Once you have made the decision to make freezer meals to help save time and money, you really have to know a few things so they turn out like you expect them to. Here are our top 9 Tips For Great Freezer Meals to help you stay on track. You want not only quality foods after the meals are reheated, but easy steps along the way.
9 Tips For Great Freezer Meals
Prep All Produce At The Same Time: If you create your freezer cooking meals all at once for the week or month, it is wise to do all of your produce prep at one time. I prefer pulling out my bowls, cutting board and knives and going through each vegetable I will be using and slicing, dicing, chopping or cutting in all the different forms needed all at once. You can separate into bowls until time to assemble each individual meal.
Use Quality Storage: I cannot say enough about how quality storage will help you have better food products in the long run. We have a simple post on Must Have Items To Make Healthy Freezer Meals with some great suggestions on quality storage methods. This will prevent freezer burn and retain the optimum flavor you want and need.
Keep Raw & Cooked Foods Separate: Some people prefer to assemble meals and freeze in their raw form to be tossed into a Crockpot to cook later. Others prefer to fully cook everything, allow it to cool and store for simple reheat and eat later. Whichever method you choose, make sure to be diligent about raw and cooked foods being stored separately, as well as practice proper sanitation with hands, knives and cutting boards during prep.
Parboil Pastas Before Freezing: If you are in the group that likes all of your freezer meals cooked before being frozen, any pasta dishes can create a problem. With reheating there could be potential for pasta getting too soft. Instead of cooking to your preferred softness, simply parboil (cook just until they start to soften and then remove from heat) and add to the other ingredients. This keeps things like elbow macaroni and spaghetti from getting too soft when reheated.
Host Freezer Meal Parties: There is nothing as fun as swapping food and recipes with your friends! Host a freezer meal party where every person brings enough meals to exchange one with each person in attendance. So if 5 people were there, you would each bring 5 complete meals. One for every other person, and one for yourself. If you want to work together to prep them, choose the person with the largest kitchen or even consider renting out a church or park kitchen for the day! You can work with a larger group & each person does one recipe, which saves time & money! Rental prices will vary depending on your area, but some are as low as $10 for a day! If you have kids, this is a great way to get everyone together so the children stay busy while you prepare meals for the next few weeks.
Triple Recipes You Use Often: Instead of doing just one recipe of your favorite pasta dish, triple that recipe and create multiple portioned packages to be used at other times. If you know your family loves it, keep some on hand at all times. For things like waffles or pancakes, try making a huge batch once a month for easy breakfasts.
Label With Date Made & Expiration: Some foods are best used within a 3-6 month window. If this is the case, make sure to label your packages not only with the date it was made, but the recommended expiration date.
Freeze Side Dishes Too: Find fresh produce on sale at the farmers market but know you can’t use it all in time? Prepare and freeze as you would an entree to be used later! You can even freeze individual ingredients, like produce from your garden for later. Smoothie packs are another great way to save time and money. Buy spinach or kale when it’s on sale and portion out into freezer bags. Add your fruit, yogurt, etc and freeze. In the morning, you can dump the bag into the blender, add your liquid, and have a nutritious smoothie with very little effort & no spoiled food! Try our chocolate avocado smoothie recipe!
Portion Control For Easy Reheating: If you are cooking everything prior to freezing, it is very simple to store in individual portions instead of one large meal. This makes it simple for families to have grab and go lunches, as well as grab and go dinners on busier nights.
Freezer meals are so much fun to create, and of course handy to keep you on track in your time management and budget. These tips for great freezer meals will help you stay focused, and enjoy the experience much more!
Need recipe ideas? Check out our Freezer Meal Recipes & these cookbooks!
- Fix, Freeze, Feast: The Delicious, Money-Saving Way to Feed Your Family
- Not Your Mother’s Make-Ahead and Freeze Cookbook
- Cooking for the Freezer: 25 Make-and-Freeze Recipes
- Gluten-Free Freezer Recipes
- Freezer Meals: Delicious Gluten-Free Slow Cooker Recipes for Make-Ahead Meals
What are some of your favorite tips to simply freezer cooking?