Okay, so you’ve probably gone through the scenario of trying to figure out what to make for dinner, or how to find the time to make a healthy tasty meal during a busy week. Eating out every night probably doesn’t work for you and your family, yet you’re struggling to try and find a way to get good food on the table fast.
Over the years I’ve tried different types of recipes, meal plans and services and quite frankly none of them were super helpful. Some required too much time, others had a gazillion ingredients and delivery services often came with too much packaging. I always went back to my own method and recipes, which are fine, but sometimes I would run into cooker’s block (kinda like writer’s block, but for making meals). Some weeks I would be making the same things on autopilot because they were healthy, fast and I didn’t have to think too much, but then the meals would get boring after a while.
Whether you’re a new mom, trying to figure things out or you’re a parent that’s been though the same type of scenario and are still looking for a better solution, there are a couple things I can suggest that you might wanna try out:
- Collect Quick, Easy & Tasty Freezer Meal Recipes – If making up meals off the top of your head isn’t your forté, have a set of quick and easy recipes you can refer to. Recipes that don’t call for a ton of ingredients and that you can make in under an hour, preferably in 30 minutes. Cookbooks, websites or recipes you’ve filed away and printed can help. Make them easy to reach and accessible. Either have them on your desktop computer, in a binder in your kitchen or on your phone.
- Write out a detailed grocery list of what you’ll need. – Make sure to purchase things you can use in multiple recipes. Purchase extra. If you’re trying to plan for the week ahead and would like to have some meals left over to freeze, you are going to purchase more than you normally would for a few days or a week. While it seems like you’re purchasing extra, remember this can save you a trip to the grocery store the following week, if done right.
- Shop only once a week for groceries. If you want to save time, designate one day a week for grocery shopping and make sure to get everything you need (a way to do this is have a chalkboard or notepad fixed in a place in or near the kitchen to write and remember all the things you’ll need- don’t forget to take it with you).
- Designate a day, perhaps a weekend where you will spend time prepping meals (1hr -3 hours max). Put it in your calendar. Chop and prepare ingredients for each recipe and put the items specific to each recipe in reusable containers in your freezer. If you are short on space, you can also double up saved bread or tortilla bags (if you don’t want to waste freezer bags).
- Label and date all meals. You’re gonna want to do this because after a few days or weeks you might not be able to recognize the meal you made in frozen form. It will also guarantee you cook and eat them on time. Cooked poultry and meats only last a few months in the fridge, while most foods last under a year
- Take meal out of the freezer day before and thaw in fridge. To prevent bacteria overgrowth, you want to make sure you defrost it the fridge (Make sure your freezer is set to – 18^C (0^F) or lower and your fridge is set to 4^C (40^F) or lower).* If you’ve forgotten to do so, you can also defrost by submerging the airtight container in cold water.
Creating and preparing freezer meals takes a little bit of planning, but if you follow the simple steps above it can save you a lot of time during your week. It can also provide you with healthy and cost effective dishes for the days you don’t have a whole lotta time to cook. What you’ll need to do is schedule a day in your calendar (with reminder alerts set ahead of time) to get the ingredients you need and do the prep. Once you’ve got all the meals labeled and packed in the freezer, you’ll be able to sit back and relax, not needing to worry about what to prepare for dinner.