Be Prepared. This post is long!
My Foray into Freezer Cooking
I've tried freezer cooking in the past. Sometimes using my own recipes and sometimes using ones from a freezer cooking service or cookbook.
I was first introduced to freezer cooking from a coworker/friend over 20 years ago. She mentioned how when she cooked for her family she would double the recipe and put one meal away in the freezer for future meals! Wow what a concept! I had never heard of a such a thing and immediately thought it was ingenious! So I decided to do the same with some of my favorite (easy to cook) dishes.
If you don't know what it is freezer cooking is when you prepare a meal and instead of cooking it you put it in a freezer bag or a foil pan, cover and label it, and set it in the freezer for a future dinner.
It is fabulous and it is time saved.
Not all Freezer Meal PLans are the Same
But not all freezer meals come out right. Some stuff doesn't freeze well. And some food items need to be prepared specially before freezing.
Freezer cooking is such a time saver and even money saver that it's worth it to find the recipes and systems that work for you.
It helps to use a freezer meal planning service where tested recipes are all organized for your with prepping details, shopping lists, and cooking instructions.
With MyFreezEasy Erin made the extra claim that you could make 10 meals in an hour! And that, that little tidbit made it stand out from the others for me! I was all over that!
Freezer cooking can be very time consuming. There are even some freezer cooking plans that take 2 days! One day for shopping and one day for cooking. I don't mind shopping on one day and cooking the next but these were all day affairs and I just did not have time for that. Even if it was for a month's worth of meals.
And there were freezer meal plans where you pretty much opened cans of sauces and dumped them into bags with chicken. That's okay once in a while but for every meal?! That would get old in my house in a hurry.
So I used a mixture of my favorite meal plans and attempted to freeze the meals l liked the best. It wasn't the best system but it worked. Until MyFreezEasy.
MyFreezEasy is on an online membership freezer cooking plan where you receive access to different menus each month. The price for an annual premium membership is $95 a year. There are other options at the bottom of the join page.
A MyFreezEasy Premium membership includes
8 12 different meals plans per month.
In the following categories ….
- Traditional Plan – Your basic meals
- Dump Dinners – All in a bag
- Gluten-Free Plan – Gluten-free including sides
- Slow Cooker Plan – Freezer to slow cooker style
- Instant Pot – Designed for your Instant Pot
- Clean Eats Plan – Meals using all clean ingredients.
- Paleo/ Keto – If you're eating Paleo like or Keto meals
- 20 Meals Plan – Like Traditional but you get 20 meals instead of 10
- All Chicken Plan – This is 10 meals from recipes using chicken breasts or chicken thighs. When you see a chicken sale stock up!
- All Ground Beef Plan – This is 10 meals with recipes featuring ground beef. When you see a ground beef sale stock up!
- All Pork Chops Plan – This is 10 meals with recipes using pork chops or pork tenderloin. When you see a pork sale stock up (I severely messed up on this)!
The MyFreezEasy Process
When you subscribe to MyFreezEasy each month you'll get
8 12 new menus complete with shopping lists, prep day tips, cooking tips, and labels to print out from your computer.
The printable for your freezer cooking session are really well organized and make prep time go much smoother. REALLY well organized!
At the initial writing of this post I had just printed out my fourth plan so I'll go through what all the forms for you.
- First there is the Table of Contents with a section for the Recipes (listing them by name), Shopping Lists (there are 4), and Assembly pages (there are two).
- Next come the Recipe Pages. Each recipe gives the ingredients, cooking directions for a single meal, and assembly directions for 2 meals (this is where you'll know how to put your meal together for the recipe). It also includes cook time, freezing and thawing instructions, special notes, dietary considerations, and side dish suggestions.
- Next comes the Shopping Lists. There are four;(1) a shopping list organized by recipe, (2) a shopping list by store department, (3) a shopping list for just freezer prep day by recipe (no side dishes or add ons for after cooking), (4)and a shopping list for freezer prep day by store category.
- Finally there are the Meal Assembly Instructions with details on what to cook in order and what to chop and the page for Assembly by recipe.
I wish I could tell you which page is the most important but really depending upon what stage you are on any page could be your most important. They are all good. Sometimes I've just whipped up one recipe for the day and so that would make the recipe page most important. When you go shopping your shopping lists are gold. On freezer prep day you will love that prep sheet.
I'm going shopping today and my most important page is the Complete Shopping List by Store Category. I don't know what days I'll be using what meals so I'm going to pick up any sides that will keep for a while such as rice, baked beans, and parmesan cheese. What? You didn't know parmesan cheese was a side?
The My FreezEasy App
Another great bonus of MyFreezEasy Premium Membership is the MyFreezEasy apps you add to your phone or tablet for, in the store, meal planning. I've used it many times and actually use it more than the web browser site.
Within the app you can build your meal plans, see your shopping lists, view assembly instructions, and even print recipes and labels.
Can You Really Make 10 Meals in one Hour?
Each month Erin films a one hour session of herself making the Traditional Freezer Menu Plan. She talks tips, shortcuts, and how she's going to serve the meals all while keeping a steady pace in the kitchen. At the end of an hour she has 10 meals ready to go. Her prep time is actually more like 45 minutes so with practice I see the time getting shorter. (you get access to these videos as a member).
Erin also films shorter videos highlighting one of the other plans (such as clean eating or gluten free) and letting you know any tips or ideas there.
If you are unhappy with the recipes in any plan you can swap them out for other recipes in the database. I don't know if this includes all past meals or not. My brain hasn't registered that fact but I have pulled in the ground turkey burgers and the sloppy joes into two of my menu plans.
You can also build a menu plan from scratch picking from the following categories…
- Type of Protein : Chicken, Ground Beef, Other Beef, Pork Chop, Other Pork, Fish, Vegetarian
- Cooking Method : Slow Cooker, Dutch Oven or SaucePan (stovetop), Baked, Grill, One Dish Meals
- Dietary Preference : My Favorites (yay!), Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Gluten Free/Soy Free (I could hug her), Paleo/Whole 30, Top 8 Allergy Free
Do I Like (love) MyFreezEasy?
There were three things I liked about what the MyFreezEasy.com Freezer Meal Planning Service has to offer.
- Make 10 recipes in an hour.
- Varied recipes. Meaning not all dump chicken.
- You can fit all 10 of your prepped meals in your basic over the fridge freezer.
I took Erin at her word of one hour and set my timer on my first go around. My plan was to thaw and use some of the meat I had frozen in the freezer (mostly chicken). That worked and didn't. Read on.
For the chicken recipes I chose, they called for raw chicken. Sometimes diced, sometimes whole. Since I would have to pre-cook my recipes after thawing my meat I chose to do a little work around and prepare everything but the chicken part of the dish and then add the frozen chicken expecting it to marinate as it thawed (based on the recipes I chose) on cook day. Now that worked!
I first tried the program by building my own menu.
- Baked Crunchy Coconut Tilapia
- Grilled Mango Chicken Lettuce Wraps
- Grilled Turkey Burgers
- Sloppy Joes
- Thai Chicken Lettuce Wrap Tacos
The recipes I chose were based on what I had on hand. I did have to buy a couple of things but not much at all. I hadn't watched any of Erin's videos at this time but we (hubby and I) just wanted to see how well I could fit it in the hour time frame.
It took about an hour and half to put it all together but all the dishes were a hit (I thought the fish was a little dry but my family loved it). The turkey burgers are well seasoned and I now keep Erin's turkey burger version at the ready in my freezer.
Then I tried the following menu. Also one I built…
- Greek Chicken Bake
- Slow Cooker Green Chili Chicken
- Sloppy Joes
- Grilled Turkey Burgers
- Green Pepper Chili (made with ground beef)
I ended up only making only one recipe of the Green Pepper Chili which we ate that night. To make the 8 recipes for the freezer it took about an hour and a half. Clean up took 15 minutes. So for the first time after about 9 meals I was in the kitchen for under 2 hours. We were impressed. I was happy. My freezer had 8 dinners ready to go (since we ate one that night).
Trying More Freezer Recipes
It was obvious I was really liking this freezer meal planning service so we kept going with it.
Next time we watched Erin's videos and that really helped. My family watched them with me (because we like food shows) and we got some great tips and ideas for making the recipes work for your individual family.
Next up we made (I say “we” like I had some help, ha!).
- Cilantro Lime Chicken
- Grilled Herb Chicken and Zucchini
- Sausage & Baby Potato Bake
- Sloppy Joe Sandwiches
- Slow Cooker Teriyaki* Pork Tenderloin (* I have a soy allergy so for recipes calling for soy sauce or the like I use Coconut Aminos or make my own pseudo soy-sauce).
Notice how I had the Sloppy Joes in there again? This is again a plan I built. We really like those sloppy joes so I swapped out something from the given menu for those (sorry I don't remember what).
So far we've eaten one of everything and the favorites (including the Sloppy Joes of course) were the Slow Cooker Teriyaki Pork Tenderloin and the Grilled Herb Chicken and Zucchini which was a great way to use up some of that garden zucchini.
I still have about 8 meals in my freezer but we've been really busy since school started so I've been relying on these delicious meals to help me keep it together. That being said I'm doing another menu prep session this week. As we get closer to November I really want having dinner to be super easy. And so far it is.
The recipes I used for today's prep session are….
- Beef and Black Bean Oven Nachos
- Hawaiian Meatloaf
- Honey Sesame Chicken
- Slow Cooker Rosemary Artichoke Chicken
- Split Pea Soup
How did it go? Well..
I ended up not having enough thawed chicken on hand for the Rosemary Artichoke Chicken so I'm going to do that recipe as a same day recipe.
We had the Hawaiian Meatloaf for dinner and it was really good so I'm glad I have one in the freezer. That was requested again.
It took me about an hour and 20 minutes because I made the soy sauce from scratch (no Coconut Aminos on hand). Also I cry mercilessly when cutting onions and there were a lot in today's line up. I spent some time in the bathroom washing my eyes. It's awful! I'll never be a chef!
Mostly I don't real use the pre-built menu plans. I would look through the recipes and find ones I wanted to swap out and ones I wanted to use from most each one so it made more sense to pull together my favorites.
After finding out that some of the recipes in the Traditional Plan were also in the Clean Eating Plan I've been making my own menus since then. After so many years of adjusting ingredients I'm kind of on auto-pilot where soy-free comes in. That being said there were others on our review who did stick within the categories so if you need specifics do click our Review Crew button at the bottom and read through the other reviews.
Also Erin offers a lot of support including a Facebook group and Get Started videos to give you all kinds of help. I found it easy to just take right off. It's been a blessing!
What I Think About MyFreezEasy
MyFreezEasy Freezer Meal Planning Service came along at such a great time for my family. Back to school came with a bang along with a few other extracurricular activities. That along with helping out friends and family has really cut into my long drawn out dinner making sessions. Being able to make 2 week's worth of weeknight dinners in under two hours has been a tremendous help!
Erin does mention having a list of what's in your freezer and you'll find that to be a great idea. I have yet to make one for my meals and sometimes I just have to dig through and see what's there.
I was dreading clean up but I think if I'm more organized it can take less time. The first time I did it I had a full sink already. Not a good idea.
There's a lot I could say about MyFreezEasy but I'll end with I love it! You can click the new blue banner below to and read how my fellow Homeschool Crew Reviewers enjoyed it.
If you're finding dinner time during the busy school season to be too much of a chore. Or eating out too expensive to keep up (Did I mention that our grocery bill has gone down? Even with the bulk shopping?) visit MyFreezEasy.