Frozen Food Tips For Frugals (And Busy Parent Folks)

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Guest Post by Ana Brady

Being frugal in these hard economic times can lead to creative solutions. Here’s an example of a creative solution in my home that proved to be a life-saver:

As a single mom with two kids and a lot of freelance gigs, I managed to (and I’m not proud of it) put cooking on the farthest end of my priorities. Of all the helpful tips and tricks I’ve picked up from friends and Internet in the previous year, I’d like to share with you one that eased my life tremendously.

Despite the fact that I can’t seem to find the time to make a proper meal, I’ve ingeniously used other people’s advice on how to spend as little time as possible on food planning and still provide the children with healthy meals. You might have heard this before, but no harm in hearing it again:

Frozen food ROCKS.

I’ve found that cooking huge amounts of food on weekends, separating serving sizes into small containers or freezer bags, and labeling them properly, enables me to have healthy vegetable and meat based meals for my children every day, and also, saves me a lot of money that I’d otherwise spend buying more expensive lunches and dinners at the last minute.

First let me tell you a few things that in my 15-year long career in the kitchen I’ve been doing all wrong:

  • I’ve been thawing food at room temperature, which is a definite DON’T (as I found out recently)
  • I’ve been putting warm cooked food inside the freezer (but not too often 🙂
  • I’ve been throwing away uneaten and perfectly OK frozen food as soon as the “best before” date   comes up (again, wasting so much money, because, as it turns out, most frozen products are safe to use quite some time after the “best before” date)

If you want to do it right, this newly-turned expert will gladly share with you:

  • Keep your meats and vegetables separate. Keep them in plastic containers, aluminum foils or freezer bags. Make sure there’s no air inside the food package, as it will cause your food to dry out. Trust me, it will.
  • Label the food properly! Make sure your labels are freezer adhesive labels that will not fall off from your packet. Without aggressively adhering freezer labels, you’ll end up with a lot of unusable labels that got mixed up in the freezer, and with a lot of food that you won’t know when you put it in the freezer.
  • Label each food in a clear writing – write what the food is, and time and date you put it inside the freezer. I let my children do this, because their handwriting is much nicer than mine.
  • NEVER freeze warm food. If you’re in a hurry, you can speed up the process by putting it inside the fridge first.
  • NEVER thaw food at room temperature. Thaw it inside the refrigerator, in the sink under cold water (but inside a plastic wrap), or in the microwave.

I know it all sounds familiar, but I bet some of you will be glad I reminded you.

My kids can now brag that their two-job mommy plays with them AND cooks delicious meals! It’s these little, seemingly obvious things, that can give you more than you’ve hoped for. And more time for herself and her kids is all that a busy mom needs.

BIO: Ana Brady is a working mom of two, and a member of a creative group that recently finished their http://www.freezerlabels.net project. Ana likes to write about nutrition, healthy living, family life, and similar topics.

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Heather

Heather is the creator and owner of Family Friendly Frugality. She calls Texas home and is married to her best friend. With 2 children 22 months apart, she has her hands full. So full that she decided to start blogging as a hobby. That hobby blew up into a full time job. Now she's got the husband, the kids and the blog. We're not exactly sure what she was thinking, but she's too busy for us to ask. Find Me On Google +

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