How to save money while filling up your freezer!
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As I’m sure we all have noticed, the cost of groceries keeps going up. Eek! That’s something that is affecting almost everyone right now, and it is causing a lot of worry and dread. But don’t feel defeated yet!
There are actually still some ways that you can keep a good stock of food on hand while saving money. That’s right, today I’m going to fill you in on How to Fill Up Your Freezer and Save Money!
It all started one day as my husband and I were discussing how expensive our grocery bill was getting. We decided it was time to invest in a large freezer and buy in bulk to save money. If you’re a Costco or Sam’s Club member then you probably know what I mean. Buying in bulk actually does save a ton of money! If you store the food properly, that is.
It helped immensely when we got our freezer and started implementing this bulk buy method. But it’s not just about bulk buying, it’s also about bulk cooking. Now when I cook, I double or triple the recipe, so I have plenty to freeze for quick dinners later on. After 1 month of doing this at least a few times a week, I have about another month’s worth of dinners ready to go!
This bulk cooking method saves me from having to put a whole weekend aside just for meal prep. So between bulk buying and cooking, I save tons of time and money all while having plenty of food on hand. Here’s how to fill your freezer and save money!
What Foods to Buy in Bulk
First, I’m just going to quickly list some foods and ingredients that you can buy in bulk. These food items will stay good for a long time as long as you keep them stored properly. I like to buy my dry ingredients in big bulk so I store them in large 5-gallon food-grade buckets. For smaller amounts I just stick with Ball jars and label the contents and date on all the containers with a sharpie.
For the Freezer:
- All meats- chicken, pork, beef, seafood. Can be frozen raw or cooked.
- Sliced cheeses
- Frozen berries and fruits
- Frozen veggies
- Frozen meats or meals
For the Pantry:
- Dry pasta
- Dry rice
- Dry beans
- Baking soda or baking powder
- Canned foods – veggies, fruits, even meats like canned tuna or salmon.
- Packaged snacks
- Box cake mix
- Homemade Bread Crumbs
- Homemade Croutons
- Cinnamon Sugar
- Toasted Pecans
Frozen Meal Prep
Next, let’s talk about frozen meals. The ones that can be bought from the store are usually pretty sad with pitiful ingredients. If you’ve had one of those frozen shrimp scampi meals, you know what I’m talking about! Like many other parents, I really don’t like spending my money on meals that won’t even feed my small family.
So, I started doing my own frozen meal prep! I found that I can make several frozen meals with much better quality ingredients for half the cost through buying in bulk compared to the pitiful frozen meals that can be bought in the store. Here are some of my DIY frozen meals and sides, along with some foods that store in the freezer well after being cooked:
Meals and Meats:
- Homemade Shrimp Scampi Frozen Meal
- Easy Instant Pot Shredded Chicken or Instant Pot Chicken Breast
- Soups- after cooking you can freeze them flat in double ziplock bags.
Doughs and Breads:
Meals to Prepare in Bulk
Speaking of cooking in bulk, I have found that it’s my favorite way to fill my freezer! Instead of putting aside a weekend to get all of my frozen meal prep done, I just double or triple my recipes when I cook. Then I divide the remaining meal into separate freezer bags and freeze them.
It makes it incredibly easy to just pull out a frozen meal, with ingredients I know I don’t have to worry about, and pop it in a big pot. Dinner can be ready in no time, and I don’t have to spend all night cooking. These recipes are some of my favorites to cook in bulk:
- Hamburger Helper
- Easy Macaroni and Cheese with Broccoli
- Garlic Shrimp Pasta with Spinach
- Quick Chicken Alfredo
- One-Pot Pasta
- Breakfast Empanadas with Eggs and Sweet Potato
- Easy Empanadas with Blueberries
- Cherry Empanadas
- Instant Pot Egg Bites
- Sweet Breads: Banana Bread or Pumpkin Bread
- Muffins: Check out How to Freeze Muffins
- Caramel Banana Muffins
- Banana Oat Muffins
- Fudge: Check out How to Freeze Fudge
- Classic Chocolate Fudge
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge
- Chocolate Fudge with Peanut Butter Swirl
- White Chocolate Cranberry Pecan Fudge
Even if you don’t intentionally cook in bulk, sometimes you end up with leftovers. I don’t know about you, but my family is not the biggest fan of leftovers. I’ll end up eating the leftovers myself for lunch, but not everyone wants to go for that.
Instead of letting the leftovers ruin, a lot of times you can just store them in the freezer too! Then, a month or so later, you can pull those frozen leftovers out and heat them up. You can store large amounts in gallon freezer bags or save individual portions in Ziploc sandwich bags for an easy single meal! Here are some of my recipes that can be frozen for later:
- Shrimp Scampi with Pasta
- Turkey Empanadas
- Classic Meatloaf
- Lemon Buttercream Frosting
- Eggnog Frosting
- Dulce de Leche Frosting
- Homemade Buttercream Frosting
- Cream Cheese Frosting
- Homemade Strawberry Buttercream Frosting
- Raspberry Buttercream Frosting
- Easy Bundt Cake Frosting
- Vanilla Bundt Cake from Box Cake
- Carrot Bundt Cake
- Apple Bundt Cake with Caramel Glaze
- Eggnog Bundt Cake
- 4th of July Bundt Cake
- Christmas Chocolate Bundt Cake
- Funfetti Bundt Cake
- Lemon Bundt Cake
- Red Velvet Bundt Cake
- Cranberry and Lemon Bundt Cake
- Chocolate Pumpkin Bundt Cake with Toffee Glaze
- Pumpkin Bundt Cake
- Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Filling
- Red Velvet Cupcakes with White Chocolate Ganache Frosting
- Raspberry Chocolate Cupcakes
- S’mores Cupcakes
- Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes
- Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting
- Gingerbread Cupcakes
- Peppermint Cupcakes
- Unicorn Rainbow Cupcakes
- Mardi Gras Cupcakes
- Easter Bunny Cupcakes
- July 4 Lemon Cupcakes
- American Flag Mini Cupcakes
- Mini Vanilla Cupcakes with Ombre Buttercream Frosting
More Food Storage
There’s not a long-term storage solution for all foods though, sadly. But don’t fret! When it comes to fresh ingredients, there are still ways to prolong the freshness and life! Here are a few of my other handy storage solutions to keep fresh ingredients fresh for longer:
- How to Keep Strawberries Fresh
- How to Store Parsley
- How to Keep Apple Slices from Browning