As a busy mum having a few meals in the freezer ready to defrost and reheat can be the difference between Vegemite sandwiches for dinner and a nutritious meal for the family. Getting those meals into the freezer on the other hand can be the hard part – when do you find the time to cook dinner one night let alone for future nights? Here are a few tips to help you fill the freezer and save you time and money.
1. Double up
If you are making a big batch of spaghetti bolognaise or a casserole or anything freezer friendly then cook double the quantity and freeze the extra. Depending on your family you might like to freeze these in single serve portions so they can be reheated for just one or many. The leftover meat for a roast dinner is also great for freezing and can then be turned into something else down the track – roast pork into cider and pork pies or roast chicken into chicken fried rice.
2. Slow and steady
A slow cooker is a fantastic time saving appliance as you can just add all the ingredients in the morning and leave to cook during the day. Slow cookers are also wonderful for bulk cooking as they usually have large capacity. Stews and soups work beautifully in slow cookers or for something a bit different check out the Three Slow Cookers blog.
3. Many hands make light work
Get together with some other parents or friends and take it in turn to cook some big batch ups. You will get to try new and different foods that you might not normally cook and you might only have to cook for the group once a month. Alternatively you can make a day of it and have your friends over to make the food. Someone is responsible for watching the kids while everyone else gets to work in the kitchen.
4. Make a headstart
Pizza dough is an example of something that can be frozen in a ball, and then defrosted ready to roll out and make delicious homemade pizzas. Likewise, burger patties can be prepared and frozen individually so they can be cooked fresh. Have a look through your recipe repertoire and see what you can make ahead of time and freeze to make dinner time a whole lot easier.
Freeze soups, stocks and other liquids in snap lock bags. You can lay them flat in the freezer so they take up less room and are also quick to defrost.
What are your favourite meals to keep handy in the freezer?
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