(Recipe Links at End of Article)
If the phrase, "I don't have time to cook, but I want to feed my family homemade meals?" sounds familiar, then freezing meals is the way to go. This make ahead strategy solves those daily-cooking dilemmas on hectic days.
Everyone freezes food for different reasons from make ahead meals, buying seasonal ingredients, or buying in bulk as a cost saver. Freezing food simply saves time, energy and money.
The concept of freezing meals has become extremely popular as seen by the new places popping up over the country where you go to prepare several dinners at one time to freeze. Why not cook and freeze in the comfort of your own kitchen, prepare what your family desires to eat, and on the time frame that works best for you? Think of your packed freezer as a ready-made pantry pulling out dinner at your convenience.
To freeze food successfully, there are certain tips and techniques necessary to follow. It is important to remember some foods freeze better than others. Also, using the proper freezing techniques, can make a difference in the flavor and texture of the finished dish.
Check out these important freezing facts and tips for successful freezing:
- Food must be at room temperature before freezing.
- Avoid freezing high sodium foods as salt lowers the freezing point of water
- Don't overload your freezer.
- Do not put a cold glass or ceramic dish in a hot oven as the dish may possibly break.
- When the power goes out, if your freezer is unopened it's full and well insulated -- foods will stay frozen from around two to four days.
- Air and moisture are the two main elements that cause freezer burn, likewise freezer storage containers and wraps must be moisture proof and airtight. Freezing food in the proper container is very important to avoid freezer burn and to prolong the freezer shelf life of the prepared food.
- Use proper plastic freezer containers or freezer plastic zip top bags.
- Allow room for food to expand as the food freezes.
- Pack food compactly into the container to reduce air.
- Use only containers with wide top openings so food can be removed without thawing, if desired.
- Use only microwaveable safe plastic containers to reheat frozen food.
- Frozsen prepared meals add options to your meal planning with nutritious pre-made choices.
Freeze Your Favorite Recipes
Most of your favorite recipes freeze well so start thinking with freezing in mind when you have time to cook.
Traditional soups, stews and chilies have earned a reputation of the flavor improving with time; therefore, they have always been touted as freezable. Try this creative chili, Pulled Pork Chili to have available in the freezer. Pull out this scrumptious appetizer appealing to all ages, Italian Pizza Rolls, out of the freezer to impress guests. Entree favorite lasagnas and casseroles are freezer staples with the Quick Chicken Lasagna consistently attracting the non-cook. Save room for dessert with a German Chocolate Angel Pie, cakes or bar cookies. And if you need a gift or have seasonal lemons or blueberries, don't pass up this fantastic Quick Lemon Blueberry Bread as quick breads freeze for 4 to 6 months.
Remember, you can freeze food for all occasions so stock up on appetizers to desserts, making even unexpected company enjoyable. And for those who live alone, prepare a recipe and freeze in portions in freezer plastic zip lock bags to pull out for your own personal frozen dinner. And if there are leftovers from dinner, pack, label and freeze. It is more economical to make your own supply of prepared dishes than to purchase commercially prepared foods.
All these freezer friendly healthier recipes are from Holly Clegg Trim & Terrific™ Freezer Friendly Meals cookbook. The book includes 30-minute trim & terrific recipes made with pantry friendly ingredients. So, next time you have a freezer question wondering how long a dish freezes or what to cook and freeze, turn to Holly's book that has all the answers to freezing but you didn't know where to look!
See the Related Recipes section below for some of Holly's great freezer friendly recipes.
For even more from Holly, click here to visit www.HollyClegg.com.
Holly Clegg is author of the best selling Trim & Terrific cookbook series including her latest The New Holly Clegg Trim & Terrific Cookbook and Holly Clegg's Trim & Terrific Freezer Meals. She appears on Fox & Friends, the NBC Weekend Today Show and her recipes have been featured in Cooking Light, USA Today and People Magazine. For more recipes visit Holly's website www.hollyclegg.com.
Click here for more great recipes and information about Holly Clegg's Trim & Terrific Freezer Friendly Meals: Quick And Healthy Recipes You Can Make in Advance (Trim & Terrific) and discount ordering through Amazon.com