Today on Frugal Tips Friday we’re talking about batch and freezer cooking.

I recall when my kids were young that I would sometimes take a Sunday afternoon and cook food for the week and freeze it so we’d have easy suppers.

I don’t recall what I cooked now. But it made getting supper on the table easier with kids going to Brownie meetings and softball practice, etc.

Of course back then I didn’t have a microwave so it still took a bit of time to get supper on the table.

Every month or so I’ll make an easy taco soup and then freeze it in baggies. So my experience here is nothing to write home about. No vast knowledge to share with you. Therefore I have looked to other bloggers and sites with more experience on this topic.

I found this post at Premeditated Leftovers about prep ahead meals.

Here is a good one on batch cooking for a healthy week from none other than Hey Nutrition Lady.

Here is single portion cooking ideas that won’t waste food or get boring from Buzzfeed for all you single ladies like me.

I’m also interested in meal prep. I found this beginner’s guide at Budget Bytes.

And here’s meals to make ahead and freeze by none other than the Betty Crocker site.

What ideas and recipes and do you have to add to the conversation? I

You might enjoy Frugal Friday Tips post from the past weeks:

#1: Things We Re-use

#2: Frugal Homemade Cleaning Recipes

#3: Favorite Frugal Meals

#4: Saving Money & Cutting Costs

#5: How To Treat Yourself Without Spending Money

#6: Frugal Gardening

#7: Frugal Craft & DIY Ideas

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  1. When I want something frugal I slice vegetables like green, orange, and red peppers, squash, and fresh beans. I cook them in my wok and melt cheese on them. Sometimes I add small tomatoes, carrots, and that cute baby corn.

  2. Well, I can see right away that I logged on waaay too late in the evening to even begin reading all these great tips! And like you, Brenda, I don’t have much to share as I do hardly any freezer meals. One of my quick and cheap lunches–sometimes suppers- is a tuna sandwich. I mix it with mayonnaise and whatever else I have like red onion, celery, shredded carrot and dill relish or sweet relish. I like it with a canned vegetable soup that I buy and that is a meal for me. Of course it’s not a freezer meal. I don’t know if you can successfully freeze tuna salad or not. I have my doubts but I may be wrong.

    Brenda, when you add baked beans to a meal what kind do you use? I used to make them from scratch but I haven’t done that for ages.

    One thing I might freeze is a batch of corn bread or so me homemade brownies. I am more of a baker than cooker. Also, a nice meatloaf is a good meal to freeze. Since I now have my daughter and her two boys living with me there aren’t usually many leftovers to freeze anymore!

    Lots of good ideas and recipes here to look over later. I’m off to bed now. Hope your weekend is restful and pleasant.

  3. I will sometimes freeze soups, stews and chili. Thank you for the links. I am checking them out for some new ideas! Hope you have a great weekend! Love and hugs!

  4. I make 3 cheese stuffed shells. Recipe is from Southern Plate .com . You put the stuffed shells on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, and freeze. Then you take each one and place in a large Ziplock bag and store in freezer. They are individually frozen, so you can take out as many as you like, put them in a casserole, cover with your favorite marinara sauce and bake. Nice to have these on hand.

  5. I don’t do freezer meals, but when I cook chicken, I do a crockpot full and freeze. I also like the Alidi’s hams, and freeze baggies of that. I plan to save these ideas though, as I’m trying to cook/eat healthier!

  6. Unlike my relatives (sister, mother, daughter in law) I do not like to cook. But I do like to eat and I like to feed my loved ones good meals. Every couple of weeks I buy a pork tenderloin in a two-pack and I roast one and trim the other into medalions and freeze the medalions flat. I also take 3-1/2+ pounds of ground beef and divide it. One pound or so I crumble and fry to use for chili or for hamburger soup or meat sauce. One pound is made into small meatballs for Swedish meatballs or Italian spaghetti and meatballs. The rest is made into meatloaf and/or into patties for hamburgers or salisbury steaks. These are all put into freezer bags, frozen flat. When they are all frozen they are stacked in my freezer upright (like books in a bookcase). This takes up very little space. I usually have 5 or 6 frozen meats available at any time. I label and date them and use them up regularly. I defrost them overnight in the frige the night before I cook them. The only cooked food I freeze are eight large cabbage rolls. Those I freeze in containers 4 large ones to a container. Eight make a meal for 4 people.

  7. I’m the queen of freezer meals!! This morning I pulled a meatloaf out of the freezer for tonight’s dinner, along with some beef gravy, and some zucchini banana muffins for our weekend breakfasts. I often double a recipe on the weekend so I can have a simple meal for weeknights. If I make a lasagna, I always make two. If I’m making meatloaf, I’ll make 4 or 5. If I’m making soup, I’ll make a big pot….same with sauces. Normally Sweetie takes me out for dinner on Fridays, but we were at a dinner party last night so we both want a quiet night at home tonight. Frozen meatloaf to the rescue!

    1. I can’t comment on your blog but I’d like to take this opportunity to tell you how much I love your recipes and your house and your garden and your dogs. Thanks for everything you share.

  8. Most kinds of home mae soup freeze well (either in little plastic boxes, or in baggies which you can stand in the bottom of an empty cereal box (cut down until it is around 6 inches or so high). Find a recipe you really like, and if you are on your own, make the whole recipe because it will probably be for 6 persons – and hey presto! you have one for today and five more lunches in the freezer!

  9. Its so nice to know where to come to get these tips all gathered together by women who actually do and use the things they write about! I don’t usually make a large enough dish of something when cooking for myself to end up freezing some of it. I usually make smaller size casseroles and batches of beef stew or easy beef burgundy that I can polish it off in 3 larger or 4 servings over 2-3 days. The exception is an easy recipe I make using ground beef for a sort of Shepherd’s Pie. I mix a pound or so of ground beef (the stores never package only a pound, you always get more than a pound and end up having to pay more, too) and some chopped onion sauteed with the ground beef, seasoned to taste, drained after it’s browned, with 8 oz. of frozen mixed veggies and a can of tomato soup with some ketchup mixed in for extra oomph; that goes into the bottom of a large casserole dish – I have a oval shaped one that maybe holds 2 quarts, it’s pretty big. Then I top it with mashed potatoes, sometimes mixed with shredded cheddar cheese if I have it in the house. The whole is baked, uncovered, at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes or until the top is slightly browned and the sauce is bubbling up around the sides of the dish. I serve myself heaping portions over the next few days from the casserole from the fridge (heated in the microwave) and then divide up the rest into small plastic containers with twist off tops. It freezes and thaws well, doesn’t get mushy. When I get a taste for it, I pull a container out of the freezer and thaw it overnight on the top shelf in my fridge. For reheating I put the contents from the plastic freezer container into an oven safe dish topped with a plate (to prevent spatters) and microwave it on high for a minute or a bit more to heat it through. That size Shepherd’s Pie will give me 8 large portions, the size depending on how deep I pile on the mashed potatoes.

  10. So far so good today with computer…heh…so will add a bit here. One thing through the years that I made when the kids were still home, was tacos. Cooked up at least 2 pounds or more of meat…which was used for quick meals of tacos afterwards. Or I used the meat, leftover tomatoes and green onions, maybe sliced olives, plus cheese and sometimes small red beans to make a taco omelet for breakfast. Or I would mix the leftover meat with some beans, black or small red beans, cheese and whatever else I had on hand, roll up in leftover shells, make an enchilada sauce (usually just tomato sauce with some added taco seasoning from those little packets) plus plenty of cheese on top. These days I am more apt, since I cook more to what we will eat with less leftovers, thus having not a great lot of meat left, to make taco soup, cooking up some cut up taco strips in some oil to place on top of the soup, cheese, etc. I make my own chili these days as most of the canned is just way too spicy for us (or they have changed the old recipes, which I also suspect) and use some of those leftovers for making chili mac (chili, macaroni, sliced or chopped olives, more onions of some sort plus cheese and baked). I also like some chili with a fried or poached egg on top…or a chili omelet for breakfast. (Or dinner…no reason we must eat certain foods at a certain time, is there?) Last night I made a good diabetic dinner for us: turkey meatballs in spaghetti sauce over some spaghetti squash, with some steamed broccoli and fake butter (I love Miyoko butter made from coconut oil and cashews). We have been using Newman’s Tomato and Basil spaghetti sauce…I think we find it at Walmart. It is thick, very tasty and just right to us. I make the turkey meatballs from scratch (using basic meatloaf ingredients). One thing I learned from Hubby’s mom was if you make up the meatloaf mix and find you are short on time, just make into patties and fry in the pan. It does taste very yummy that way and we just as often eat it that way by choice now. Most meat and veggie leftovers can be put together in soup too…keeping a jar for such in the freezer until you have enough, etc. and adding some noodles etc if desired. With
    leftover chicken, besides soup, cold sandwiches, etc are very nice. Many ideas online for using in casseroles too. When we had a deep freeze, I often froze many things for later use, such as tomatoes, our favorite peaches etc (to make clafotis or cobbler).

  11. Good morning,

    As I do not have a garden I do not have too much “fresh produce to put up.” But I do buy lots of berries and tomatoes.
    I love to take cherry tomatoes, salt, pepper, cloves of garlic and basil and roast them and then freeze them so all winter long I have the base for tomato soup, pasta sauce and more. I usually freeze the berries to use in smoothies, baked goods and I make my own jam which I give to friends and family.

    I also make a lot of sweet treats and then I freeze them, that way if I have friends coming or I want send someone something I have a freezer full of brownies, cookies, breads, etc. Sort of like a squirrel but with baked goods. If you like sweets another thing to do is make your cooking dough, roll in into balls and then freeze it, that way you always have the ability to pop one or two cookies into the oven or toaster oven and have a freshly baked treat.

    I hope that you Charlie and Ivy have a wonderful weekend.

  12. Last month you mentioned being low on potassium. I just had the same thing happen. My doctor attributed it to the diuretic in my blood pressure meds. I was given potassium pills for two weeks and my B.P. meds were changed. I’m doing fine now.
    I hope spring brings you many blooms on your patio and much happiness.

    1. Yes as an RN I can tell you if you are on a diuretic your K+ (Potassium) may get low. Most of the Doctors I have worked with will give Potassium medications along with a Diuretic like Lasix.

  13. In late summer, when tomatoes are super ripe and cheap, I buy tons of them and make my own sauce. I like to add lots of vegetables, like carrots, beets, red peppers, squash and of course onions. That means the sauce isn’t acidic enough to can, so I freeze it in portions just right for dinner. It’s more for health than for frugality. Homemade has no added sugar (it is incredible how prepared sauces are full of sugar). But it also is cheaper than industrial sauce. Not to mention that it tastes way better.

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