Freeze Frame

Karen Hutcherson and Ann Bender, founders of Relish!, share tips on how to whip up a batch of freeze ahead meals.
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Guest Post by Karen Hutcherson and Ann Bender:

Plan Ahead

Like everything, organization is the key to success with freezer cooking. Make sure to carve out enough time to get all of your freezer meals prepared. Sundays seems to work best because the grocery store isn’t as busy and you can spend all afternoon without rushing.

Getting Prepared

Organize your freezer. Toss out anything old or unrecognizable. If you plan to do a lot of freezing, you might want to buy an inexpensive freezer for the garage.

Make sure you have everything needed on the grocery list. This includes freezer bags, spices, packing tape for the labels, a sharpie, etc.

When you come home from the store, set your ingredients on your counter by section. Spices, garlic, etc should stay in one area and you should have two cutting board sections: one for meat and the other for veggies, pull the trash can close by. Put your “finishing station” with scissors, tape and markers on the kitchen table. Make sure to put everything back in its section!

Peruse your recipes and see if you can save time by combining in the prep process. For example, if several recipes need baked chicken, then bake them all at once. Same goes for chopped onion and other vegetables.

Stock up on freezer bags and disposable aluminum pans. Or purchase pans at a discount store to reuse.

Start the Process

Set out your recipes and begin with the recipes that take the most time and finish up with the easiest recipes. If you are making pasta dishes, keep a pot of water boiling all of the time.

If you are using freezer bags, make sure to double-bag any soups and sauces incase of an eruption!

If you are freezing bone-in meat, make sure to double bag in case it punctures.

If using a container, allow a little extra room for expansion.

All Done

Always remove as much air as possible from a freezer bag. Too much air leads to freezer burn.

Freeze bags in a flat thin shape, this will make for more room in the freezer and will make it easier to thaw.

Make sure you print off labels or copy the cooking instructions and tape to the package.

Now Just Chill!

*****

Karen Hutcherson and Ann Bender are the busy moms behind Relish!, a meal planning service that helps busy families put wonderful meals on the table every night. No sloppy casseroles or expensive kitchen blunders. It’s everyday food...with a gourmet twist.

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