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Freezing meals – is it the way to go?

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Frozen food may not look that appetising in this state - but it's healthier, cheaper and quicker than take-away! Post your feedback below.

I’m still not too sure about the whole idea of cooking food and then freezing it – even though I have been doing it for years now – mostly for my wonderful dad, but earlier back in my uni days.

So, I wanted to call on you all to give me some tips, tricks and recipes that work well for you, which you can post in the “comments” section below.

As a food enthusiast, I always think it’s better to cook and eat everything fresh – but of course, that’s not always possible. People do lead very demanding lives these days with long hours at work, kids (not that I’d know anything about that, but I can imagine it would be hard), commuting, new exercise regimes (I know something about that – really need to get on the treadmill again!!). The list goes on.

One thing that does dismay me is that in order for people to fit everything in – they get take-away rather than cooking. I’m not talking on the odd occasion – I mean once a week is fine – but almost every night!! This just boggles my mind!

Take-away is soooo expensive!! Quite often (depending on your choices) it’s not all that healthy – in fact it can be fat laden and horrible! I also think it’s a bit of a falesy that take-away saves time. I mean unless you get it home-delivered, by the time you ring up, wait a bit, drive down to pick it up – probably wait a bit longer, and then drive home – you could have cooked a delicious, healthy meal at home. Just on this blog alone I can name five recipes I could have whipped up in the time it takes to pick up your take-away (garlic and chilli prawns, marinated lamb, whipped up quickly on the barbecue, Pollo alla Cacciatora, baked fish with tomato and lemon and of course – Matt’s Meatlovers Pasta).

I don’t mean to blow my own trumpet, but I know all these dishes would taste better than KFC or pizza (don’t tell Matt I said that! LOL. It is his favourite food)

The reason for my critique on frozen food is that I am really enjoying doing weekly cook-ups for my dad – so that he’s always got food to eat when he gets home from a hard night working at Anglesea Fruitz. However, I’m afraid he’s getting sick of eating the same old things – as in stuff I know freezes well – like casseroles of all kinds, spaghetti bolognese etc. I even freeze risotto – although I know this doesn’t re-heat that well.

I was also hoping that your tips, tricks and recipe ideas might inspire others to cook and freeze, rather than opt for expensive take-away. I mean just imagine how much money you could save if you dedicated a day a week, or even a fortnight, to make a few nice casseroles, soups etc to stockpile in your freezer for busy nights when you just can’t be bothered.

I can imagine that if I’m lucky enough to have some little kiddlywinks running around one day, that taking care of them is going to take up almost all of my time. But I think we owe it to ourselves and to the health of our families to take some time out and cook food – even if it means we stick it in the freezer for later use. I mean simple pasta sauce like my marinara recipe is so versatile that you can make it, freeze it, and then use it to whip up quick pasta dishes where all you have to do is thaw it out, cook some pasta and then add some mince, bacon, or other flavourings like capers, olives, capsicum etc. In no time at all – you have a meal on the table and little washing up.

Tonight mum is coming over and we are taking over Matt’s mum’s kitchen to whip up some yummy stuff for dad to have for dinners for the next weeks or so – which will be served up into meal-sized containers and labelled accordingly. I am planning on making chicken and lemon drumsticks, bolognese sauce, chilli con carne and a lovely chicken risoni dish. Except for the bolognese sauce – they are all new dishes I found on the web. So, I’ll let you know how they go.

In the meantime, I’d really love to hear your stories around freezing meals. What recipes have worked well for you? Are there some important tips people should follow if they are going to head down this path.

Here are five things I always consider when I’m freezing meals:

  • How will the recipe go being reheated? I always avoid freezing meals that contain cream, as I’ve found it doesn’t work well
  • Always use good, air-tight containers that are labelled – so you know what’s in them.
  • Try not to keep frozen meals in the freezer too long – 3 months, tops.
  • I always figure out the meals I would like to make, and then do a comprehensive shopping list – including adding plastic containers to the list. There’s nothing worse then cooking a whole stack of food and then having no containers to put it in.
  • After putting the food in the containers, ensure it has cooler to room temprature before putting the lid on and putting it in the freezer.

Leave your tip in the comments sections below.

Cheers,

Lisa

Comments

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0 comments on “Freezing meals – is it the way to go?
  1. I’m actually thinking of buying a Sunbeam food vaccum sealing machine. They work so much better than plastic containers. I’m sick of the icicles that form. We also buy our meat in bulk and there are rave reviews of them on taste.com.au. 🙂 I freeze passata and also make up my bbq shredded beef, so that I always have something for taco’s, nachos, pasta etc 🙂

    • Hey Kat
      I reckon those vacuum seal machines could be cool – ideal for freezing sauces and stuff like that. I used to freeze mushroom sauce and put it in zip-lock containers, which I guess is a similar concept, except without the vacuum part.
      Can you reheat straight from the sealed pack, provided you open it a bit to stop it from exlpoding?

  2. Since I only freeze cooked foods for a few weeks at most, I don’t worry too much about the vacuum But I do worry about what I freeze. I don’t like frozen potatoes which have a weird texture when defrosted. Rice and beans freeze well in almost any combination so I leave the potatoes out of soups and substitute rice which can then be microwaved. Chili comes out fine. One unusual is eggplant Parmesan which comes out great if you skin the eggplant prior to cooking.

    BTW Thanks for stopping by.

    Poppa John

    • Great tips Poppa John – I agree with you about the potato. I usually do casseroles and put rice or pasta with them, rather than potatoes.
      The meals I freeze also don’t last long either, but I think the vacuum packing would be worth looking into for long freezing.

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