With a busy schedule it’s hard to prepare fresh meals every day. So a good way to work around this time crunch is to prepare your meals on the weekends or whenever you have a bit of extra time. Then you simply seal and freeze your meals so they will be ready whenever you need them. Most of the food you make can last about three months in the freezer with very little size effects or loss of flavor.
Some people have concerns about freezing meats with vegetables as they feel it might lead to contamination. In fact just the opposite is true. By freezing food it inactivates any microbes that might be present.
You can choose whether you want to thaw the food before you prepare it or just use it in the frozen state. So you can quickly feed your family or yourself just minutes after getting home from work or a busy day of errands.
Some of the benefits of make ahead frozen meals include:
- No clean up
- No advanced thawing required
- Healthy with no preservatives
- Real vegetables
A common question people often ask is what they should freeze their food in. There are several options each having it’s own pros and cons. The most simple and cheap option are plastic bags. The simple freezer bags you find in your local supermarket work just fine. Mark the recipe and date on the bag so you know what it is as many meals look very similar once they are frozen.
The next to consider are round Pyrex 7 cup containers. They are strong and durable and easily reused. Initially they cost more than plastic bags, but if you plan on doing this long term eventually they will pay for themselves. If the food you are freezing has a high water content be sure not to fill it all the way to the top as it might expand as it freezes. Size the containers are round you can easily dump the food in an instant pot to warm it up quickly and easily.
Another option are square 8 cup Pyrex containers. These are similar to the round containers mentioned above. They hold slightly more food because they are larger, however that also means they take up more space in the freezer as well.
Some people prefer to use stainless steel containers. These are best for small servings or meals for one person. The downside to these containers is the fact that you can’t see into them. So you have to rely on your markings on the outside to determine what you will be eating.
Finally the last container to consider are disposable aluminum pans. The pans are relatively cheap but are quite large and cumbersome. It’s also difficult to get a good seal on some of these pans as they easily bend and can let air in. Plus the large size takes up a lot of freezer space.
Freezer burn is always a concern with frozen meals. The best way to combat this is by making sure you get all the air out of your storage containers. This is tough to do with a Pyrex bowl, but generally they shouldn’t taste that bad. If you’re really concerned you can use plastic bags which are easiest to get all the air out of.