Freezer Cooking or How to Eat on a Librarian’s Salary

freezer full of casserolesThis is going to be a weird tangentially related to librarianship blog post. But we are all broke, right? Raising a family on one income in NYC can be really hard. It ends up, for me at least, that the only wiggle room in our budget is food. I have been doing freezer cooking for a few years now, where I cook either every 2 weeks, or every month, and then we fill in the gaps in the middle. This really helps. To make it work I go to Aldi’s once every 2 – 4 weeks. They are so much cheaper than the grocery stores near me. As an example, this pay period’s trip to Aldi’s came out to $96.85, and I made:

  • 5 small pans of baked ziti
  • 5 small pans of Chicken Zucchini Casserole
  • Chicken Rice Soup
  • Lentil Soup
  • Mushroom Barley Soup
  • Bolognese Sauce
  • Mini Egg Quiches (later this week, after we empty out the freezer a bit)

It can be really easy to fall into the Pinterest “Freezer Cooking” vortex and not come out for a while. But this really makes sure that we always have food in the house and that I can just come home and collapse after work. The soups come with me to work for lunch, so I don’t end up buying lunch out.

kitchen table, with pre chopped zuchinni and chicken being preparedSome people have asked what I make, so here is my Pinterest Board for recipes.  I tend to stalk the Pinterest boards of people who do this and have lots of kids, because they have the easiest recipes. We use “brownie pans” from the dollar store because regular sized casserole dishes are too big for us to eat in one or 2 meals, and take up too much room in the freezer. They are just right for 3 of us, and help me stretch the recipes out over more days. For cooking, I have to do this all in one day because I don’t have enough room for all of the ingredients to sit in my kitchen. Doubling up cutting and prep helps make it go faster too, so if everything has onion in it, I’ll cut all the onion in one go, same with baking and cutting up chicken or ground beef.