Oh, no! It’s 5:00PM, and I don’t have a clue what’s for dinner. Don’t you wish you had a nice, home-cooked meal in the freezer you could just pop into the oven. So many of us are stressed and busy beyond our ability to cope well. No time for dinner too often means resorting to feeds that we know very well are not good for us.
My solution has been doubling my favorite meals, but keeping my family from getting bored by freezing half. Then, I have a quick, easy meal later.
A month ago, I bought a chest freezer, so I’ve been excited to fill it up. I’m not so excited that I’m likely to go the way of once-a-month cooking (cooking a month’s worth of meals in a day), though. That thought fills me with the dread of standing in the kitchen all day and of eating the same food for a month. If that idea overwhelms you, too, take baby steps. Just double some of your favorite meals. As this becomes routine, you might even get more ambitious.
Containers. Using freezer-safe, tempered glass containers makes it very easy to stack and store your frozen food. If you are going to freeze more than a week in advance, you might want to invest in labels and markers so you don’t end up leaving food in the freezer too long.
Recipes. Start with your favorite foods that are easily frozen. Many soups and sauces freeze well. We double time-consuming meals like lasagna and pot pie, freezing one uncooked. We don’t usually freeze foods with a lot of vegetables because I don’t like the texture of some thawed and reheated whole vegetables. It is easy to add fresh vegetables to reheated meals, though.
Buy on Sale. Be flexible enough to take advantage of a good sale when it happens. Looking for red-label foods that are set to hit their expiration date in a couple of days saves us money already. Don’t just freeze the raw ingredients. Double what you make as well as what you buy, so you can freeze the meal.
Don’t double new recipes. For the same reasons, don’t plan to freeze foods that you haven’t tried before. If you didn’t like it the first time around, you’ll likely just leave it to wither away into ice dust in the corner of the freezer.
If you are ready to save time and save money but you aren’t ready to make freezing meals a new lifestyle, doubling what you already love to eat is a great way to create no-stress dinners for your family.