Home cooked dinners in the freezer are like money in the bank – that’s what I always say! The only difference is food, unlike money, has a shelf life. Don’t leave it in the freezer too long otherwise you’ll end up with freezer burn.
Making more than one night’s worth of a great meal, to put away for the not too distant future, is a time saver and great on rushed nights. When I go to the freezer and find a dinner, it’s the same feeling as when you reach your hand in your pocket and you find five bucks. Score!
Freezing food is an excellent way to avoid food waste, too. If we can’t eat it before it goes bad – or if it was lost in the back of the refrigerator – it gets frozen for another time.
5 Tips for Cooking and Freezing Foods
- Cook: When making a meal, double the recipe and freeze one. Get into the habit of this and you will thank me. This method makes cooking meals ahead of time easy.
- Size: Freeze the food in size appropriate containers. If you’re single and live alone, freeze food in containers that work for you. If you’re feeding a family, freeze in containers that will provide enough for a dinner. Don’t forget to leave space at the top, too, for head-room. Liquids expand when freezing.
- Label: Use masking tape and label what you’re freezing. Don’t kid yourself and think you’ll be able to remember. I certainly can’t! Applesauce can look eerily similar to chicken stock when frozen.
- Convenience: Buying healthy convenience food is expensive and comes with lots of packaging. Brown rice, pinto beans, any beans, lentils – all of these work well when cooked and then frozen.
- Know: Not every food should be frozen – not because it’s bad – but when it thaws, it may not have a good texture. It all depends how you’re going to use the food once it’s thawed. Lettuce meant for a salad doesn’t work but spinach frozen works well when added to a soup. Mashed potatoes are fine to freeze but cubed potatoes in a soup are mush when thawed.
Get some money in your “freezer bank” and put together some meals for future dining. You can have a night off in the kitchen and enjoy a home cooked meal. Just make sure you don’t leave your dinner in the freezer too long!
What’s your favorite meal to freeze? What do you cook ahead and freeze?
Go Gingham related links:
Why I cook with pork – several reasons – and one involves sweat
Mexican pulled pork recipe is here – make it in the slow-cooker!
Just say no to baby carrots!
11 reasons to meal plan every week – save money, save time and reduce food waste
How our freezer gets used - what I keep in our freezer and how I utilize the space
Grocery shopping soon? Plastic grocery bag alternatives