meals prepared in advance at home


Whenever someone follows me to our pantry they inevitably utter amazement at our preserves and pre-made meals and say: “What schedule do you follow?” Actually, I find that this activity saves me a ton of time and cash. Here, I’ll offer some advice on how to streamline and make this task much more manageable.

Be not alarmed by the size of some recipes; the majority are freezer-friendly. Also keep in mind that doubling or tripling a recipe requires just as much work as making it in one batch. The same dishes must be washed, the same kitchen must be cleaned, and the same heat must be applied. For a household that is both busy and frugal, having pre-packaged meals on hand is very helpful.

Break up complicated recipes into steps. For instance, you might prepare the sauce on Monday, the filling on Tuesday, and assemble everything for freezing the following evening. This kind of step-by-step breakdown makes the recipe more manageable and makes it easier to fit the work into constrained time frames.

Save all foil containers from takeout and buy a few extra so you always have some on hand. Similarly, save as many plastic clamshell containers from baked goods, salads, and berries as you can. Additionally, keep a box or two of sizable sealable bags on hand. Alternatively, keep many clean, re-usable bread bags on hand. All of these bags and containers are recyclable once they have served their purpose and can be washed, dried, and reused numerous times.

During the busiest garden harvest season, try to prepare at least one substantial recipe each week. For instance, you might prepare 8 small lasagnas and freeze the other 7, keeping one meal out to serve that day and possibly leftovers the next. Before you know it, you’ll have cooked dozens of meals, everything from lasagna and different kinds of pasta to enchiladas and chili.

The majority of desserts can be baked in advance, frozen, and then removed whenever you need something to serve or pack on a trip. In order for each of us to have a selection of desserts and snacks available in the freezer, we like to have several different varieties of cookies, a few loaves of bread, buns, flat breads, and muffins frozen. The task of preparing homemade meals is made easier and the desire to purchase fast food is diminished by having snacks on hand and meals ready to pop into the oven.

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