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Frugal Friday: Meal Planning & Freezer Cooking

So, how are your efforts to save money going? I have focused my efforts this week on reigning in my grocery bill. As I mentioned last week, I discovered several items in my pantry and freezer that I was able to use for meals this week. This week I want us to focus on meal planning and freezer cooking.

Photo Credit: myrecipes.com

This Week’s Idea

I have started dabbling in freezer cooking. I’m not a pro at it by any means, but I am learning some things that are saving me time and money. If you would like more information to get started on freezer cooking, click here.

This week I planned to make hamburgers one night. I bought extra ground beef and made up extra patties to put in the freezer for two more meals. I made them up at the same time I made the patties for that night’s meal. I used my bowl once to make 12 patties. I only had to clean it once for three meals worth of food.

One night we had great northern beans with ham in the slow cooker. There was plenty left over for me to freeze for another time.

And, one other night I made beef burritos. We had enough left over for another meal later in the week.

So, that brings me to meal planning. Having meals ready to go in the freezer can save you time and money down the road. Here are a few tips I’ve found that work for me:

  • Take inventory of what you already have on hand. For more information on how to do this, click here.
  • Make a list of your family’s favorite meals. Choose your meals for the week from this list.
  • Check your calendar to see what events may be happening the next week. Decide which nights you have more time to cook and determine when you may need your slow cooker or have leftovers.
  • Make your grocery list for the items that you need for the week.
  • Stick to your list. Try not to deviate from it at all if possible. Adding items to your grocery cart only drives your final bill higher. The goal is to save money, so don’t be distracted by things you do not need.

Homework

This week I want you to try your hand at meal planning and freezer cooking. Find some ways to incorporate freezer cooking into your week. You can try my example of making extra hamburger patties. Or maybe you want to try making up an extra meatloaf. Or, how about this? Put some chicken breasts in the slow cooker with chicken broth and cook for about six hours on low. Once they’ve cooled you can shred them and freeze in serving size portions. I’ve found two cups in a bag is enough for most recipes for my family of four.

Leave a comment and share what you’ve done this week to try freezer cooking or meal planning.

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