This is the time of year I absolutely love. Here in Chicago the foliage is changing colors with bright hues of orange, red, and gold. It’s also a great time to stock my freezer with meals in preparation of hectic time that comes with the fall season such as school and activity schedules, longer work days in the office, and for some friends of mine, adjusting to new additions in their families with babies!
- Decide how you want your meals to be prepared.
For freezer meals, I prefer to have them prepared either in a slow cooker/crockpot, baked in the oven, microwaved, grilled and/or finished on the stovetop. Having meals prepared in a variety of ways keeps things fresh… because after while, if everything is microwaved or baked or grilled, etc, you’ll lose interest in the meal.
- Approach a recipe and prepare it up until the last steps.
– For slowcooker/crockpot meals, gather all the ingredients that will need to go into the slowcooker/crockpot. If some of the ingredients need to be cooked first (ex: ground beef, chicken, etc), be sure to cook as directed and then combine with the remaining ingredients that will go into the slowcooker/crockpot. When you’re ready to make your slowcooker/crockpot meal, all you’ll need to do is defrost and throw it in the slowcooker/crockpot to finish cooking.
– For grilled meals, marinate and/or season meats and vegetables as directed in the recipe. When you’re ready to grill, all you’ll need to do is defrost and throw it on the grill to finish cooking.
– For baked meals, prepare the recipe up until the point where you have to bake it in the oven. Prepare the recipe in ovenproof, freezer safe containers (more on the containers in a bit…) When you’re ready to bake, all you’ll need to do is defrost and throw it in the oven to finish cooking.
– For stovetop meals, prepare the recipe up until the point where you cook it on the stovetop. When you’re ready, all you’ll need to do is defrost and finish cooking on the stovetop.
– For microwaved meals, you’ll want to prepare the recipe completely as directed. Allow it to cool and then freeze so that when you’re ready to enjoy it, it can be heated up.
- Use the appropriate food storage containers for the freezer.