There are many times when having the opportunity to grab a quick meal is more than just a convenience, and one way to ensuring you can have a great, delicious and healthy meal is to take advantage of freezer meals. This technique of preparing and freezing meals has been a hallmark of healthy and economic living enthusiasts for a very long time, though many people are looking for great ideas about how to prepare meals for freezing, what types of packaging to use, the best foods to select, and what are some great recipes for a great and tasty meal. We dive into all of these questions in this article, and provide an in-depth overview of all the elements and details.
What is a Freezer Meal?
A freezer meal is most commonly a meal, or parts of a meal, that are precooked and then frozen. Normally, people are interested in freezer meals as it makes life easier, and in many cases, limits the amount of time it takes to prepare a full meal at a later time. Most meals that are frozen are made to server many people, and this means it can be divided into smaller individual portions when frozen to provide fast and easy meals when needed.
Why cook a Freezer Meal?
As mentioned earlier, it cold be convenience, or perhaps to avoid wasting food, though more importantly it is often a very economical and cost-effective way to prepare meals. Cooking larger amounts often means the purchasing of ingredients benefits from both economies of scale, but also from limiting the amount of food that is wasted, and/or unused after preparing them. How often has a meal been prepared, and then many things are left in the refrigerator and never used, and have to be thrown out? Preparing larger quantities in the first case, and creating freezer meals from it, can often reduce waste and be more economical.
Economics of Meal Preparation
Both in terms of time saving, and money saving – freezer meals are an excellent consideration. In general, when you go to buy groceries and meal ingredients, buying in bulk results in a lower cost per unit of measurement for the ingredients you will use; however, in most cases, bulk purchasing results in having more than you need. To ensure you make use of all of the ingredients you purchase, creating freezer meals means you can cook for 10 people instead of 2, and divide the meal into individual portions using containers or freezer bags, and storing this in your freezer or deep freeze for later consumption or preparation. The general statement regarding the cost effectiveness of preparing freezer meals is that by cooking in this way, you will save nearly 25%* of the cost of preparing a normal meal, and not taking advantage of the economic benefits of buying your ingredients in bulk.
How Long Can A Freezer Meal Last in the Freezer
There are a few factors that can effect the amount of time that your meals can last in the freezer, such as how well they were packaged, or how often you actually open the freezer itself. That said, according to the Kitchn – the amount of time food can remain in the freezer is 3 months, though some advice states that if you double-bag your freezer meals, they can last even longer.
Labeling your Freezer Bags and Containers
with Details and Cooking Instructions – this is specifically important if you have prepared uncooked meals, as you may not recall the precise recipe you followed, and having the cooking time clearly labelled on your freezer bags and containers will mean you do not have to lookup the recipe again. Additionally, if someone else will be preparing this afterwards, it is enormously useful to them to have this information so they can prepare the meal properly.
Preparing your Food
The process of creating a freezer meal is very similar to any other meal, regardless of whether you will be using pre-cooked, or uncooked ingredients. If you will be using uncooked ingredients however, any meal you choose needs to be of the type where all the components cook in the same time. That is to say, that if a recipe requires that you ‘precook’ or ‘sauce’ items prior to adding other final ingredients, then this needs to be done prior to adding them to the freezer bags and/or containers to which you will add the other final ingredients.
If you will be using freezer bags to store your meals, consider using a Baggy Rack, which are super helpful bag filler stands to help you when preparing your meals. So many people have recommended these, or similar products, and we agree wholeheartedly that it will make life much easier for you when preparing your meals for the freezer.
Tip – When sealing your bags, try to ensure you squeeze as much air out of the bag as possible before sealing them, as this will help to ensure your food lasts longer in the freezer.
Using an InstaPot
An InstaPot is one of the easiest and quickest way to prepare a freezer meal, and it makes for incredibly easy meal preparation. An InstaPod can cook your meal in minutes, and the results are incredible. If you are looking for a fast and delicious freezer-to-meal cooking solution, we highly recommend these great devices!
Using a Slow Cooker
Slow cookers are a meal preppers dream! For many man years, chefs everywhere having been using slow cookers as an easy way to prepare amazing meals on a busy schedule. Whether big or small, a slow cooker will make your life from freezer-to-meal so much easier.
Some Great Freezer Meals Recipes
We have a number of recipes that make for amazing freezer meals to make your life easier. These are recipes we have made ourselves, and have definitely been a delight to anyone we have served them to!
Freezer meals are such an incredible way to make a busy life easier, and is also an excellent way to provide true economy to your food and cooking budget. Whether you prefer pre-cooked meals ready to heat-and-eat, or prefer just having a meal ready to throw into a slow-cooker or an InstaPot for a great meal for you, your family, or your guests – freezer meals are truly a remarkable and practical way to prepare your meals.
For some other great articles on other cooking and eating, recipes and other simple living and lifestyle ideas, check out some of our other articles on Great Lifestyle Ideas, and learn more about some great solutions and inspirations. Also be sure to check out all of our articles on Backyard Bunkies, Garden Houses and Sheds, and all the various inspirations that we’ve highlighted at TAG Level.