By Christine Szalay-Kudra
A lot of people enjoy cooking every night but it can become
boring. If you have a busy day, having to think about what
to make for dinner can be stressful, especially if you are
going to have very little time to cook that day.
The easy solution is to cook once a week or once a month,
divide the food into portions and freeze it. Another name
for this once a month (or week) cooking is freezer cooking.
Imagine spending one day making a month's worth of dinners
and then having twenty nine days where you do not have to
cook. Looking at it like that, it is easy to see the appeal
of once a month cooking.
The Best Recipes for Once a Month Cooking
There are all kind of meals, which freeze well, and they
will taste just as nice when they are thawed as when you
first made them. Cooking big batches of food is a real
time saver and if you have a busy weeknight coming up, you
can simply thaw your family's evening meal in the
refrigerator overnight and it will be ready to warm through
in the evening.
You can often get great discounts when you buy in bulk. A
big package of boneless chicken pieces, for example, works
out cheaper per pound than buying a pair of chicken thighs
or chicken breasts. Perhaps you spot some ground lamb on
special offer one week or turkey another week.
There are freezer recipes for all kinds of meats, poultry,
and fish. Meat and poultry in sauces and soups keep for up
to six months. You might want to make some tasty family
chicken curry or beef stew. Beef bourguignon, chicken tacos,
and beef lasagna are other freezer cooking ideas.
Freezer Cooking Tips
Pick a day when you will not have many commitments or
interruptions. Make sure there is enough space in your
freezer and make sure you have all your necessary
ingredients ready. Remember too that you can save time
buying other frozen foods on special offer like precooked
meatballs or cooked shrimp. Simply add these to your thawed
meals to liven them up.
You can either cook one kind of meal at a time or have
several on the stove or in the oven, depending on your
cooking experience and what you feel comfortable with doing.
When you cooked meals are cool, divide them between freezer
bags or plastic food containers, seal them, and wipe the
edges clean. You will be able to fit a lot of meals in the
freezer if you store them flat in zippered food bags.
You will need a lot of plastic wrap and aluminum foil,
freezer bags or plastic containers. You will also need a
marker pen to write the name of the meal, the cooking date,
and any special cooking instructions.
Sometimes you can make a creamy dish but cream does not
freeze well so leave it out of the meal and add it when you
reheat it. Potatoes do not always thaw well either, so you
can either use slightly undercooked barley or pasta as a
replacement or add fresh potatoes when you reheat the dish.