As we roll into the fall season it seems that we all become busier with back to school activities and the upcoming holidays. This sometimes leaves little time to cook healthy meals. If this is the case for you and your family, consider meal prep and meal planning for freezer-friendly meals.
Freezer meals can be a timesaver and you’ll always be guaranteed to have a nutritious meal prepped and ready to go for your hungry family. Here are some tips on how to get started with freezer meals. Always like to have freezer meals cooked and ready to go.
Life gets so busy with the kids and it does help to keep your budget in the balance because you avoid going out for dinner or ordering out. Not to mention it is much healthier for your whole family.
Storage Containers For Freezer Meals
Make sure you have the appropriate food storage containers on hand. You’ll need a variety of contains that can hold chopped veggies and other food items for easy storage in the fridge or freezer.
You’ll use these containers for just about everything from snacks and lunches to cooked meals and leftovers. It’s helpful to have a range of sizes, as well.
These dual compartment containers are great for veggie prep. These larger glass containers are freezer and oven safe. For a less expensive alternative, the set of aluminum tin foil pans come in a variety of sizes.
Just to give an example of the glass storage containers that I recommend. They can go from the freezer to the oven and are microwavable too. Great for lunches and dinners. These are the 10 pack Glass Food Storage Containers, they are BPA free, Leakproof and airtight. They are amazing and truly are great for kitchen prepping meals for the week or the month.
Not every meal will need to be made ahead of time; sometimes you’re just prepping the ingredients, such as chopping the veggies. When planning your meals, look at the common ingredients in each meal and try to prep enough of the same ingredient ahead of time so that it can be stored and divided among the meals accordingly.
The best way to master meal planning prep work is to have a grocery shopping list of all the meals you are planning to prep and freeze. Secondly, you need a plan for what will be for dinner each night of the week. This helps when you know what exactly to prep and portions that you are freezing. Thirdly, getting organized is crucial and to be able to save on time, it would ideal for multi-ingredient prep.
It is so important to really educate yourself on the proper food storage and how long certain foods can be stored.
Try making enough of one main ingredient that can be used throughout the week for multiple meals. A great example is chicken. If you roast a chicken or even purchase several rotisserie chickens, that meat can be used for several meals, such as shredded chicken tacos, chicken tortilla soup, wraps, chicken noodle soup, chicken casseroles and more. The chicken can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer so that it is easily incorporated into a meal.
Freezer Meal Ideas
Freezer meals that are made ahead of time are a great idea for busy weeknights. Keep in mind that you’ll need to take the meal out either the night before or the morning of so that it can thaw in your refrigerator before heating it. This is where it’s handy to have a schedule of your planned meals for the week so that you’ll know what to pull out and thaw.
Make sure you take into account your freezer capacity when making freezer meals. Don’t make more than you can comfortably store unless you have a second freezer available in your household.
Some meals that you can put into freezer bags, I highly recommend these freezer bags that are not only food saver, money-saving and space-saving for your freezer.
Here is a general list of great ideas to begin with when choosing Ideas to make and then freeze:
- Soups, Stews, Chilis
- Marinated Chicken
- Stuffed Peppers
- Stuffed Pasta Shells
If you decide to try the freezer meal approach, plan what you would like to make, make a grocery list, set aside a day to do all the prep and cooking and make sure to label and date the food you’ve prepared. Freezer meals can be a handy way to feed your family when cooking time is tight. Find what works for you and enjoy the feeling of having meals prepared ahead of time when those busy nights roll around.