Having prepared meals on hand for the arrival of a new baby (or other life changes) and be a great tool to reduce stress and help keep your budget in line.
Meat is the main part of many meals. A couple basic rules will help save you some time and space. Don’t freeze Styrofoam and don’t freeze air. Putting Styrofoam trays in your freezer takes up space and slows down the thawing process later. Air inside containers and Styrofoam trays takes up space and allows freezer burn to set in faster.
If you like your meat marinated, put meal size portions in a zipper bag and add the marinade to the bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible and freeze. The marinade coats and protects the meat from freezer burn for a longer period of time and when you take it out to thaw, it flavors your meat.
Cooking meat before freezing is another way save time and sanity at dinner time. Ground beef cooked down with no seasoning can be frozen and later tossed in dishes, “helpers”, turned to taco meat or sloppy joe and a number of other uses. Pre-cooked chicken can be packaged for casseroles, “helpers”, for quick re-warming or prepped for fajitas.
You can have full ham’s sliced my your store’s meat department. Most will do it for free. Have some thick sliced to later turn into soup meat or quick “ham steaks”. You can also have it sliced deli thin to make freezer sandwiches. Each sandwich can be placed in a zipper bag and frozen. The will thaw quickly on the counter and are easy to toss into a child’s lunch box for school.
Sarah Jehnzen is the author of Sarah’s Deals, a West Michigan based blog that’s “Helping You Live Better, For Less”. She posts regular sale matchups, coupons, reviews, giveaways and freebies as well as a variety of cooking tips, household hints, craft/decorating ideas, and other helpful information. You can connect with Sarah via Facebook or at @sarahs_deals on twitter.