I've been hearing it from a lot of you, and mainly, that's why I've created this blog. It goes a little something like this, "Kristen, this all sounds GREAT, but......"
I'm not sure I have the freezer space? Sure you do! All of my meals fit nicely in to my standard sized freezer, along with frozen veggies, popsicles, chicken nuggets and other various items. It may take some cleaning out and re-arranging, but you can do it! I will admit, having a garage refrigerator is a nice help when I've made extras, and to be honest, I scored mine at a local scratch and dent place for around $65! It's definitely not a necessity, but it comes in handy.
Do I have to buy a lot of those disposable metal pans? No! In fact, I actually don't recommend those. They are very flimsy and tend to burn whatever I'm cooking in them and they aren't reusable. Just use what you are comfortable with or whatever you have on hand. I'm a HUGE fan of my Foodsaver www.foodsaver.com , that I received as a house-warming gift.
I often use Ziploc gallon sized freezer bags. These are great for soups, and sauces because they can be frozen flat and don't take up a lot of space. You can also fit a meatloaf, breads, casseroles and other various dishes into them. Just be sure to get the ones that say freezer on them, or else you may end up with the dreaded freezer burn! Tupperware containers work well too, I just tend to stay away from them since they take up a little more space.
Our budget is tight. Do I have the money to do this? Being in a single-income family, I understand where you are coming from. My grocery bills were starting to sky rocket at over $100 per week for 2 people and a baby. That's just crazy! I attribute it mostly to impulse spending and lack of planning. Statistics show that you are more likely to spend 30% more on your groceries if you just go in to grab a few things. It's funny how a bag of chips here, a case of cola there, can add up. Now that I have my menu planned out, I stick to my list, and clip my coupons. Now, I'm spending more like $200 per month, there's definitely room for improvement there, but that's already a 50% savings! Not to mention- we are saving a bundle by not eating out!
Are you Martha Stewart or something? I don't think have time for this. Ha! Hardly! Like you, I don't have time to cook a "nice, home cooked" dinner most nights. Juggling our busy activities makes it hard to just sit down and eat dinner together, but now I just pop my dinner in the oven, make a few simple sides and we're good to go. I actually found that it is easier for me to find time to block out a whole day once a month, versus blocking out a few hours each night to cook dinner. Do what works for you! Some people just make extra of their dinner each night and place it in the freezer, and some people make only enough meals to last one or two weeks. You will find which option works best for your schedule.
I like to eat healthy, would that be a problem? No, not at all. I'm always looking for ways to cut calories and make healthy meals. Typically, I use only 2% cheese instead of full fat, whole wheat flour vs. white, ground turkey vs. ground beef, and I slip veggies in at every chance I get. Frozen spinach is always added to our meatloaf, grated carrots to our pasta sauce, applesauce instead of oil in my baked goods etc. Also, we go meatless every Monday, and Thursdays are typically fish, which I don't freeze, because hey, I don't want to forget how to cook! It's the little changes that really add up over time, so feel free to make changes that suit your family's palate too. Also, think about the fat and calories you are saving by not going out to eat. Plus, if you add a vegetable or a fruit as your side dish to most of my entrees you will have a well-rounded home cooked meal.
What kind of recipes do you use? Really, they aren't anything special.
You will notice that I have a few different blogs and websites that I like to visit. This, along with my cookbooks, are where I find my menu inspirations. I've found that most of my everyday recipes freeze very well. If you are unsure, just make one of an entree to be sure that it is something you and your family will enjoy. Our family favorites are meatloaf, pastas dishes like Baked Ziti, Lasagna, and BBQ Chicken Pizza. All of the recipes that are posted on this site are the same recipes that I'm feeding my family, so chances are if we like them, you will like them too!
Still have questions? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org