Freezer Meals: Store Up Some Cold, Hard Savings
Freezer meals are becoming an increasingly popular way to save time. But did you know that they can also save you money? If you’ve ever thought about freezing your meals, here are some way to get the most out of your efforts.
What are freezer meals?
When we say freezer meals, we’re not talking about store-bought TV dinners that heat up in the microwave. These are home-cooked breakfasts, lunches and dinners that you make and store for later. A surprising variety of foods can be frozen to feed your family, including soups, sandwiches and casseroles. You can also freeze partial meals or ingredients for future courses.
Freezer cooking can save you time on decision-making and cleaning up. Some people will cook a month’s worth in one day, while others will simply double or triple a recipe and freeze the extra. Find the method that works best for you.
How do I save?
When dinner’s ready to go, you won’t grab grab some take-out on the way home after a busy day or when you just don’t feel like cooking. Plus, you’ll be eating healthier for less money. Freezer meal prep goes hand-in-hand with meal planning. By determining what you’re going to have beforehand and setting limits, it’ll mean less time at the store and fewer impulse buys. Freezer cooking also helps decrease the unplanned shopping trips that can kill your monthly budget.
Your frozen dishes can also be made with whatever’s on sale. Look for discounts on more expensive ingredients like meat and divide it into manageable portions before freezing. Buying in bulk can also generate savings and food that’s frozen doesn’t spoil as quickly.
Freezer cooking tips
Don’t do all of your shopping and cooking on one day—that would be exhausting. If you’re new to the process, start small with a handful of meals you can pull out when needed. And make sure to let the food cool off before you freeze it so that you don’t thaw out other items.
Air is your enemy when it comes to these meals—it’s what causes freezer burn. If you’re using gallon or quart-sized bags, squeeze out as much air as possible before sealing them. Some people even use straws to create a vacuum in the container. And freeze things flat whenever possible so the bags stack easier.
Use labels with dates and descriptions. You’re less likely to eat a freezer meal if you don’t know what it is or how long it’s been in there. Keep things organized and maintain an inventory sheet, rotating through it regularly. These time & money-saving meals aren’t for long-term food storage, after all, they’re quick and easy sustenance solutions.