I’m all about convenience! Food allergies, however, have put an end to quick, convenient, ready made food. (I’m glad!!!) Here are a few tips I’ve learned in the last few years. These little tips help me get dinner on the table in a flash.
I love my freezers! And I love freezing homemade food. One of my best tips is to buy ground beef/chuck (ground whatever!) on sale and make several different dinner options for the freezer. The easiest first step is simply browning a pound of ground beef with some chopped fresh onion & a few sprinkles of garlic powder, oregano, salt and pepper. Drain the fat and freeze in plastic baggies. I mostly use this to make spaghetti sauce. We happen to like a more saucy and less meaty spaghetti sauce, so I freeze the ground beef in 1/4 pound portions. This means we can get four spaghetti meals from one pound of ground beef!!! That is very affordable. To defrost, take out the night before and thaw in the fridge. If you are like me, however, at 5:30 pm you’ll pull the completely frozen hunk of ground beef out of the freezer, throw it in the microwave for a quick defrost, and then start dinner. 🙂 Keep some jars of spaghetti sauce and noodles on hand and you’ll always have a quick and convenient meal ready to go! This is our fallback meal. When I don’t have anything planned for dinner, we usually have spaghetti.
Make hamburger patties and wrap each one in plastic wrap. Then put them in a plastic baggie. Label, date, and freeze. (Always date and label, even if I forget to say this every time I post something freezer related!) Take out the night before and defrost in the fridge.
Make at least two meatloaves (one for that night and one for the freezer). Meatloaves need a good 24 hours to defrost in the fridge. I’m working on a dairy free and egg free meatloaf recipe. I’ll post it soon if it passes the test!
I have two freezers in addition to our regular kitchen freezer. And I love them!!! You don’t have to have any additional freezers for these tips.
In my upright freezer, I have a shelf for baked goods, a shelf for cooked meats (like my meatballs), and a shelf for raw but marinated or prepared meats (like meatloaf). It helps keep me organized.
I also have a little horizontal freezer (whatever are they officially called???). For that one, I throw in all kinds of safe freezer foods: Ore-Ida french fries, tater tots, and lots of steam in the bag veggies. I try to stock up on steam in the bag veggies when they go on sale.
There’s nothing better than pulling out a bag of steamed veggies and adding it to something homemade from your freezer! THAT IS convenience! And the added bonus is, if I made it, I know my daughter will be safe eating it. And really, that’s worth everything to me.
“She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household.” Proverbs 31:15 While I do not rise while it is still night, I AM trying to provide food for my household. And my freezer helps me meet that need.
P.S. Stay tuned for a post on my favorite chicken recipes/dishes for the freezer.