The Art of Homemaking: Freezer Meals

Can I tell you that I love freezer meals?  I really do.  They started out as a necessity for me during a rough time in my life but I have grown to love them.  They really are a life saver.  I don’t know what it is about a freezer meal but I feel like such a better wife and mother when I know that I have something in the freezer that I can pull out on a whim and feed everyone in an hour or so.

(Now that’s not saying that I don’t call my husband and tell him to stop at Del Taco for 59 cent taco night……because I totally do.  Just sayin’)

But I really do love freezer meals.

Here’s how they started around here.  I had thyroid surgery, and then shortly after was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.  And I fell apart.  And cried.  A lot.

And then I found out that I had to go off all thyroid medications and eat an iodine-free diet for 4 weeks so that I could have my radiation treatments.  Which was another hurdle, because going off all thyroid meds meant slowing my body down to basically zero energy.

What in the world was I going to do?  I was still a mom to two little kids (4 and 18 months at the time) and how in the world was I going to function and cook and keep track of two little ones.  I honestly didn’t know what to do.

But my mom and my sister came to my rescue.  They researched iodine-free meals online and planned a day to cook and put 4 weeks worth of meals in the freezer so that my family could eat.  I helped sort of (but laid on the couch a lot too) but I tell you—those freezer meals saved my family.

My husband could go back to work and I could muster enough energy in the afternoon to put a hot meal in the oven.  It was heaven on a plate some nights (when I could eat).

I know I am being a bit dramatic here, but in some ways I still feel like those freezer meals are heaven on a plate.  When I am so stressed out because I have a two-year-old that has climbed on the counter fifteen times, thrown a toy at a plate on the wall and shattered it, and peed in his underwear for the third time that day (a real day last week) I can pull out a freezer meal.  And it is one less thing in a day of madness that I have to worry about.

And so I can clean up a shattered dish and yet still have a little time to eat dinner together as a family.

I am finding more and more in my life that the art of homemaking isn’t the big things—-it’s the little things. And freezer meals—well, they are a little thing I can do.

20 thoughts on “The Art of Homemaking: Freezer Meals

  1. I love freezer meals too. They really are a life saver sometimes. I have a 17 month old and YES sometimes they get us crazy, and there’s not even the time to think about making a meal. Can you share your recipe? Do you have any good recipe tips for freezer meal?

  2. A great post and you are not being dramatic! You are being real and we all get you. Following last week’s turkey dinner leftovers for four nights (yeah–I hate to cook!)my husband had used the dark meat for turkey rice soup. I have been running around more than I should and found myself yesterday in one of those mom meltdowns (almost),the kind where you are ready to split (like hit the road and break in half) but because you are “momma” you suck it up and keep on going. I yelled out “You’re lucky dad made soup or no one would be eating tonight!” And to sit down with that yummy meal made things good for the moment.

  3. AHHH girls, I was agraid someone was going to ask for the recipe! And I don’t really have one….I am kind of one of those cooks that flies by the seat of her pants and tastes a lot. (Pathetic, I know.)

    I can tell you what I do. I boil a whole chicken (either crockpot or stove top) with celery onions and carrots. When the chicken is done I chunk it, and (strain and save the broth for another soup). Then I throw onions, celery and carrots to saute in butter until half done. When that is done I take them out of the pan, make a white sauce (butter, flour and milk)in that same pan. Then add I add the chicken chunks to the veggies (I do add half-cooked potatoes to the mix too). I then spice it with salt and pepper and put it into quart bags which fit perfectly into a pie pan. On the day I want to serve it I thaw it in the morning, pour it into a pie pan, make a quick pie crust, throw it on the top and bake.

    Sorry I am not better with recipes…..

    I

  4. AHHH girls, I was agraid someone was going to ask for the recipe! And I don’t really have one….I am kind of one of those cooks that flies by the seat of her pants and tastes a lot. (Pathetic, I know.)

    I can tell you what I do. I boil a whole chicken (either crockpot or stove top) with celery onions and carrots. When the chicken is done I chunk it, and (strain and save the broth for another soup). Then I throw onions, celery and carrots to saute in butter until half done. When that is done I take them out of the pan, make a white sauce (butter, flour and milk)in that same pan. Then add I add the chicken chunks to the veggies (I do add half-cooked potatoes to the mix too). I then spice it with salt and pepper and put it into quart bags which fit perfectly into a pie pan. On the day I want to serve it I thaw it in the morning, pour it into a pie pan, make a quick pie crust, throw it on the top and bake.

    Sorry I am not better with recipes…..

    I

    1. I love fly by the seat of her pants recipes makes me feel a lot less guilty when I don’t have all the right items for a recipe and I have to substitute half of the ingredients based on what is in our fridge.

    2. Just because you don’t have a recipe with exact measurements doesn’t mean pathetic! I know a lot of people who cook like that, and in general they are better cooks than people who exclusively use recipes. =) (And from the instructions, your pot pie recipe would taste amazing. =))
      Now if only my freezer worked right and the door didn’t pop open randomly….

    3. Hubby and I had that problem on the tall freezer in the garage. He solved it with a padlock hasp. He put the loop piece on the side of the freezer and the flapper piece on the edge of the door. It’s up near the top so small people can’t reach it. The loop piece is just far enough from the edge that you kind of have to push the door tighter to get the hasp off the loop piece. I know I may not be using the right terminology but I hope I explained it OK. We don’t put a lock on it at all, it’s a cheap fix, and it holds pretty good. We’ve done that on more than one freezer in our lives.

  5. Oh you bring back memories! My mother swore by freezer meals. In fact, I don’t ever recall drinking milk where the carton didn’t sit in the sink all day defrosting. And a loaf of bread is super soft if left on the counter to thaw.

    I learned a cool trick for fresh veggies like carrots, zucchini, squash, onions, or green/red peppers. Slice or dice them as you would to prepare for a meal and lay out in a single layer on wax or freezer paper – don’t allow them to overlap in any way. Then freeze for no more than 50-60 minutes and set a timer so you don’t overdo it. Then immediately put them in a Food Saver type bag that sucks out all the air. When defrosted, they will not be all mushy and still have that fresh veggie feel and taste to them. It’s the poorman’s quick freeze like was patented by Mr. Birdseye and it works pretty good!

    Here’s a great recipe for pot pie. Simply make the filling and freeze!
    http://allrecipes.com/recipe/chicken-pot-pie-ix/detail.aspx?event8=1&prop24=SR_Title&e11=chicken%20pot%20pie&e8=Quick%20Search&event10=1&e7=Home%20Page

  6. You are not dramatic at all……that is a lot to go through! I totally know what you mean though, my mom made a ton of stuff for our freezer when she was visiting after I had Caspian and it was SO nice not to have to stress about dinner and knowing we could have something hot and delicious for dinner. Food warms the soul……that is for sure!

  7. I’m a working mom with Crohn’s disease. Some days I get home from work and barely have the energy to lie face down on the couch. Knowing there is a casserole or roundsteak or potpie filling in the freezer keeps me sane. And when I’m even too tired to make a crust I make crumble with 1 cup of flour, 1/4 cup of parmesan, 1/4 cup chopped nuts (if your 4 year old doesn’t hate them)1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper and 1/4 cup butter. Mix together to form crumbs and sprinkle over the potpie filling. Bake as usual.

  8. Your story is so moving. I remember my own mom had cancer when I was six. She was OK but it was very scary.Thank God you got better! I may have to check out your book Art of Homemaking.I have been trying to manage my home better lately.

  9. Any chance you have any of those recipes (or a list of recipes) for your iodine free diet? I am starting my diet in a few weeks for radiation, and would love to throw some in the freezer for those late work nights. Thanks!!

  10. I don’t even have a family and freezer meals are still a life saver. I live alone so making a real meal to feed one person is next to impossible. Once a month or so I spend a weekend day cooking and freeze things in individual portions for those busy nights were I can’t get anything else done.

    Lasagna, enchiladas, pot pie, soup… all things I would never get to each otherwise.

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