Find out how to organise your freezer to make back to school meals a breeze.
Is your freezer packed full of stuff? Mine was … a lot of it was just frosted up with ice.
Do you even know what is in your freezer? … I didn’t! But I did discover at least 10 meals ready and perfect for school evenings.
Read my account of how I plan to stay on top of organising my freezer from now on. Find out how I’ll be using my freezer to help with a monthly meal planning session.
As a teacher and mum, the build up of first day nerves is doubled. I dread the idea of cooking evening meals when exhausted after a full day at school.
My first idea was to do some batch cooking now whilst I have time and freeze portions for school day evenings.
There was problem with this is though…
I could barely open/ close my freezer drawers because they are so full!
What the heck did I actually have in there?
In my small three drawer freezer I had no less than 10 pre-cooked meals I’d cooked and saved previously. A bonus!
That is at least 10 evenings that I won’t have to cook after a heavy day at work.
I also had numerous packs of frozen fruit that I’ve got out of the habit of using. Oh, and an awful lot of ice clogging everything up.
Are you ready to organise your freezer?
First job: Defrost and clean out!
In the freezer drawers I found the usual frozen peas, sweetcorn and a HUGE amount of ice. I defrosted by turning off my freezer and using a silicone spatula to scrape away excess ice. I have heard of some people using a hairdryer to speed up the defrost.
Second job: Freezer audit
I am a creative problem solver. I ended up designing this freezer audit sheet to pin to the front of my freezer. Now I will know exactly what I have in there.
Third job: Labels
Sharpies are good for writing straight onto the top of each tub. Alternatively I’ve used stickers, or made my own with scraps of paper and sellotape for labelling each tub of pre-cooked meals.
My previous slovenly habit of chucking things into the freezer, meant that I had to guess at what some of my existing meals were! This will not happen in future now that I have a system in place.
Step four: Maintain organised status
I’ve allowed space on the freezer audit for listing the ready meals that I already have. I’ve made notes beside individual ingredients of potential meals that can be easily made using those things already in my freezer – eg- for every quorn and fish item in there I’ve made suggestions of meals to make.
This should take the thinking part out of my cooking – that is the part I find hardest when exhausted at the end of a day at work.
Two suggestions for managing and maintenance of the freezer audit.
1: Laminate the printable sheet and keep it on the front of the freezer.
Use a wipeable marker and cross out or wipe things off as you use them.
2: Commit to a monthly freezer audit and print out a new sheet per month – I kind of like this idea as meal planning could be done a month at a time and the job of auditing / defrosting will become so much quicker and less arduous the more often it is done.
If you’d like to have a go at this, feel free to make use of my Printout which can be downloaded here.
Check out this lovely recipe for Mediterranean baked fish. It’s and excellent one for batch cooking and freezing. Just make up the veg and stock before popping the frozen fish into portioned containers in the freezer.
If you like this recipe, check out my recipes pages for loads more.
Go ahead now, organise your freezer and make family meal prep on long school days a breeze!