Frozen Assets: Cooking For Hours?!

by Deborah Taylor-Hough

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A month's worth of meals tucked away in the freezer can be a wonderful treat for any busy cook. On a hectic day, just heating a meal from the freezer can mean the difference between eating a nutritious homecooked dinner, or stopping by the local drive-thru for a quick "grab-a-burger-on-the-way-home" meal.

As nice as it is the rest of the month having those dinners tucked away in the freezer, that one long day of standing on your feet cooking can be exhausting. However, once you've finished cooking and have started enjoying those easy freezer-meals, you'll quickly forget all the labor that went into that freezer full of food (rather like "forgetting" the labor of childbirth after you hold the new baby in your arms!).

The following are some simple tips to keep in mind on cooking day to help lessen the exhaustion from a day standing on your feet for hours on end:

  • Wear supportive walking shoes. If possible, look into buying a pair of nurse's shoes, and even hiking boots can provide helpful foot support. Remember, this isn't the day to cook in bare feet or slippers.
  • See if you can locate a lower back brace like the ones you sometimes see people wearing in grocery stores.
  • Strong stomach muscles actually help ease the strain on your lower back when you're on your feet all day. Try doing some stomach strengthening exercises every day (sit-ups, leg lifts, etc.), and you'll probably notice a difference in the amount of back pain you feel after cooking.
  • Wear comfortable clothing.
  • Go to bed early the night before.
  • Eat a good breakfast.
  • Remember to stop for lunch (and sit down while you eat).
  • Take frequent mini-breaks.
  • Do as much meal preparation sitting down as possible. Either pull up a stool next to the counter or sit at the kitchen table whenever you can.
  • Plan a treat to look forward to afterward. Go out to dinner, go on a picnic, take a relaxing bat, or go to bed early.
  • Tell your spouse you'll make several of his/her favorite meals in exchange for a back rub or foot rub at the end of the day.

This freezer-meal recipe was submitted by Sherry S. from Olympia, Wash. Comments in ( )'s are Sherry's.

Broccoli Peanut Chicken

Serves 6

3 chicken breasts (I used boneless thigh meat at Costco)
1 medium onion (diced or use your food processor to slice up--- I did)
1 cup uncooked regular long-grain rice
2 tsp ground ginger
3 chicken bouillon cubes
1 1/2 cups boiling water
2 cups broccoli pieces
1 cup peanuts
1 1/2 cups cooked rice
1 cup steamed broccoli

Preheat oven to 375 F. In a microwave dish, add onion, chicken and one crushed bouillon cube. Cover and microwave on high for five minutes, stirring once. Add mushrooms, uncooked rice, boiling water, ginger and remaining bouillon cubes (crushed) into same dish. Cover and bake in oven for 30 minutes. Stir and add broccoli, making sure rice is covered with liquid. Bake another 10 minutes (I skipped this), stir in peanuts, cooked rice, and steamed broccoli. YUM! Serve right away, or cool and stuff in a freezer bag.

Sherry mentioned to me that this is one freezer meal that actually looks pretty while frozen in the freezer bags (I think only us true-blue freezer-meal cooks actually think or care about something like that!) ~Debi

Deborah Taylor-Hough is the author of the bestselling Frozen Assets: Cook for a Day, Eat for a Month and A Simple Choice: a practical guide for saving your time, money and sanity. She also edits the Simple Times email newsletter. To subscribe, visit Debi online at:

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