Home Food Dinnertime made easy!

Dinnertime is an essential and sometimes challenging part of everyday life.  If you’re a parent of young children, or kids who are always on the go, finding time to make dinner is difficult! One solution is to make freezer meals. It’s a healthy and inexpensive alternative to eating out.Here’s why it will save you money:

  • It can be cheaper to buy certain products in bulk.  Check the meat department for manager’s specials.  They often put larger quantities together in order to get them off the shelves to make room for new products.
  • Having a meal that is easy to prepare in your own freezer also greatly reduces the temptation to dine out at restaurant or to grab a fast food meal.  We all know that cooking at home is cheaper than dining out!

Recipes

If you’re looking for recipe ideas, there are cookbooks that are specifically for freezer meals. There is also wealth of information online.  There are recipes with chicken, pork, beef, meat-free and gluten free! Don’t forget Pinterest when planning your meals!

Tips for freezing food

Because food is involved, health and safety are key.  Here are some tips and guidelines when it comes to freezing meals.

  • Cool. It’s important to make sure the food is completely cooled before storing.
  • Package. You can use a good quality freezer Ziploc baggie and you put the contents in and smooth it out to get all the air out because the air will create freezer burn.  Lay it flat and you can stack them up in the freezer as a space saver. The other way to pack freezer meals is to buy aluminum containers.  It’s better to put plastic wrap underneath the foil and then put foil on top.  You’re don’t want to just put the lid on top because it will get freezer burn.
  • Label. Another important element of freezer meal preparation is labeling.  Label the food so that you know what is inside and when you made it.  According to guidelines from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, casseroles, cooked meat and poultry or gravy may be stored in a freezer for two to three months.

Go here to learn more about recommendations for freezing food

Make it a get-together

If you have a group of friends, co-workers or neighbors that might have a similar interest, you can create what’s called a Freezer Meal Exchange.

There are some things to consider when deciding on which foods to prepare. A group should discuss:

  • foods that someone may not like
  • any allergies to foods within the group 
  • how much the food will cost

For a four-member group, each participant in a group makes a dish for dinner and quadruples the recipe.  Meal exchange groups work best when they have between two and eight members.

Each member then divides up the meals and stores them in gallon-sized storage bags or in aluminum disposable containers. After the meals are all made at home, then frozen, the participants meet up for an exchange.

Each member passes out their meals with instructions on how to bake them, the label affixed to the bag or aluminum container.

The meal exchange concept is something that you can also tackle on your own.  You can make a recipe, then double or triple it, and store it in the freezer for a future date.
Happy freezing!
Melanie is self-employed after recently leaving the media industry. She’s a wife and a mother of two young children. It is her goal to empower readers to take charge of their money, spend it wisely and keep more of it in their wallets. She posts new articles each day that will help you save around the house, fill your pantry and stay organized! In addition to the deals you’ll find on her site and on post on social media, she also teaches classes and offers one-on-one family budget counseling.
Author
Melanie is self-employed after recently leaving the media industry. She's a wife and a mother of two young children. It is her goal to empower readers to take charge of their money, spend it wisely and keep more of it in their wallets. She posts new articles each day that will help you save around the house, fill your pantry and stay organized! In addition to the deals you’ll find on her site and on post on social media, she also teaches classes and offers one-on-one family budget counseling.
2 replies to this post
  1. I would not survive without freezer meals – always great to know that dinner is just a reheat away. My favorite cookbooks are “Not Your Mother’s Make-Ahead-And-Freeze Cookbook” by Jessica Fisher and “Don’t Panic, Dinner’s in the Freezer: Great-Tasting Meals You Can Make Ahead” by Susie Martinez and friends. Both of these are available at the Lincoln Libraries.

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