With the beginning of another school year quickly approaching, I am sure that making supper for your family is one of the last things you want to think about! However, a little bit of prep can go a long way. The focus of this blog is to provide you with tips and tricks to master the art of freezer meals for family suppers! Having a plan in place will leave you feeling happy about what you are putting on the table, and your kids will have full bellies to fuel their evening activities.
Benefits of Freezer Meals:
- Save money by preparing meals in bulk
- Reduce stress as you have a plan in place for supper
- Save time on meal preparation during the week
Tip: Keep in mind that it doesn’t have to just be dinner that you prepare ahead of time! It can be breakfast, snacks and lunch! For example, baked oatmeal freezes really well and can be quickly pulled out for breakfast.
How to Prepare Freezer Meals:
- First things first. You need the ingredients if you want to prepare the meals! Spend some time going through recipes with your family (one-pot meals like soups, stews, chili and casseroles work well) and make a grocery list. Get your kids involved in the whole process, from making the list to shopping, and even preparing the meals. Choose a maximum of one new recipe per week.
- You can choose to spend a whole day preparing a few dishes to freeze, but you don’t have to! If you do, read through all the instructions first, and prep for efficiency; chop all the onions at once, etc.
- If you would prefer not to spend an entire day in the kitchen, a great strategy to slowly stock up your freezer is to make a one pot meal, have it fresh for supper, and freeze the rest to pull out in emergency situations.
- If you aren’t a fan of one-pot meals, you can prep and freeze individual components of a meal, so that they can be easily pulled out and included in a weeknight supper. For example, pre-cooked chicken, ground turkey/chicken/beef or chopped raw or blanched vegetables freeze well.
Tip: Find a friend to split freezer meals with—that way, your families get double the variety!
How to Store Freezer Meals:
- Useful tools for freezer meals include freezer bags, Tupperware containers, foil containers and a sharpie for labelling.
- Label with useful information, including the date and name of the recipe.
- Freeze foods in the quantity that you want to use at one time.
- Keep an inventory of what you have and rotate meals so that the oldest dishes are at the front or top of the freezer and used first.
Tip: When thawing meals or ingredients, plan ahead and do so in the fridge! Bacteria can grow at room temperature.
Happy Back to School!