Freezing food for busy weeknight dinners
Freezing food is an healthy option for making your own fast weeknight dinnersWe all know that healthy eating is important, but most people just don't have the time to make a healthy, home cooked meal every night. Because of this, unfortunately most of us resort to fast food and TV dinners. Luckily there is a way to eat well and save yourself some time. By freezing food for busy weeknight dinners, you can make great meals for your family and have the convenience of a quick meal.
How can you do this? Making your own frozen dinners can be as easy as doubling your recipe on the weekend or spending a few extra hours making meals for the rest of the week. There is a big advantage to cooking and freezing your own food--you know exactly what you put into it. No more guessing what all the ingredients are or worrying about added preservatives. With your own frozen meals, you'll know that you and your family are getting all of the nutrition they need, without having to spend precious time during the week cooking a meal.
Before you get started, there are a few things that you should keep in mind when freezing food:
Cool your meals:
After cooking your meals, make sure that you cool them before sticking them in the freezer. Putting a hot meal directly into the freezer can raise the temperature in the freezer and cause your food to not freeze properly. Your meals could freeze unevenly--the outer edges would freeze first and the middle would take some time longer before it froze. This can cause your food to spoil or not taste right when it is thawed out.
If your meal was prepared in a pan, put the pan into a sink of icy water to evenly cool down the whole dish before putting it into the freezer. If you are cooling a pot of soup, stir it occasionally for it to cool evenly. When freezing food, don't stack your meals in the freezer until they have frozen completely, this will help them freeze more quickly.
Wrap them properly:
Improperly wrapped food can cause freezer burn. To avoid freezer burn make sure that all of your containers are properly closed and free of any water. Air tight containers are the best guarantee against freezer burn. If you are freezing any sort of meat, make sure that you wrap it tightly in foil before putting it into a freezer bag.
When placing your dishes into containers, make sure that the containers are made especially for freezing food, other bags or containers might not be air and moisture tight. Press as much air as possible out of freezer bags before throwing them into the freezer--this helps keep them fresh.
Freezing your meals into individual sized portions not only makes it faster for you and your family to grab a quick meal, but small amounts freeze much better than large amounts of food. Try to use containers that hold a quart of food, if your container is much larger it will take longer to freeze and your food could spoil.
Just because you're busy doesn't mean that you and your family can't still eat healthy home cooked meals. Skip the TV dinner aisle in the grocery store and pass by the fast food restaurants. Have a nice home cooked dish whenever you want, even with your busy schedule.