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I have surgery scheduled in about two weeks. that means that I will be out of dinner commission for a few weeks while I recover. If I don’t want the family to starve, or survive on Ramen Noodles, I needed to think ahead! Have you ever wished you could fill your freezer with meals that are already prepared and ready to heat and eat? Oh, yeah, those are called TV dinners, but you’re not convinced they’re that healthy or they don’t come in the foods your family likes. You could make your own freeze-ahead meals and sauces. It will take some time but it can be so comforting knowing you have those meals for those evenings you simply don’t want to cook.
Preparing freeze-ahead meals will take time. You will want to plan which meals to prepare, make a shopping list, go purchase the food and then do the actual cooking. There are a number of websites which share information on freeze-ahead meals and they usually recommend doing this type of cooking over at least two days.
One of the easiest types of meals to do as a freeze-ahead meal is a casserole. You can put the ingredients together in an aluminum pan, cover it and pop it into the freezer. When the time comes to eat it, it will be so easy you’ll be glad you spent the time making it.
Lasagna is one of the most popular meals for families to make ahead and freeze. You will need noodles, spaghetti sauce (homemade or store bought), cheese and meat. Prepare the lasagna as if you’re going to eat it right away except you won’t bake it now. When you have added the last cheese layer, place a cover on the pan. Let it cool in the refrigerator or place the casserole pan in a sink of ice water prior to freezing to ensure it freezes uniformly.
You can also make your favorite soups to freeze for later use. Chili is welcome in the colder months but you might not always have to time prepare it. Make a big pot of chili, break it down into normal amounts needed for your family, and place the containers in the freezer. When you’re hankering for a bowl of chili, it will be so much easier to reheat the frozen chili than making an entire pot.
Spaghetti is a common meal families prepare on a regular basis. Cans or jars of sauce at the store are expensive and it seems prices continue to rise. Rather than turning to store bought sauce, make your own and freeze it. Buy tomatoes when they are on sale and prepare the sauce with your favorite ingredients. Your family will be able to taste the difference and the love.
Perhaps you’ve come across a great sale on ground beef. There are so many ways you can use it. Cook the meat right away using onions and simple seasonings. You can freeze enough in one container for a variety of meals – spaghetti, tacos, shepherd’s pie, burritos, enchiladas or pirogues.
Freeze-ahead meals can be so helpful when you’re rushed for time. The effort at the beginning of the process might seem excessive but the time is definitely well worth it. To make the process easier, enlist the help of your family or cook with a friend! You can share the work load and the foods that prepared.