If you hate cooking, get to LOVE your freezer. And if you have space in your house for a deep freezer, get one. Like yesterday. The small ones are pretty cheap, and as a cooking hater, I would have paid ten times as much for the convenience and happiness it has brought to my life.
Utilizing your freezer effectively is a miracle for any cooking hater. Here’s what you can typically find in my freezer: Sauces, first of all! I got marinara, bolognese, and pesto (I’m obsessed with pesto!!) I also usually have a bunch of burritos and a few portions of lasagna and/or chili. You’ll also find a few soup bases. Oh, and there’s also probably a ton of meat in my freezer (Because I like to load up when there’s a good sale.)
Most of what’s in my freezer isn’t “ready to eat”, but most of it makes for a very quick and easy dinner. Ialways hate cooking, of course, but some days I hate it even more than usual, and need to make something insanely easy. There are certainly meals in my freezer that require nothing more than heating up in the microwave or throwing in the oven, and those are the meals for the really bad days, when I’d rather stab myself than spend one second in the kitchen.
But the partially-made frozen stuff is perfect for days when I’m willing to go into the kitchen, but only for a few minutes. Like the sauces, for example. I probably won’t stab myself if I only have to cook a pot of pasta, and then throw some bolognese on it. And I probably won’t freak out if I only have to throw my soup base into a pot, add a few things, and be done with it.
It pretty much takes just as long to make a gigantic batch of bolognese as it does to make a small batch, so why not make a lot to freeze? It’s an easy down payment to make for a bunch of super-easy future dinners.
My freezer operation started out small. When I was first getting into it, it was as simple as simply making extra of what I was already making that night for dinner. If I was making chili, for instance, I just doubled the recipe. It certainly doesn’t take twice as much time to make twice as much chili, so why not? And let’s say I made a lasagna. Well, we’d eat some that night, and my husband would probably bring some leftovers for lunch, but I tried to get into the habit of freezing two portions every time I made lasagna.
And even since the operation has expanded quite a bit, I never make something just to freeze it. If I’m cooking, we’re eating it that day. I know plenty of ladies who spend a whole day in the kitchen once or twice a month, cooking/prepping tons of stuff to be frozen.
And hey, that’s a great idea for people who are into that. But for me? Haters? Yeah, no thanks. I’m willing to cook a larger batch of whatever we’re eating for dinner tonight, but I’m not about to cook something just so it can go straight into the freezer.
My freezer game is so good these days that we probably eat 1-2 dinners a week using one of the sauces or soup bases or ready-to-eat meals from the freezer. That’s 1-2 nights a week that requires little-to-no time in the kitchen. And that’s what it’s all about for me… Absolute minimization of time spent in the kitchen per week.
Of course there are other benefits to using your freezer effectively… Probably the second most important one, besides saving myself from the kitchen at least once a week, is saving money. Especially if you have a deep freezer, even a small one, you can save yourself a ton of money buying meats/fish when they’re on sale.
Meat ain’t cheap, so when I see buy-one-get-one deals, I load up. Even stuff like bacon. Man, I love me some bacon, but if you don’t get it on sale, it’s a real rip off. And I’ll tell you this… Most meats are just as good defrosted as when they’re freshly purchased. I’ve never noticed much of a difference in flavor with meat from my freezer versus fresh from the store.
And my freezer helps me save money in other ways too. How many times have I opened a can of tomato paste, only needed 2 tablespoons, covered the can with plastic wrap, put it in the fridge, and forgot about it? Sure, a small can of tomato paste barely costs anything, but every little bit adds up. Sure, that box of beef broth was cheap too, but I only needed 3 of the 4 cups, so I put the 4th cup in a plastic container, and threw it in the freezer.
I also freeze bread, rolls, etc. I rarely go through a whole loaf of bread before it gets stale. But I don’t want to throw half a loaf in the garbage either. Same with rolls. If we have burgers and brats for dinner one night, my husband and I aren’t going to use a whole bag of hot dog buns. So why not freeze the rest?
It may sound ridiculous to worry about $0.30 worth of tomato paste or $0.50 worth of beef broth or $1.00 worth of bread, but all these little bits add up to many dollars per month, and maybe even a hundred dollars over the course of a year. You’ll never see me throw a hundred dollar bill in the garbage, so why would I throw any food in the garbage if it could be frozen and eaten later instead?
Between that and loading up on meats when they’re on sale, I probably save $300-$400 a year on food. That’s twice as much as I paid for the deep freezer, and I don’t have to buy a new one every year, so I’m estimating that the initial investment will equate to thousands of dollars saved over its lifetime.
And you don’t HAVE TO have a deep freezer. Your regular ol’ freezer will do. You just need to keep it organized and TIGHT, and no more than two tubs of ice cream at a time.
Hell yeah, there’s always room for ice cream… We always have ice cream around because my husband has a sweet tooth. But majority of what you’ll find in my freezer, pre-and-post my deep freezer existence, is stuff that saves me time, money, and most importantly, my sanity.