I have to admit, I have a little bit of an obsession with my freezer. I purchased the biggest one I could get for my kitchen and it has definitely paid off! All my food inside is so valuable (especially in terms of the effort put in to making it all) that I have the greatest fear of power cuts.
If you have room for a larger or second freezer, I say go for it! It'll pay for itself in the amount of time you save through the weeks and you'll be able to stock up enough meals to stop you from resorting to unhealthier shop bought options or takeaways on busy days.
One thing I would highly recommend is to portion out your food before freezing. Not only does it save so much time when figuring out how much you need to defrost, but it also limits the amount of food you waste! The one thing you don't want is for all your hard work in the kitchen to be thrown in the bin. Simply portion your food into portion pots and use labels to note what food is inside and when it was made.
Here I have included my list of the best foods to freeze to help you not only save time in the kitchen, but keep your families well fed!
Frozen fruit is so readily available and perfect for whipping up a quick, healthy smoothie. It is a great option when certain fruits are out of season and you can even take advantage of seasonal fruit on offer by washing, chopping and freezing in your portion pots yourself!
Baking tip: Bananas that are overripe can be frozen whole and later used in delicious treats like some Banana Bread!
Perfect for when you run out of fresh produce; stir some straight into curries or stews. Frozen peas are a staple in our house as they work great in almost everything and they are such a handy way to get more greens into my girls!
Muffins have to be one of my family's favourite snacks, so I always make sure to have a batch made. Once you have baked your muffins, place them in resealable food storage bags and pop into the freezer. To defrost, either place in the fridge overnight or simply in the microwave using the defrost setting. Great to have on hand for breakfast on the go or for a healthy lunchbox snack!
Recipes like my Quick Bolognese and Marinara Sauce are ideal to freeze and are firm family favourites. Serve with some pasta and place in a heated food flask for a quick and easy hot lunch the kids will love!
Both recipes can also be found in the 'Pasta and Sauces' section of the Lunchbox Made Easy recipe book!
Pestos & Spreads
These freeze really well, just make sure to defrost overnight in the fridge. Perfect to make sandwiches more nutritious and exciting and are also great for sending in as dips with some chopped veggies! My girl's love my Basil and Courgette pesto as a spread in their sandwich, who knew adding courgettes would result in such a creamy, flavourful sauce!
Make up a big batch of soup and store in portion pots and freeze for future use. Simply defrost overnight in the fridge and in the morning heat through and add to your child's pre-heated food flask for those chilly days!
Herbs & Spices
Did you know you can freeze almost everything including leftover herbs and spices? I usually freeze ginger which can be then grated into dishes, as well as herbs like mint and coriander which can be stirred straight in.
Note: Frozen herbs work perfectly as an ingredient but become soggy when defrosted so aren't suitable as a garnish.
Homemade Chicken & Fish Nuggets
Breadcrumb strips of chicken or fish to have ready for the perfect Friday night fakeaway! Prepare your nuggets and freeze raw. When you are serving them up you can cook in the oven, straight from frozen, until piping hot and cooked through. Just as tasty as shop bought, but so much healthier!