- Use zip-lock bags to store as many meals as possible. They are cheaper than disposable pans and typically take up less space.
- Double-Bag soups and marinades to prevent leaking. Enough said. A frozen leak is no fun to clean up!
- Don’t forget to label food with a date, name, cooking time, and temperature using a permanent marker. You think you’ll remember what it is…but down the road many marinades can look the same.
- Flash freeze food to reduce use of disposable pans. Use plastic wrap to line a casserole dish, and put your meal in the freezer for an hour or until frozen. Remove food from pan, and then wrap in several layers of aluminum foil or plastic wrap. This allows use of the pan while you store the meal in the freezer. To serve, place frozen meal back in glass dish to defrost, and then cook.
- Defrost your meal safely. Never thaw at room temperature. If possible, plan a few days ahead and allow food to defrost in the refrigerator.
- Don’t re-freeze raw meat that was already frozen. For example, if you thawed chicken and mixed it into a marinade, don’t put it back in the freezer. Thawed meat should not be refrozen. Rather, buy individually frozen chicken breasts to put in a marinade to freeze, and keep them frozen. Or buy meat that has never been frozen, mix it in a marinade, and then freeze.
- Keep your enthusiasm for freezer meals strong by rotating between fresh and frozen meals. You will find that certain types of meals freeze better than others. To avoid freezer meal burnout, be sure to plan to integrate freshly-prepared meals with frozen ones.
If you are ready to give freezer meals a try, I have recipes ready for you! Click HERE to access some of my tried and true favorites. And a bonus? They are healthy and consistent with eating The Happy Gal Way. (If you haven’t already seen my cookbook, Healthy Eating The Happy Gal Way, be sure to check it out HERE. It is FULL of all kinds of recipes, including many freezer meal options.) And if you are ready to get a little more serious about freezer meals, then you’ll want to check out a great website – Once a Month Meals. For a small membership fee, a full month’s worth of recipes are provided – and you can customize the menu for your dietary needs (gluten free, vegetarian, healthy, etc.) Check them out HERE.
Don’t let freezer meals intimidate you! Jump in, and soon you will be able to share your tips with me! (And please do in the comment section below. I love to learn from you!)