If you’ve got a busy schedule it’s often easier to pop a frozen dinner in the microwave instead of standing in the kitchen and cooking a full meal. While this might save some time, it’s very bad on the budget. When you consider how much food you get in those small packages, frozen dinners are even more expensive than restaurant food. Keep the convenience and ditch the high prices by making your own freezer full of frozen meals in a variety of different flavors.
Invest in a variety of reusable plastic containers. These bowls, boxes and plates with lids come three or four to a package and are offered by many different plastic manufacturers. Fortunately, dollar stores carry the same type of containers at a reduced price. Stock up on many different sizes and shapes. You may be paying a bit of money at the beginning, but you’ll use them over and over again.
Buy side dish ingredients such as vegetables in bulk. If your family loves peas or corn, buy a large bag of frozen vegetables. The manufacturer has already done the work for you with these foods; all you need to do is to transfer servings of the veggies into the waiting containers still frozen.
Double up on family favorites when you cook on slow evenings or weekends. Concentrate on soups, stews and pasta dishes that can be easily increased without changing the flavor of the recipe. Some sample frozen meals you can make for your family are:
* Lasagna with foil-wrapped garlic bread sticks
* Chili with foil-wrapped corn muffins
* Rotini with peppers and sliced Italian sausage, with foil-wrapped garlic bread slices
* Stir-fried beef and peppers over rice
* Holiday leftovers, complete with a cookie dessert
* Chicken enchiladas
* Leftover hamburgers topped with jarred gravy for Salisbury steak, with mashed potatoes
Remove as much air as possible from the packages before sealing them and check the seals to make sure they are air-tight before placing them in the freezer.
Avoid freezing milk-based soups, large pieces of potato and raw vegetables. Freezing changes their flavor and texture.
Make sure all containers are clean and sanitized before using them to create frozen meals.
Every family has a list of favorite go-to meals that they eat every month because each family member enjoys it. The recipes are familiar and they’re simple to prepare. Turn these meals into a ready supply of frozen meals. Your dinners will have flavors you love, include healthier ingredients than the meals in a box and will cost about half the money as the grocery store kind. With personalized portion control you’ll never waste half a meal to a picky toddler and the big eaters in the family won’t go hungry from skimpy portions.