Sarah Deveau: Money Matters


The Big Cook

Preparing Freezer Meals In A Group

tops to make freezer meals

I’ve been a huge fan of meal planning ever since my husband and I were on the television show Fixing Dinner. We have all of host Sandi Richard’s cookbooks, including her latest, Eating Forward, and plan our meals one to three weeks in advance.

But as life gets busier, I’ve been relying more and more on freezer meals prepared in advance. A while back I participated in two meal prep days with large groups (16+ people) at a community kitchen, where we all went home with 20 meals. More recently, I helped organize a Big Cook with two other busy moms, a group meal prep day using recipes from the cookbook The Big Cook.

I love having meals in the freezer I can pop into fridge each evening to defrost and then empty into the slow cooker in the morning. I’ve had friends ask why I don’t simply buy lasagnas and other freezer meals ready made, but for us it’s a matter of taste, nutrition and price. Most ready-made meals I’ve found have little flavor, far too much salt, and are prohibitively expensive compared to making our own in big batches.

If you’ve been contemplating a Big Cook, they can be a lot of fun. Here are my top tips to make the process successful and enjoyable:

Choose easygoing partners with few dietary exceptions

Trying to organize who gets the chicken meals, who can’t have pork, or who can’t take dairy meals, is nearly impossible and makes divvying up the cash difficult.

Assign tasks ahead of time

The planning the meals to make, grocery list compilation, grocery shopping and freezer bag labeling are time consuming tasks that must be done ahead, and should be shared equally.