A Month's Worth Of Easy Dinner Meals In A Week

Learn how to stock your freezer over a period of one week with easy dinner meals that taste great!

It's 5:30 p.m. as you pull into the driveway. You are hungry, the kids are hungry and you have to be at another meeting at 7:00 p.m. The last thing you want to do is rifle through the pantry to find something to throw together and call a meal. It doesn't have to be this way.

Whether you work or stay-at-home, whether you are married or single, your evening meal can be simple, balanced and satisfying. With a little pre-planning and a choice to make your freezer your friend, you can prepare a backlog of tasty meals.

If the thought of cooking one meal per evening overwhelms you, then the thought of preparing 30 meals in one day will certainly put you over the edge. Step back for a moment, though, and consider the methodology. If you cook just one thing each night and simply prepare three times as much, you'll have at least 14 meals stashed away (plus the seven you eat along the way). It is possible to enjoy the benefits of freezing meals for the future without knocking yourself out. Here are some helpful tips to get you started:



1. Choose easy recipes that don't require lots of pans and complicated preparation such as spaghetti, marinated pork chops and barbequed beef. Find at least seven you'd like to prepare.

2. Double up on basic preparations. If you will need cooked ground beef for three recipes, cook it all at once, separate it and store portions in airtight containers. You can do the same with shredded cheese, chicken breast and chopped vegetables.

3. Get the most from your crock pot. Choose at least one or two entrees that can be prepared in a crock pot and increase your stash with little more work. While preparing one meal (times three), throw a roast in the crock pot with a bottle of barbeque sauce and a little water, turn it on and presto, you've got three more meals to store.

4. Don't fret over small freezer space. A small freezer does not preclude you from storing meals. Simple store your meals in heavy-duty gallon-sized plastic freezer bags. Squeeze the air out as you press the food flat in the bag and freeze. You should be able to fit about ten meals in one square foot of freezer space. Or, find a friend with a standalone freezer and ask if you can store your extra meals there. You'll help lower their energy costs because a full freezer is more efficient than an empty one.

5. Take advantage of bulk savings. While your initial food investment might be more than usual, you should save money over time because you are not impulse buying for each evening and you can purchase staple items such as flour, beans, rice, tomato sauce and broth in bulk. Look for "Buy one, Get one" deals and compare warehouse bulk rates to your grocery store's regular prices.

6. Prepare one recipe each day and enjoy your fruits (or vegetables). Because you've planned ahead, you already know what you need to prepare for the evening. Complete your meal by steaming some fresh vegetables or tossing a quick salad. Assemble the tripled recipe, enjoy your fresh meal and store two helpings away for the future. The ease of thawing and heating next week will more than compensate for the few extra minutes it took to triple the recipe tonight. You will be well-pleased with your effort and your friends and family will marvel at your newfound evening peace.

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