The More You Freeze, the More You Feel at Ease
Cheesy title but cheesiness is the least of your worries because…you don’t have to cook dinner this week! Isn’t that the nicest thing you could ever hear? How is this possible, you may ask? Because you froze leftovers. It’s that simple. My husband and I love freezing leftovers and cleaning out the freezer once a month to eat all of the good food prepared and stored so the freezer is ready for more easy food items ahead. Proper storage of your leftover dishes, such as bagging the leftovers in freezer bags, putting them in tupperware, and sealing them in a vacuum sealer bag, is a very crucial task and knowing when to after making the dish is key during the week.
I usually meal-prep my food Sunday and see how much of each casserole or soup or pasta there is; then factor in what I can freeze versus what meal sizes my husband and I will eat for three days since I usually make two dinner dishes at one time. Since I’ve been off work and on summer break before my practicum starts, my days can be adjusted to where I can cook one dinner dish Sunday, then one dinner dish Wednesday. If you like variety, fix both dinners on Sunday or the day you choose to meal-prep. I find that I have time Wednesday to prepare another meal since I don’t have a night class that night during the week. Your meal-prep plan can be versatile and adjusted to what can help ease the stress of each meal everyday. People have to eat and schedules tend to change every week that can cause you to have to change a meal-prep plan. Don’t think that you can’t go on vacation because you have to meal-prep every weekend. Change it up because you don’t want to get burnt out or see meal-prepping as a chore over a blessing for the week. Storage is important for success in making food last. If you know you aren’t going to eat all of that soup from the crockpot, store it in the freezer early to ensure that you have a couple more meals for those busy weeks that your schedule overwhelms you. That’s why trying to make a ten-serving meal is essential if you want leftovers for three more days in the upcoming weeks. By budgeting, it is easy to make big servings of meals. However, don’t feel that every time you fix a meal, it has to be this large. I enjoy, at least, having some meals that are eight to ten servings during the month, so my husband and I can have the luxury of not cooking dinners added with the breakfast and lunch prep we have on Sunday. This is needed at times when we are high in stress or wanting to go out of town.
I love Glad and Ziploc brand Tupperware. Tupperware is great for storage because it is freezer-safe AND microwave-safe! The best two-in-one deal ever (for meal-prepping especially!). When I am ready to eat the leftovers from the freezer, I usually take out the container and put it in the fridge two to three days in advance to let it thaw since I plan my week of meals ahead of time. You can simply take the Tupperware containers out and place them in the microwave using the defrost option. It is quick, easy and sufficient to get a delicious meal in under 20 minutes from freezer to hot and ready at the table. I do this when my husband and I don’t want to go out that weekend and spend money. A lot of times, we enjoy freezing leftover pizza, so we have that as a meal for a Saturday night we want to just veg out and watch a movie/relax. When using a freezer-safe bag, DO NOT PUT IT STRAIGHT IN THE MICROWAVE. I learned this the hard way when I put it in a microwave safe bowl, food still in the bag. The bag melted and ruined my leftovers…it may sound silly of me to think that was safe, but it happens to almost everyone. Always put a freezer-safe bag in the refrigerator two to three days in advance to let it thaw before putting it in a microwave-safe bowl or on a microwave-safe plate unless it is easily dumped into a microwave-safe bowl. I find that if I freeze soups or sauces in freezer-safe bags, it tends to stick to the bag until once thawed, which makes it harder to just dump in a microwave-safe bowl straight from the freezer.
At times, cooking in bulk may seem crazy and stressful with how much you have to prepare, but I am excited to take you step-by-step and give you recipe ideas that are easy and perfect for that grab-and-go on your busy mornings. It is worth it for that one week (sometimes two or three weeks when you have your dishes added with some leftover pizza and frozen salmon J) of not having to deal with a long grocery list and two to three hours of meal prep on a Sunday. It’s a breath of fresh air, and you deserve it!