We all know that cooking at home can save us a great deal of money. But many of us have trouble buying just the right amount of food and eating everything before it spoils. One way that I’ve dealt with this problem is by cooking in bulk. This means that anytime I buy something freezable from the grocery store, I’ll cook it all at once and freeze for the entire week.
Examples of Freezable Foods
Most meats are freezable. This means you can buy two months worth of chicken, spend an entire day cooking it and freeze. Then you won’t have to make chicken for months! As long as you eat it all within six months, none of it will go to waste.*
You can also freeze most grains, so by all means stock up on rice or bread. Once defrosted, the food hardly loses any quality. In my personal experience, you can even freeze fried rice or cooked pizza.
Here’s some Hawaiian-style pineapple and spam fried brown rice that we froze last week.
Below is a list of other freezable foods:
- Pancakes and waffles
- Baked goods
- Fruits (for smoothies)
- Milk and cheese
My Weekly Routine
So now that I’ve told you my trick to saving on groceries, here’s a snapshot of what I do every week. My girlfriend and I visit the local Hmart and stock up on groceries. Then I come home and start cooking everything that’s freezable. For instance, I might cook a week’s worth of beef chili or stir-fried chicken. If I have brown rice, I’ll cook that too.
After everything’s done, I’ll start bagging the food into individual sized meal portions (for you dieters out there, this helps tremendously with portion control). Once that’s done, I throw everything into the freezer. Then when I’m ready to eat, I’ll take a bag and dump the contents into a bowl and microwave for two to three minutes. Finally, I’ll add some fresh vegetables for a balanced diet.
Bags of frozen brown Basmati rice from Trader Joe’s.
A Few Additional Tips
Try to keep your portion sizes consistent and accurate to avoid having to refreeze any leftovers from a meal. Refreezing and rethawing will cause the food quality to deteriorate. In addition, some foods (like dairy or fruit) may lose their texture after freezing and thawing. These foods can usually still be used for cooking or in desserts and smoothies.
*You may be able to keep frozen food for even longer than six months before the taste starts to lose quality.