right now) to dehydrate, but I don't know if I'll have time for that today (I may do them over night and just put up in the morning before I go to work). I cooked a large breakfast casserole this morning, and once it cools, I will wrap individual servings in plastic wrap and put in my freezer breakfast bin (a container just for breakfast things). Tonight I plan to do some blueberry pancakes, too.
So, you get the idea. Why don't you give it a try? Schedule a Baking Day or just a general Cooking Day and save yourself some time during the week! If your kids are old enough, get them involved!
Take the Next Step:
- For more on freezing baking day bounty and freezer meals, please click The Dollar Stretcher Library.
- For all things "Groceries & Food," please visit the Dollar Stretcher library section.
- Visit our Pinterest board for Smart Couponing and Grocery Budgeting.
- Do you struggle to get ahead financially? Then you'll want to subscribe to our free weekly Surviving Tough Times newsletter aimed at helping you 'live better...for less'. Each issue features great ways to help you stretch your dollars and make the most of your resources. Subscribers get a copy of our ebook Little Luxuries: 130 Ways to Live Better...For Less for FREE!
Discuss "Cooking Ahead" in The Dollar Stretcher Community
Share your thoughts about this article with the editor.
More Tips & Tools to Help You
Live Better...For Less
- 4 secrets to being a frugal foodie
- 7 restaurant tricks you shouldn't fall for
- The 12 best bargains for shoppers in April
- 9 secrets to making groceries last longer
- Sizzling tips for searing meats
- Recipes for homemade seasoning mixes
- Awesomely cheap good chili
- How to know what you're getting when purchasing ground beef