I’m back again with another update to freezer cooking. Last week I touched a bit on how my kitchen stays cleaner due to freezer cooking. This week I’m going in depth on how I keep a clean kitchen now that I’m freezer cooking plus how freezer cooking helped to keep my dirty dishes at a minimum.
It didn’t take long after becoming a full time work at home mom for me to realize I needed to manage my time better. It’s easy to spend an entire day cleaning and not get any work done. It’s also just as easy to spend an entire day at your computer screen and not do anything around the house.
When I started looking into better time management options I started with ways to minimize the time spent in my kitchen daily. So I started looking into freezer cooking. Friends of mine had told me how awesome it was not only for diets but for money and time savings too.
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I immediately went to Pinterest to find freezer cooking meals. Of course then I tried putting together the grocery list for the meals I had chosen. Before I realized it I spent 3 hours trying to plan a menu and put a list together. This was not going to work. That was until I was introduced to Once a Month Meals.
Once a Month Meals makes it so easy to plan an entire month’s worth of freezer cooking. They have loads of recipes to choose from. Plus the grocery lists and recipe cards are automatically compiled when the recipes are picked.
Shortly after starting freezer cooking I noticed a pretty awesome perk that came with it. I was doing less dishes. Hallelujah, I wasn’t spending 30 minutes in the kitchen after dinner cleaning up the mess.
I want to share with you how to save boatloads of time and keep a clean kitchen with freezer cooking.
Before you start your prep work make sure your kitchen is clean and dishwasher unloaded. This goes a long way to keeping space available in your kitchen during the prep process.
First, look over your prep work. If you need to start cooking items in the oven go ahead and start cooking them. Measure out all the ground beef you need to cook in the pan and start cooking it on the stove top, chicken or pork in the oven baking.
While the meat cooks chop up any vegetables you need to and place them in separate bowls off to the side. Once the meats are cooked place them in bowls to start cooling. Cook any bacon or vegetables as they finish quickly. Finally you will cook any noodles or rice your recipes call for.
Now start packaging your food recipe by recipe in marked plastic bags. I only use bags even if they call for them to go into a pan. This helps me save room in my limited freezer space.
For instance, this baked ravioli recipe calls for the ingredients to go into a pan I instead left the frozen raviolis in their bag, put the sauce that was pre-made in quart sized bags in the fridge and then did the layering on cook day.
It saved room in my freezer and keeps my baking dishes freed up for the random cookie or brownie baking day. So while it’s not as simple as pulling out the baking dish it takes two minutes to assemble and pop in the oven. Plus there are no additional prep dishes.
Wash as you Go
On Prep day as soon as you are done using a pan, bowl, or dish rinse it out and load it into the dishwasher. It’s out of your way and once you are finished it’s nothing more than a wipe down of counter tops and running the dishwasher.
After cooking the meal immediately pop whatever you cooked with in the sink with soapy water. Load the dishwasher directly after dinner and you have yourself a clean kitchen in less than 5 minutes.
The key is to just do it right away. It makes it easier to clean and less time spent cleaning up after dinner.
Pick the Right Meals
If you want to minimize your dishes for day of cooking pick your method of cooking easily. Use the crockpot or a baking dish.
In order to keep prep day dishes down pick bag and freeze type items to minimize cooking needed. By picking mostly items that require very little cooking prep you not only save time but you also save yourself from cleaning dishes the day of prep.
I recommend picking maybe three or four meals that need to be cooked on prep day and leave the rest to bag and freeze. I find this saves a lot of time and makes cooking days extremely easy.
Pick Dump and Bake Meals
Dump and bake meals are the best because they are either pre cooked or bagged together and frozen. Most dump and bakes sit in a nice marinade during the entire defrosting period which means everything has excellent flavor.
There are also meals that you bag the items separately and then dump them all together into a crockpot or baking dish for when it cooks.
For instance, we decided to have the Crock Pot Chicken and Stuffing, which was delicious by the way. I put the chicken into the crockpot first, then the stuffing, then a mixture of ingredients that were prepped together before frozen. I turned the slow cooker on low and let it cook. Threw away the bags and waited till dinner.
After dinner I popped the crockpot in the sink to soak. Then before bed loaded the dishwasher and let it run with all the other daily dishes.
That was it. No extra bowls for mixing up anything just dump and done.
Keep a Clean Kitchen
Even if your dishwasher isn’t full just load it up and then load it some more the next day until you can run it full. So not only are you saving time on dishes, you’re saving money on your water bill and dishwashing soap too.
My kitchen is clean all the time now. I never have to worry about unexpected guests arriving at my door and my kitchen being a disaster. Freezer cooking has been a real time saver in everything that I do.
Once a Month Meals is the best thing to happen to me for meal planning. I save money, time, my kitchen stays cleaner, and I actually have ambition to bake those brownies now.
Have you tried freezer cooking yet? If you have questions leave a comment below and I’ll be happy to answer them for you. Follow me on Pinterest and Pin this to your favorite food or organizing boards.