Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Saving Money With Bulk Cooking and Freezing

Thank you to Jennifer at Getting Ahead for providing this wonderful guest post about bulk cooking and freezing. Jennifer is a wife and homeschooling mother to 4 children. She blogs about her life and living frugally and also hosts the Weekly Wrap Up every Friday where you can link up and list out the things you did for the week that were frugal. Jennifer's blog is one I visit everyday. It is packed with lots of great information. Stop over at Getting Ahead and check it out.

Saving money on food can be hard, but I have found something that helps me stretch my dollar while making life a little easier in the long run. I don’t really want to try once a month cooking, however I love having meals or main portions of meals ready and waiting in the freezer. I do batch cooking for my meats and I double several of my recipes. This allows me to buy things in bulk which is generally cheaper per ounce. Let me give you an example of how I handle this.

When I buy ground beef or ground turkey I buy a lot of it. Then I spend some time in the kitchen preparing it. Because I buy large packages of ground beef I save money on the per pound cost. For instance this week at my grocery store I can buy one pound of ground beef for $3.29 or I can buy three pounds of ground beef for $1.99 a pound. Of course I am going to buy the three pound package, actually two of them. After I buy the beef I divide it up into meal size portions. I will make some of it into meatloaves, mix in sausage and make large batches of meatball, brown some, and freeze some uncooked in meal size portions. Out of six pounds of beef and an hour of hands on time in the kitchen I have 10 meals worth of meat in the freezer that will take no time to reheat and become the base for many meals.

I do the same with chicken, only I cook and chop some, freeze some as is, and freeze some with a marinade mixed in so that it is ready to be put on the grill. Again I get a lower per pound cost and I have ready to eat or cook meat in the freezer.

I have a few recipes that I like to double and freeze half, while we have the other one for dinner. Yes it costs more upfront to buy ingredients for two lasagnas, BUT it isn’t as expensive as if I made lasagna two separate times. It takes a little more time to put together two lasagnas, but not as much time as it would take me to make lasagna two separate times.

When I make lasagna I use ricotta cheese and mozzarella cheese. I use 8 oz of each for each lasagna (I know, that is half of what they call for, but it works for us). If I were to buy an 8 oz container of ricotta for $1.08 and an 8 oz block of cheese for $2.99 I have spent $4.07 on the cheese alone for just one lasagna. If I make two lasagnas and buy a 16 oz container of ricotta for $1.59 and a pound of cheese for $3.99 I have spent $5.58 on two lasagnas. That is a savings of $2.56 on the cheese alone for these lasagnas.

Over time these savings really do add up. As an added bonus you will save money on energy costs by batch cooking and doubling recipes. On top of the monetary savings you will have some ready made meals in the freezer that will make your life much easier one day down the road. A little extra time and money spent one day will result in long term savings and less stress.


  1. Great post! I love the idea of two meals at one time. Hugs, Bobbi Jo

  2. This is the way I cook too and I LOVE it! I especially love the time it saves me in the kitchen on a daily basis. I also regularly double recipes and freeze the leftovers so that I can have a quick meal ready in the freezer. It takes practically no extra time to make twice as much, plus it saves me that time later on.

    I refer to my freezer stash as my "frozen assets". Because to me those meals are like frozen golden nuggets that I can throw in the oven ANY time for a quick and healthy meal rather than run out for fast food or eat PB & J.