Sometimes keeping the family organized means figuring out what to feed them. No matter how much planning ahead, there will always be the times where you need to adapt or forget about your plan. How many of you occasionally need to make a super uber quick meal? It can save you in a pinch if you can make a meal in 5-10 minutes or less without a whole bunch of hassle. Whether you need a quick meal because you have kids who are on the verge of attacking each other with hot wheels, or barbies. Or whether you were out and are now debating between going home to make something for dinner vs just stopping at that local fast food place. Save money and your sanity!!
Just feed the freezer!!
There are a number of ways that I feed my freezer, often to ensure I always have a few super uber quick meals ready for whenever I need them.
The first, is perhaps a bit obvious.
Precook your meat!
- Precook chicken. Even shred it in portions that are suitable for your household. I use it for all kinds of chicken meals like BBQ chicken pizza, chicken quesadillas, chicken nachos, chicken alfredo, chicken on salad, chicken burritos, or chicken a la king on rice.
- Precook ground meat. I cook a bunch of ground meat every few months. I cook some plain, so that I can easily add it to things like spaghetti sauce, lasagna, chili, hamburger helper style casseroles, or sloppy joes. The rest of my ground beef I will cook as taco beef by adding taco seasoning and then freezing it. It’s so handy for things like taco night, taco salad, quesadillas, burritos, taco lasagna, or nachos. Pro tip: Add onions while you’re cooking, because most recipes actually call for cooking onion with the ground meat anyway. If it doesn’t, it still adds nice flavour!
- Precook your rice! I will sometimes make 2-4 cups of rice and then freeze it in portions. It makes side dishes so easy, and I have not had many instances where the rice is mushy after thawing. Most of the time you would never know the difference! The only time my rice has ever thawed to a mushy state, the rice was a bit overcooked before it was even frozen! It’s super handy to fill a burrito, or add to a quesadilla, or easy to use for the chicken on rice, or any stir fry. It’s great to just have it already cooked so that you don’t have to bother with timing.
- Precook quinoa. This serves the same purpose as the rice. It thaws perfectly and seems like you just cooked it! It’s also great for a cold quinoa salad, just add some fresh veg and your favourite dressing.
Aside from precooking, you can freeze so many things to make your life easier!
- Freeze cheese. Better yet, freeze shredded cheese!! It’s another item that you would never be able to tell it was frozen. You can even buy it pre-shredded and stick it in the freezer. Or save some money, buy the block on sale, then shred it yourself. I use it for all of the quick meals suggested above, but I also add it to eggs in the morning for a quick omelet, or use it in a quick sauce for alfredo or mac and cheese. No need to limit yourself on the type of cheese either! Especially if you are just melting it into whatever you’re cooking anyway. Shred mozzarella for easy pizza night, shred parmesan for garlic bread, or pasta night, shred marble or old cheddar if you want a stronger flavour for sauces, shred swiss for an easy oven ham and swiss sandwich. If you can’t tell, the options are limitless. I actually also freeze brie! Especially when I have cranberry sauce to use up; I simply melt the cheese and add the cranberry sauce then dip crackers into it!
- Freeze hummus. Better yet, portion it out first, then freeze it! Get some small freezer ziplock bags and fill them with your favourite hummus then stuff it in the freezer! Pull it out whenever you need a quick and easy snack or add it to lunch. It’s also great for when you need to pack a lunch; it keeps the rest of the lunch cool and still thaws in time for eating.
These are just a few of my favourite tricks about how I can get a “basically quicker than fast food, non-fast food” meal on the table. The greatest part is that you can portion it all for yourself or your whole family!
More food ideas on the way!