Thursday, February 13, 2014

Freezer Cooking Part 1: I'm ALL OVER this!!!

If you know me in "real life," you know hubby and I lead a pretty crazy life.  I coach field hockey in the fall (outdoors at the high school) and in the winter/spring (indoors for a club team), as well as basketball in the winter (at the high school) and chasing our daughter around at softball in the spring and summer while he coaches wrestling all winter and then softball in the spring.  Oh... right, and he and my son do maple sugaring as well.

It makes for a pretty insane cooking/eating schedule for most of the year.  That being said, I've discovered and LOVE freezer cooking!   I am working hard (amongst all this) to improve the healthiness of what I am putting on the table, so doing as much "real" food as possible is the plan.  If I can have something to pull from the freezer before I head to work (oh... right, did I mention there's that, too???) and pop it in the crockpot or pull it out to start thawing for the oven, it's WAY better than a trip to the pizza place (not that I MIND that once and a while...) for us.

I thought I'd share some freezer cooking this week in a multi-part series.  Don't want to overload you all at once!  So today is some info - how, why, all that sort of thing!  

Freezer Cooking

Did you know that you can cook once and eat all week, or even all month? That's right, a lot people do it to help them eat healthier at home, save time, and even save money. Freezer cooking consists of making several meals at once, freezing them to reheat and eat at a later time. Traditional cooking means coming home after a long day at work and maybe even your child’s baseball game and still cook dinner and clean up prior to taking time to relax.

Imagine instead that all you have to do is pop in one of your pre-made frozen dinners. A dinner that you made yourself that you know the exact ingredients, unlike commercial frozen dinners these dinners are prepared by you and do not have all the preservatives that "TV Dinners" have. Even better, anyone can quickly put the dinners in the oven prior to you getting home, make a quick side salad and some rolls and you have a dinner fit for a family.

The Benefits of Freezer Cooking

It may seem a little overwhelming to think about preparing so much to put in the freezer, but the truth is, there are a lot of benefits to doing so. You'll save time, money, and eat better than you normally do.  

Saves Time

This is true in manufacturing and it's true in cooking dinner too. It takes just as much time to make one enchilada casserole as it does to make two or four. It just takes bigger pans and containers. The time you save by spending one day cooking will be paid back to you each day that you don't have to cook a full meal.

Saves Money

Due to the fact that #1 you'll eat out less, #2 you'll be purchasing in bulk so you'll save money. Not going to the grocery store as often will keep you from picking up those impulse buys. (Who me, impulse buy??? Oh... look at that.... lol!) When you do freezer cooking, you limit your grocery store trips to the day before you prepare the food and you shop with a list. This automatically means money savings.

Better Nutrition for Your Family

We know that when we get too busy we tend to go through the drive-thru, order pizza or Chinese or any other equivalent. We know it's not healthy, but we're hungry, the kids are hungry, and we're exhausted. But, imagine you have food at home that you can easily reheat and serve that is healthy. No preservatives, actual food unlike that fast food burger.  One of the things I love about this is that (much to hubby's chagrin) we are going to be slowly cutting out processed food - this ties right in!

Food Ready for Company

Anyone else have teenage or college-age folks pop into your house at the last minute?  "Oh mom, is it okay if the guys stay for dinner?"  With things ready to pop into the oven out of the freezer, in 45 minutes you can serve up GOOD food without panicking.  I am ALL for that! 

Sound like a good idea to you?  I know it does to me!  Come back by tomorrow for Part 2 for what does and doesn't freeze well plus some tips to get started!  As for me, I'm heading to grab something for the crockpot for tonight!  Perhaps some apple chicken?  I'll let you know tomorrow.

Have fun in the kitchen,


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