Here at Cooking them Healthy we find our freezer invaluable and we work hard to ensure it is packed with delicious and healthy home-cooked food. Having these staples on standby saves valuable time, ensuring we always have nutritious food to hand and we never have to reach for a ready prepared bought meal. We also find using freezer food brilliantly useful for preparing lunch boxes and ensuring a supply of healthy after-school snacks. Having a variety of meals as well as frozen muffins, granola bars and banana bread on hand means we can offer our little ones different things every day, providing a wealth of variety and nutrients.
Cooking Them Healthy’s Top Freezer Tips:
- When freezing separate items such as muffins or berries, freeze them on a tray first to prevent them from sticking together. Once they are frozen hard you can store them in zip lock bags or Tupperware.
- We find silicon muffin trays a brilliant way to freeze many foods. Once the foods are frozen, pop them out and store in zip lock bags. It means you will have individual portions sizes frozen and can take as many as you need at a time. Great for bolognaise, soups, rice, curry, even things like crumbles and rice pudding – anything really.
- If you are preparing a recipe that is a bit more time consuming, always try and double the recipe so you can freeze some. Buy reusable food containers (available from most supermarkets) in a variety of different sizes so you can freeze things for a meal for one or six people.
- Store seasonal frozen fruit, vegetables and herbs such as petit pois, chillies, lemon grass, edamame beans, spinach, mashed potato, herbs, chopped onion, berries…the list is endless.
- Freezing chillies reduces waste as well as locking in the freshness. It can be helpful to slice them when still frozen as once defrosted their consistency softens, however the flavour remains the same.
- We also freeze Chicken Carcasses – this may sound strange but it means if you or any member of your family is suffering with a nasty cold or bug, one of the best things to make is a homemade broth. Simply keep your leftover carcass from a Sunday roast and boil up when needed (see our Chuck recipe for the perfect cold/ flu antidote)
- Store freezer bags or zip lock bags in a variety of sizes. We use them for all meat and marinating as they take less room in your fridge than Tupperware and are much better for being able to really massage the marinates/dressings into the meat. Just always make sure you freeze things on a flat surface in the freezer first (like the bottom or a tray) as if they freeze on the racks often whilst freezing the liquid expands causing them to get stuck. Our favourites are Honey & Mustard Chicken, Harissa Chicken, Lemon and Garlic Chicken, Sesame Salmon Sticks, Sticky Glazed Salmon). These are so easy to cook and since the flavour is already packed in, they can be simply served with rice or vegetables.
- Remember you can freeze baked items so if you make a delicious cake, bread, scones, pancakes, just double up the quantity and freeze for the future. We rely hugely on our freezer for rushed mornings on the school run or as a back up for handy snacks and puddings.
As a guide, in the Cooking them Healthy freezer you will always find some the following of our favourites such as frozen Spinach Fish Cakes, Chicken Pie, Chicken Curry, Bolognese, Sweet potato chilli con carne, seasonal crumbles, Rice Puddings and Healthy Muffins. As mentioned above we also have a stock of different marinated meats in zip lock bags.
Images: Cathleen Naundorf and Cooking Them Healthy