- 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!
- Go here to find money-saving coupons for ingredients you may use in recipes for freezer or crock pot meals!
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.
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.