Starting to freezer prep/cook can seem like an overwhelming task, so here are some tips for getting started without going insane.
#1 - Buy chicken/pork chops in bulk/on sale, cut off the fat, and portion it into freezer bags. Then you can just pull out the amount you need for a recipe instead of a whole pack of frozen chicken.
#2 - Buy ground beef in bulk/on sale and portion into freezer bags and flatten. Then you can just pull out the amount you need for a recipe instead of a whole pack of beef. Plus the thinner the bag, the quicker they thaw out.
#3 - Cook a bunch of chicken in the crockpot, cool, shred, and portion into freezer bags. Then you can just pull out the amount you need for a recipe and quickly assemble. I like to use this in casseroles, chicken pastry, chicken salad, chicken tacos, soups, etc. My way of doing it is for each pound of chicken, I put in salt, pepper, a bouillon cube, and a cup of water. I cook on high 4 hours or low 8 hours.
#4 - Cook a bunch of homemade spaghetti sauce, cool, and portion into freezer bags. I flatten them out so they thaw quickly. Then you just pull out what you want, cook up some pasta, and you have a yummy homemade dinner. You can do spaghetti, baked ziti, lasagna, etc with the sauce. I like to make my sauce with olive oil, garlic, ground beef, onions, bell peppers, carrots, zucchini, spinach, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and tomato sauce. Then you have a very nutritious, filling, homemade sauce that only required thawing and heating.
#5 - Prep meatloaves, burgers, Salisbury steak, etc before you freeze into freezer bags (again, very thin). Then you just have to thaw, cook, and eat. No prep mess. :) And you have all the heavy lifting done. Just make some sides and you are good to go.
#6 - Marinate meats and freeze. Then you just have to thaw and cook. It gets double marinated in the freezing and thawing process as well.
#7 - Throw all of the ingredients for a crockpot recipe into a freezer bag. Then you just thaw and put in the crockpot and you have dinner with no prep and one pot to clean up.
#8 - When you are making a recipe that can easily freeze, make a couple of extras and freeze for later. One mess to clean up.
I hope these tips have been helpful to you. :) Happy freezer prepping/cooking! :)