For busy families, it’s not always possible for everyone to be at the table all at the same time. The hectic schedules can make it difficult to prepare healthy, home-cooked meals. How many times has your family eating a tasteless, processed dinners or fast-foods because you didn’t have time to cook? Here’s a secret: Make Your Own Frozen Dinners. With a little bit of planning and preparation over the weekend, you can make delicious dinners that can be kept in the freezer for your family to enjoy throughout the busy week.
How to Make Your Own Frozen Dinners:
Planning Your Frozen Meals
Step 1: The first step in making frozen dinners is choosing what foods you are going to freeze. Before you go out and buy groceries, take inventory of your refrigerator. If you have vegetables that aren’t being eaten try and incorporate them into your meal planning. You will save money and waste less if you try and use some of the foods you may already have.
Step 2: Make a shopping list and buy foods you know you can freeze and that your family will eat. Meat, vegetables, potatoes, soups, casseroles, and wraps all freeze well and taste great reheated. Baked foods like bread and muffins are also good choices for freezing. Eggs and fried foods should be avoided because they don’t usually freeze and reheat successfully.
Step 3: Make sure you have plenty of storage containers and freezer bags on hand before you begin preparing your meals.
Step 1: To save yourself time, prepare and cook several foods at once. If you have your meals planned, you can always portion them out when you’re done cooking.
Step 2: After you’ve cooked your food, you need to let it cool before putting it in the freezer. This will prevent the food from getting freezer burn once it’s stored in the freezer.
Tips: If you plan to cook vegetables for your frozen meals, be sure you don’t over-cook them. Leaving them a bit under-cooked will prevent them from becoming soggy when they are reheated later.
Sometimes leftovers make the best frozen meals. If you find that you’ve cooked a big dinner and you have some left, don’t toss it–freeze it!
Food that you are going to freeze should always be stored in air-tight containers. If you plan to reheat your meals in the microwave, be sure the containers are microwave-safe. Glass containers and freezer bags work nicely for most foods, and they are available in different sizes so that you can easily portion meals.
Tip: If you are freezing liquids, soups for example, leave at least an inch of space at the top of the container. Liquids will expand, so give them some extra room.
Labeling Instructions: Always label your meals before placing them in the freezer. Labels should include the contents, date, and reheating instructions. Homemade frozen dinners should be eaten within 2 months from the date of preparation. When you add new meals to the freezer, pull older ones to the front so that they don’t go to waste.
Thawing Your Meals
You can thaw your frozen meals by putting them into the refrigerator the day before you are going to eat them. Since frozen meals are made ahead of time for convenience, you may not have the time to let them thaw out for very long. You can thaw your food quickly by holding the sealed food under cold running water or letting it sit in a sink or basin of cold water. You can also thaw it out in the microwave on a low heat setting.
It isn’t difficult to make your own frozen dinners. Not only will you save money, you’ll also eat healthier! Have you ever made freezer meals? What are your favorite recipes to freeze?