I decided to put together some frozen meals now that we bought our deep freezer. I was concerned about the time commitment involved to do a bunch of different meals, however. That’s pretty intense to make 10-20 different freezer meals myself. As an alternative, I asked some other women in our moms group if they wanted to do a freezer meal exchange and I got together a group of about 6-7 people to do it. That way I could make a bunch of one meal (therefore saving on ingredients too, seeing I can buy ingredients in bulk at a savings at Costco AND I won’t be wasting, say, one whole bundle of parsley for one meal).
I opted to make 9 teriyaki chicken meals (I had a ton of soy sauce already that I wanted to use), leaving 6 for the swap, 2 for myself to freeze, and 1 for my husband’s coworkers who are having a baby this weekend (hopefully).
The recipe suggested to serve them over rice so I added a small baggy of long grain rice to go with each meal that will need to be cooked separately.
Important Safety and Quality Tips
- Once frozen and later defrosted, you shouldn’t refreeze. When you make your meals, make sure you aren’t using defrosted meal/vegetables. The USDA says it’s not actually going to hurt you, but that it might effect quality.
- Three months seems to be the good amount of time to keep meals frozen. They apparently can survive indefinitely, but the quality does go down if you wait too long. Also, the fresher the meat is when you freeze it, the better it will taste when you defrost and cook it. So it’s better to make the freezer meals immediately after you purchase the meat than to wait days to do it.
- Make sure you keep your freezer meals cold during transport: bring a freezer bag.
- USDA Freezing and Food Safety Tips (really interesting and helpful to read)
- The Busy Budgeting Mama: Freezer Crockpot Meals
- Stacy Makes Scents: Crockpot Freezer Cooking
- Six Sisters’ Stuff: 10 Slow Cooker Freezer Meals in 90 Minutes!
- Martha Stewart: Freezer Friendly Foods
- Martha Stewart: Baked Penne with Chicken and Sundried Tomatoes
- The Virtuous Wife: Freezer Meals
- Freezer Meals for Us
Organizational Forms by DIYDanielle
- Frozen Meal Exchange, Form 1: Recipe Card and Freezer Label
- Frozen Meal Exchange, Form 2: Sign up Spreadsheet