One of the unique, albeit obvious, characteristics of homeschooling is that it takes place at home. Oh sure, there are co-ops and field trips and class days and carschooling, but often our educational style is home-based. Homebody that I am, I love that!
As such, there are distractions present that might not occur in a traditional classroom setting: barking dogs, poopy diapers, and ringing doorbells, to name a few. How often have my children rushed to the front door from all corners of the house to greet the delivery man?! You would think it was Santa Claus, but no, it’s just a guy bringing a replacement refrigerator part.
I, like my children, am prone to distraction, making teaching at home challenging amid the laundry and the cleaning that could be done.
And the cooking? Don’t even get me started. I begin to make lunch but remember that I have all these apples to deal with. Before I know it, I’m knee deep in pies and applesauce and apple butter. It’s like giving a mouse a cookie.
Make-Ahead Meals Make Meals Easier
In order to stay on track with our school day, I turn to make-ahead meals. I spend a few hours each month cooking and freezing meals to enjoy later. Not only does it help me get homecooked meals on the table, but it also helps me focus on other tasks, like our plants project or how to teach adjectives to a third grader.
These “freezer meals” help me out for every meal of the day. Here’s how they can work for you, too.
Two days a week the kids and I have places to go for outside classes. The other days allow for slightly more relaxed mornings. Either way I like having breakfast ready to go and easy to serve.
Homemade baking mixes and make-ahead breakfast sliders help me get a hot meal ready in minutes. Granola, instant oatmeal, and scones are all homemade treats that make a fun serve-yourself breakfast bar.
One of the blessings of having older kids is that they can help me with meal prep. Calzones, burritos, and cheesewiches from the freezer are easy items for my big guys to heat up. They add fresh fruit and veggies for a side dish, and lunch is served.
Where do I sign up?
“Freezer cooking” is seeing renewed popularity as folks realize what a boon it can be to any home, science projects and adjectives not withstanding. It allows us to customize our meals to fit our tastes and diet perfectly, resulting in homemade “convenience foods.”
There are a number of sources to help you learn about freezer cooking:
- Go to another kitchen – Meal prep kitchens, like Dream Dinners, offer you a chance to cook in someone else’s kitchen. They do all the prep and all the clean up. You just assemble the meals. (You also pay more for the convenience. You can do it much more cheaply at home.)
- Check the blogs – Some blogs, like Once a Month Mom, are dedicated to freezer cooking and helping folks get meals made and frozen. Over on Good Cheap Eats this month, I’m sharing 31 Days of Freezer Cooking, offering short but sweet ideas to make bulk cooking work for you.
- Read a good book – Believe it or not, I wrote the book on freezer cooking. OK, not the book, but a good one. Not Your Mother’s Make-Ahead and Freeze Cookbook released this month. It’s chock full of the ins and outs of freezer cooking plus over 200 freezer-friendly recipes. It offers tips and tricks for the freezer cooking novice as well as the old pro. It contains easy cooking plans that range from 2 hours to all day so that you can find a method that works best for you.
Mealtimes during the busy school year can be just as healthy and tasty as you would like them to be. And big batch cooking can help you pull it off so you really do have time for a nap at the end of the day.
What do you think about freezer cooking?