Several of you asked for details when my sweet Katie thanked me on FB for the freezer meals I recently brought her.
So here goes - what's up with freezer meals??

I use the term "freezer meals" when referring to anything I've prepared one day and stashed in my freezer to use at a later date.  A batch of muffins. A lasagna to be thawed and heated up. A concoction of chicken cacciatore ready for the slow cooker.  And everything in between.

When I had my second baby, I found myself ill equipped for family meal time.  The bottle for the baby I could handle but the food for the rest of our mouths was all too often carryout pizza or a microwaved potato and as many Tabs as were needed at the moment.  And trust me, that was a lot! The thing was, my family just kept wanting to eat!  Day after day after day.  Really!!!! 
My dear and wise MIL knew I needed help and figured out that an infusion of instruction might make a difference --- she gave me a book that changed the direction of mealtime at our house.  And I am forever grateful!

That book, Once a Month Cooking, presents a plan to cook an entire month's worth of meals in a day. It is phenomenal - complete with step by step instructions, recipes, and menu suggestions.  I think this book propelled an entire industry of make ahead meals. It rocks.

I, however, have never been able to master an entire day of cooking.  I think I have K-ADD (that would be "Kitchen Attention Deficit Disorder) and cannot keep focused on meal prep for that long.  But the principle of "cook now, eat later" stuck.  And it's been a lifesaver!

You don't have to carve out an entire day or purchase 31 freezer containers in order to employ this tactic.  Just work it into your life a bit at a time and pretty soon you'll wind up with a freezer ready to meet the needs of breakfast when you slept late, a homecooked meal during Little League playoffs, and dinner to deliver to the new mom on your street.  Right now, my freezer's contents include several loaves of homemade strawberry bread, chicken and dumplings, meatloaf, Salisbury steaks, homemade meatballs, chicken cacciatore, thai pork, lasagna, baked ziti, breakfast casserole,chicken enchiladas, ground beef for tacos, and cooked shredded chicken for casseroles.
All without a large expenditure of time or effort - that's the best!

I invite you to try your hand at equipping your freezer to meet the demands of your family.

Assignment #1-
Sometime today or tomorrow, make a double batch of muffins.  Whichever kind your family likes.  Chocolate chip or blueberry or yummy morning glory muffins
Serve some for breakfast and package the rest for the freezer, ready to be pulled out one morning when you are pressed for time.  Add some bacon and a piece of fruit and you will bless your family!

Assignment #2 - make a double loaf of breakfast bread.  My family loves banana chocolate chip or strawberry and both are frequent short term guests in my freezer.  I love having them on hand not just for our breakfast but especially to gift to friends!

Assignment #3 is really easy and especially handy - don't stress out over the fact that I want you to do two things :) 
1.  Cook 2-3 lbs chicken breasts in the crock pot, seasoned however you like, all day.  Before you head to bed, shred the chicken and package in meal sized portions in freezer bags
2.  Brown 3 lbs of ground beef (with onions if your family likes them) and package in three separate freezer bags to use for tacos or spaghetti sauce on nights you won't have time to prepare dinner.

Assignment #4 - plan to serve a recipe one night this week that can be doubled or tripled and stash the rest in your freezer.  Suggestions - chili, lasagna, spaghetti casserole, chicken enchiladas, poppy seed chicken, ravioli soup.       
This is a link to Love for my Living Letters ,a few of my family's favorite dishes, including several that freeze great (cheese grits, ravioli soup, granola, cookies, etc)
If this link doesn't work, just look for the link on the right side of the blogsite.

One last suggested assignment to get you started -
Prepare 2-3 meals ready to be plopped in the slow cooker and simmered all day. I found several really easy and inexpensive ones here

Another book that is a handy resource for me is called Frozen Assets

You don't have to prepare a whole month's worth of meals....just get some muffins baked and you'll be on your way to stress-free homecooked meals!!