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Freeze Kids’ Favorites to Cut Cooking Time In Half

Updated on September 1, 2007

Supplies To Stock:

- Plastic containers

- Ziploc bags

- Aluminum foil

- Pasta

- Frozen vegetables

Whether you stay home or toil away at work all day, unless you have an unnatural fondness for chopping, slicing, and standing over the hot stove, the freezer is a parent's best friend. Taking advantage of your freezer is not as difficult as you may think. You don't need a degree in nutrition and you don't even need to be that organized. The key to making the most of your freezer is not in making special meals and planning every menu in detail. The trick is to find ways to incorporate your freezer into the meals your kids already love.

Leverage Your Time

The idea is to cook once, eat twice. If your kids love spaghetti, chances are you serve it once or twice a month (or week!). Get a great recipe and double it. It doesn't take that much more effort to double or even triple a sauce or casserole recipe. (Make sure you get a nice big pot!) While you may spend a few more minutes chopping onions, the time you save later more than pays you back.

Even if your idea of homemade is to brown some meat and dump in a jar of Prego, double it. Some days you don't have 20 minutes worth of cooking energy. A frozen meal can make the difference between a relaxing time at the table and a harried roll through the drive-thru.

When you make (or order) too much of a good thing, freeze it. How do you think they make all those frozen dinners? You can use the same space age technology. Make your own TV dinners with simple leftovers. Almost anything can be frozen.

Don't forget the many individually wrapped meats that thaw quickly and cook up nicely in a microwave. Store those in your freezer next to the frozen veggies. Make sure you have some quick cooking rice or pasta on hand and you've got a balanced meal in no time.

What about marinated meat? Do you have a special sauce? Do you grill out a lot? Triple your marinade and toss it in freezer bags with frozen chicken. When you're ready to use it, the meat will get infused with flavor as it thaws.

Not Just for Cooks

Sure it's wonderful if you have the time and inclination to cook, but even if you work 16 hours a day and wouldn't know a strainer from a spatula, the freezer is still your friend.

You can take advantage of amazing services like Pass Your Plate or Super Suppers. These franchises design recipes for nutritious meals that can be put together quickly and stored in the freezer. Even better - they do all the prep work! You stroll into one of their locations where they have cute little bins of chopped veggies and trimmed cuts of meat. All you do is follow the recipe. Because you put it together yourself, you can leave out those nasty green onions that turn any dish to poison in your child's eyes. However, if you're really strapped for time, you can have employees assemble the meal for you. Some places also meals ready for pick-up as well.

Containers Everywhere

Once you begin to appreciate the advantages of freezer feeding, you're going to need containers - lots of containers. You don't need to go out and buy the club size set. Lunch meat and sauces are often packaged in reusable containers. Don't think of yourself as cheap for not buying new stuff. You're green.


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