Coming up to Christmas, I was filled with dread. I was desperate for a holiday, feeling washed out and in need of a break. The kind of break where all the cooking is done for me. The place is tidied for me. The children are taken care of.
This type of holiday can only be found in one of two places….going home to my parents or an all inclusive-silly-amounts-of-money type holiday. The way I was feeling it would have been money well spent.
But our budget didn’t allow for either of those two options, but it did allow for a self catering ski trip. Hmm, so much for no cooking!
Our eldest was coming over from the UK for Christmas and being a student she had almost the same goals as me- all food cooking is done for her (and it’s free) and all the tidying is done for her. I guess that’s what going home to your parents is all about!
So one Sunday afternoon, while my husband took the children swimming, I sat down, with a notebook, recipe books and magazines and planned a series of meals that I could cook for the holidays. Meals that would only require me to defrost beforehand and boil up some pasta or rice. I also planned to make up some salad bags in advance, so I just needed to grab those when I needed them.
(I have found I eat much more salad if I have the salad already made up in a bag. I can get them from the supermarket, but it is cheaper for me to buy a couple of different lettuces, some cabbage, spring onion and carrots, wash n chop and then bag them up. They also last an amazing amount of time!)
The following week, I started making the meals. Some ‘freezer chefs’ prepare their casseroles, bag them up, and freeze. Others allocate a day to serious batch cooking. I personally cook as I go along. I never cook just enough food for my family. I always cook extra, so I’ve usually got an extra meal left over in the freezer. This time it was different as I cooked double what I normally do. So I was cooking enough meat/ casserole/ bolognaise/ chilli for 10-12 people.
This week coincided with the kids chicken pox. So I was able to get quite ahead with the main meals and a couple of lunches.
So how did the freezer cooking save my Christmas? I contracted bronchitis 4 days after my husband. We were struck down from 20 December until 7 January, when wee eventually got antibiotics from our gp. The freezer cooking meant that my family could still have healthy meals, despite me feeling like death warmed up.
I will do this again: Plan a month of meals, cooking double the amount of the ones I can freeze. It would be lovely to have more ideas/ recipes for freezable breakfasts and lunches. Who knows, maybe on weekends we can move away from sandwiches and breakfast in a box, without having to leave the house.
I just need to take the time to sit down and plan….