Do you struggle with what to make for dinner? Families today have very busy schedules and often we don’t think about what’s for dinner until it is time to eat. With a little planning you can have wonderful home cooked meals ready to take from the freezer, put in the oven and your family can be eating a in about an hour!
Here are a few helpful tips for preparing meals for the freezer.
- Pre cook meats and place it in freezer bags for quick meals like tacos or maid rites.
- If you are making casseroles freeze them before baking, especially when all of the ingredients are cooked.
- Undercook starchy ingredients like potatoes, rice and pasta when using them in a meal for the freezer.
- Freeze meals in portion sizes for the number of people in your family. If you have leftover freeze individual size meals in freezer bags for quick lunches.
- Freeze meals in the containers you plan to cook them in. Glass containers work well.
- Don’t freeze meals that include items that don’t freeze well such as boiled eggs, sour cream and mayonnaise.
- Seasoning intensity can change during freezing so season lightly. Cloves, pepper, garlic and celery become stronger upon freezing. Remember you can always add more seasonings when reheating.
- Make double batches and freeze one for later use.
- Let your family help! Many hands will make meal preparation go more quickly. Assign tasks to family members according to their age. You will help develop life-long skills and talents.
- If you are baking your casserole before freezing, cool it quickly. Also remember that shallow baking pans speed freezing and thawing of casseroles.
- To thaw casseroles before reheating, allow the casserole to stand in the refrigerator overnight. Then cook as directed in the recipe. If it is not completely thawed you may need to add 15 to 30 minutes to the cooking time.
- Fully cooked casseroles should not be thawed, but baked at 400°F for the time according to the recipe.
- Use frozen casseroles within three months for best quality. Be sure and label all of your meals with the cooking directions and the date that you put it in the freezer.
Planning ahead helps you to take control of your family dinners making meal time enjoyable for everyone!