Simplify your dinners with make ahead freezer meals. This is part 2 of a step by step outline to have a successful freezer meal prep night.
Make Ahead Freezer Meals: Freezer Meal Night Part 2
Hopefully, you have already read part 1 of our freezer meal night series. If not, go back and read it! Now that you have everything set, you are ready to get those meals rolling and out the door. This post will explain what you need to do on the day of your event. If you have prepared well beforehand, the execution will be flawless and easy.
Before You Start Your Freezer Meal Prep Party
1. Get your house ready to host
- Clean up the clutter and get things out of the way, but don’t deep clean! Your house will get dirty, so save the mopping until AFTER your event. It is a good idea to make sure all of your surfaces are sanitized and ready to go, it will save time when everyone gets there.
2. Establish your stations
- You’ll need a hand washing station, 2-4 stations for assembly, one pantry station, a fridge/freezer station, and a place for baskets.
- My assembly stations consist of my small kitchen island, 2 on my large dining table, and one in the front room on folding tables. Every house is different, but you will definitely need some room to make this go quickly.
- The pantry station can be either inside your house or in your garage. I have 2 long benches that go to my kitchen table so I move those down the hallway and stack all of our pantry items there. We have also used folding tables in the garage as well.
- The fridge/freezer station needs to be in a cold location, obviously, to make sure things don’t spoil while you are working. This is the reason I ONLY do freezer meal nights during the cold months of the year. That way I can either use my back porch or my garage. I also have a large deep freezer that we use sometimes depending on how much room I have in there at the time.
- The basket station can be a tricky one as it can take up a lot of room (especially if you have 25 sets of meals to make). We have done it two ways:
- Everyone puts out a basket or box (with their name on it) in a row and as the meals are completed, a meal is dropped into each one. This seems to be the most effective as you are less likely to miss a meal somehow.
- The meals are all placed out on/underneath the table when done and everyone goes around the table collecting their own meals. This takes less space as you don’t have to line up the baskets, but it also leaves more room for error as everyone needs to make sure they go home with the right amount of meals.
3. Print out the recipes
- Print out a recipe sheet for each set of meals, including the ones you will be delivering to people not there. You will also want to print off one extra sheet that you can cut up to use as a reference at each station.
- If there are ingredients that you will be leaving out and adding later (ex: rice or cream cheese) type up a list of those things that need to be added to their basket and taken home with their meals. This will lessen the confusion before everyone leaves.
4. Pull out your assembly materials and pantry items
- Bring out your can openers (an electric one is very helpful if you don’t have one borrow one..or two.), measuring cups (at least a few sets), hand soap and towels.
- Since I have done this so many times, I have a stockpile of leftover spices and ingredients that I store in my basement. When it’s freezer meal time this comes upstairs for us to use.
Make Ahead Freezer Meals Event
1. Move on in
- Direct traffic, help unload cars, and get all of the ingredients and baskets into the right spots.
2. Introductions and instructions
- This is one of my favorite parts as I see where everyone has come from. I have neighborhood friends, church friends, and friends of friends that all attend these nights. I love meeting new people and welcoming them into my home.
- Tell everyone where the hand washing station is, remind them to pull their hair back and explain where ingredients and supplies can be found.
- Divide into groups. A good sized group is about 3-5 people compiling one meal. If you have extra people, you can also have someone assigned as the “garbage girl” or the “ingredient runner” if needed. I am typically the one running around answering questions and/or collecting money with my “partner in crime.”
3. Divide out the meals
- Once the meals are finished you can either put the meals into individual baskets as explained above or all into one basket for collection at the end. Also, make sure that each person gets a recipe sheet in their basket and all of the ingredients they will be adding later.
4. Collect money
- Use the money spreadsheet I gave you in part 1 to “square up” with everyone. You will either owe them money, or they will owe you. I walk around and do this as people are working to save time.
5. Chat it up
- These events really are the perfect “girls night.” While dumping ingredients into a bag you are getting motherhood advice, learning someone’s life story, or venting about something. It’s also fun to have a little treat together. People typically stay longer than the 2 hours it takes to assemble the meals. I think we all need a night out sometimes.
After the event
1. Clean up
- Many hands make light work and this is especially true with clean up! Before everyone leaves, make sure they do their part on the cleanup and don’t leave you with a mess. Wipe everything down, sanitize, and sweep.
2. Take out the trash
- Freezer meal nights make A LOT of garbage and recycling. I typically ask my neighbors if I can have some of their trash can space so I can get it all in. If you can recycle that is a bonus as we usually have a lot of cans and boxes.
3. Collect the extra supplies
- You will inevitably end up with some extra ingredients. Instead of trying to figure out how to divy those out I usually just keep a “freezer meal stockpile” box in my basement and bring them up for the next freezer meal night. When I make the shopping list for the next night I always take into account first what I have in my stockpile so we can save money the next time. If there are perishable items these usually end up in my fridge and I use them as my reward for hosting.
4. Find room in your freezer
- Now you have 10 FREE glorious meals in your freezer that you EARNED. Instead of flattening out my freezer meals as some suggest to save freezer space, I stand mine up and freeze them. This way I can put them straight into my crockpot or pressure cooker frozen without having to defrost them from that awkward flat shape.
5. Schedule your next freezer meal night
- Once you have finished your first night you will want to do it over and over again. It really gets addicting as you see how efficient, cost-effective, and fun it is.
This is the result of 2 freezer meal nights. A fully stocked freezer with 20 meals ready to go.
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