Moms in charge of feeding a family nutritious meals on a budget often need money-saving ideas to make their lives easier. They also appreciate time-saving techniques if they are balancing a job in addition to raising the kids. Freezing economical homemade bulk meals keeps cooking time to a minimum.
Plan your homemade bulk meals before you shop. Make a list of the food you need before you leave the house. Buy food in large quantities, especially if the cost is lower. Look for your family's favorite foods on sale. Buy your food from a co-op or warehouse club store that offers significant savings over a regular supermarket. Get your fresh fruits and vegetables while they are in season. The object of your purchases is to cook everything at once and freeze it for later. Purchase food that is easy to cook or requires no cooking at all such as frozen vegetables or pre-cooked chicken cutlets.
Set aside a day or two for cooking the homemade bulk meals. Clear your calendar and, if possible, send the kids on a play date or arrange for a babysitter. Cooking large quantities of food will take all your attention. Prepare the kitchen by clearing counters and gathering all the utensils you will need for the project. Tape your recipes in plastic bags to the upper cabinets with masking tape so they will not get lost. Make a plan for the day and follow it. It is especially important to create a schedule for what goes in the oven, for how long and at what temperature.
Gather enough freezer bags and containers to hold all the food. The containers should also be microwave-safe for reheating without using another container. Ensure you have enough room in your freezer for everything. Let the cooked food cool and portion it into meal-size or individual-size packages. Portion frozen vegetables or pre-cooked items into individual containers as well. Seal everything well. Use freezer tape and a permanent marker to identify the food inside each container and the date it was frozen.
Cook whole chickens or roasts as a meat course and create sides at the same time you prepare main dishes for freezing. Make one-dish meals such as soup, chili or stew, but don't freeze foods with egg or cream-based sauces. The sauces will separate and won't be appetizing when you reheat them. Spread containers out in the freezer until the contents are frozen solid and then stack them. Thaw frozen foods in the refrigerator before reheating them. If you must hurry it along, use the "Defrost" setting on your microwave to thaw it before reheating. Teach kids how to select portions of bulk meals from the freezer and reheat it themselves. Be sure to include the date you made the dish on the label.
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