My fondness for freezer-cooking (is that a legitimate term? surely someone else has used it) began during my pregnancy. I really thought the nesting instinct would find me painting and cleaning obsessively, but what actually ensued (aside from a flurry of knitting) was stockpiling my freezer with meals for the busy, baby-filled months to come. And this mentality seems to have stuck with me ever since. The bulk of what's in my freezer is made from scratch, offering my family good food even when tiredness sets in or when life's rainy days make it necessary to have something easy and quick to make.
In my freezer I typically have:
~Breakfast foods: waffles, pancakes, cinnamon rolls, breakfast burritos, shredded potatoes for hash browns
~Ice cream and/or frozen yogurt (currently not homemade, but someday soon, yes!)
~Frozen berries of some kind. Right now, there's a bit of strawberry compote left from springtime's strawberry abundance. (This is, of course, strategically placed next to the waffles and near the ice cream)
~Soups and stocks or soup bases, currently butternut squash soup and chicken stock
~Bread and uncooked tortillas
~A variety of summer's homegrown veggies, such as a rainbow of bell peppers cut into strips and whole tomatoes that I didn't find time to process into marinara sauce
~Whole Thai chilies and other assorted spicy peppers
~Meat of some kind: ground pork or beef, shrimp, already-marinating steaks or pork chops. If my dad has a successful hunting season this year, we will hopefully have some elk meat in here as well.
I think the key is to consider the type of cooking you do and what you typically eat as your "go-two" meals, and stock your freezer to support your cooking in this way. For example, we grill outside quite a bit even in winter, so having a jar of my BBQ sauce on hand to brush over grilled meat and veggies works well. I can easily add the already cut up strips of bell peppers to stir fry dishes or fajitas, even without having to defrost them first. The minced garlic and ginger can be added to flavor anything straightaway.
The greatest benefit to having a freezer stocked with homemade meals or already prepped ingredients is that it offers you genuine convenience. I've found what works best for me is to either make double of a meal we're eating, so that half goes to the freezer, or to use a few hours when I can to make ahead meals especially for the freezer. Another side benefit is the freedom this offers in terms of preparedness and self-sufficiency. I rarely feel good about having to order pizza or run out for fast food, so having the freezer stocked is important to me.
What's in your freezer these days?