Do you need dinner in a hurry
It is 6 p.m., you just got home from work, you have 1 hour to feed your family and get back out the door to a practice/game/recital/meeting and you have no idea what’s for dinner – helpful hints.
This seems like something that you might encounter often in your own life. This happens to me all the time. What a difference it makes to have a meal in order. It is even more amazing if it is pre-prepared and ready to eat.
This week, I received an advertisement for a food prep company in the mail. It is a great service. You can use their kitchen to make frozen meals, or you can buy pre-prepared meals you can just heat and serve. I looked at the menu and tried to make my own. After some thought and planning, I had 10 meals prepared in my freezer in no time (after I’d done the grocery shopping). One of the items included a meal for 10 family members over the holiday weekend.
I have written several times about the beauty that is the slow cooker (“crockpot”), so I won’t go into great detail on how to use your slow cook. You can make ahead meals that will make your slow cooker more efficient. If you take just 15 minutes in the morning to meal prep, then you can put all the ingredients into the slow cooker when you get back.
Let’s move on.
1. Spend at least 1-2 hours with your family on weekends, cook several meals and freeze them.
2. You can prepare tomorrow’s meal one day ahead. Place it in the freezer.
3. You can just empty the freezer container into your slow cooker when you wake up, or whenever life is hectic. Turn on low heat, and you’ll be back home with a lovely aroma and dinner waiting for you.
Tips for freezing meals
1. Place the meat in the freezer container before you put it in the slow cooker.
2. You can keep your freezer fresher by getting rid of all air.
3. Make 2 meals and store them for upto 3 months.
4. Even though you can cook more tender foods in the slow cooker like legumes or fish, I recommend using firmer meats like beef, chicken and pork for freeze-ahead slow-cooker meals.