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Freezer meal prep and save time

12 January 2018 AFROPOLITAN WOMEN


By: Natasha Archary 

 

Every mom can attest to not having enough arms to juggle all the daily responsibilities that pin her down morning to night. Every working mom and/or single mom can double the workload and minus about eight hours, which she will need to make up in order to get it all done. Unless by some miracle we’re working within a 28 hour day, there’s little time to lose precious sleep over worrying about what we’re not doing for our families.

The most common priority with moms from all walks of life is feeding our families wholesome, nutritional, delicious home cooked meals. It’s an ideal I strived for many years to achieve and one I often fell short, on a number of occasions. This was until I discovered the brilliance of freezer meal prep. It has revolutionised my life.

Freezer meal prepping is not an entirely new discovery. There is after all a freezer meal section in every supermarket, offering exciting options of ready made, easy to reheat food. Yes it may be easier to simply go out and buy said ready meals, stocking your freezer for a month or you could follow my simple tips to feed your family and save time. An added bonus is when you are preparing the meals yourself, you control the amount of salt, fat and oil that goes into each meal and it is therefore much healthier.

 

Storage

Before you get into the habit of freezer meal prepping, invest in quality freezer tubs with measurement markings on the side. This will help you portion prepared food accordingly. Usually a 500ml tub can feed two people comfortably but if you know your family’s preferences you can adjust the amounts you freeze per portion. I wouldn’t advise plastic containers unless they are BPA free. Remember to label your meals once in containers or freezer bags. It will make selecting from a packed freezer easy.

Suitable freezer storage includes:

Foil food savers

Foil wrap

Freezer bags

Freezer friendly glass storage containers, jars

Cardboard food savers are also a good alternative (no washing up)

 

Preparation

Dedicate at least two hours on the weekend to prepare your families meals for the week. This may seem like a long time to spend cooking but it’s a small price to pay to ensure weeknights are easier. All you would then need to do is take out your frozen meal before you leave home that day and reheat your defrosted deliciousness when you get back after a long, stressful day. This leaves you with more time to focus on bathtime, homework monitoring or just general old-fashioned family time.

Almost everything freezes well. Just remember not to fill up your storage containers completely, to leave room for the expansion. Nothing too scientific but freezing anything changes the molecular structure which needs to be taken into account.

You can freeze:

Stews

Soups

Curries

Lasagnes

Pastas

Rice

Homemade pastries, pies and pizzas

Baked goods

Waffles

Pancakes

Prepared vegetables and fruits

Marinated meat, chicken and fish

Veggie bakes

Once you start freezer meal prepping you will realize that just about everything can be frozen.

 

Consume Within

As long as you are freezing freshly prepared foods that have been completely cooled before it hits the freezer, it can then sit happily chilling for up to 3 months. Told you! Life changing.

 

Reheating

Depending on what you have prepared and frozen, reheating is as simple as transferring to a pan and warming on a stove-top, or oven dish and pop in the oven for a few minutes. For pasta and rice dishes, simply have them thaw in the fridge the day you intend to eat them and simply pop into the microwave for a few minutes. Baked goods can be warmed up either in the oven or from freezer straight to microwave for no more than three minutes.

There you have it, a guide to freezer meal prepping for the time strapped mom or dad. Ditch the takeout and give your family their favourites without compromising your energy and saving you time.


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