Sunday, August 05, 2012

What’s for Dinner?

That seems to be one of the favorite questions around my house and it is asked on a daily basis.
Cooking?  I can do it, will do it, but it isn’t one of my favorite things, not even in the middle. 
To help with the cooking, I try to do some cooking ahead.  Last year, Erin and I made several freezer meals from this book:

Image from Amazon
Erin and Chris liked everything we made, the twins, not so much. 
I liked most of the meals, loved the ease of pulling something out of the freezer and the fact there was something always in the freezer to answer, “What’s for Dinner?”  Not too mention, the fact after late nights of work, sports or school activity, I could pull out a meal to warm up, instead of driving through fast food.
I would highly recommend this book, if you don’t have picky eaters (opinionated, too). Smile
This year, a different plan of action after I saw this on Pinterest.

The food isn’t cooked ahead, just packaged ahead and put in the freezer.  Pull out the meal the night before, let defrost in the refrigerator, put in the crock pot in the morning and that evening a wonderful home cooked meal.
Click here for my pin
Click here for the site and recipes and information
This morning I made a list, went to the grocery store and made 8 different recipes for the freezer (2 meals each recipe).  I also browned several pounds of hamburger for the freezer.  Then I can pull out 1 pound bags of cooked hamburger for soups, pastas, etc.  I add taco seasoning to some of the hamburger, too and freeze the taco seasoned meat.
Now, I can answer, “What’s for Dinner?”   But in a sad note, tomorrow starts school softball, this is my last year with that type of event.  The twins are seniors.
I am now off to wipe my tears but first one question:
Do you have any tips for make ahead meals?


  1. This is such a terrific idea! I'm like you, not very keen on cooking, so I might give this a go! Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. Sophie8:22 AM

    One thing I do is every time I make soup I make a triple or quadruple batch and freeze 1/2-3/4 of it. This works espeically well with purees because the consistency stays the same. For "cream of" soups I freeze before adding the cream and then add the cream on the reheat so it stays fresh.

  3. Last Friday I enrolled my last child in school, it was the 22nd year in a row that I had enrolled a child. I was thrilled at the time thinking I am DONE! I sent a text to my family and told them that I was so excited. Then I went to my office and "Slipping through my Fingers" from Mama Mia came up on my playlist. The tears started flowing and didn't went by so quickly!!

  4. Thanks for the inspiration! I'm not very good with make ahead dinners beyond freezing spagetti sauce, so I definitely appreciate the new ideas!

  5. OMG!! How crazy is it that we are so much alike. My daughter and I just did some "assembly" cooking you should check of the Dreams Dinners book on Amazon, that's what I used for inspiration.

  6. It's the age old question at my house too. I love the crockpot, but this definitely is a fabulous idea that I'm going to have to incorporate. Thanks for the inspiration!

  7. I like to make hamburger patties and freeze them. DH can't eat most ground beef, so I buy about 4 pounds of the really expensive stuff, add Montreal Steak Seasoning to it and mix it in the Kitchenaid. I make 1/4 pound patties (with a kitchen scale--they cook uniformly if they're uniform size), and that makes a lot of BBQ meals for 3 of us!

    I bought a vacuum sealer this year, so after I flash freeze them on a cookie sheet, I package them in 2s and 3s with waxed paper in between and vacuum seal them for storage. So far so good.

    DH has also become a thermometer fanatic. He checks the temp on the inside instead of trying to guess. They always turn out great!

  8. In our busy lives, I think that we all consider cooking such a chore, whether you love or hate to do the actual job, we run run run and just having the time to do it right is hard. I have been doing more crockpot meals and trying to get some 'freeze ahead' things done as well, because you and I are about to get busy, or at least, so we hope! :)