Why I love mak­ing freezer meals

El Dorado News-Times - - Celebrations - Ha­ley Smith can be reached at 870-862-6611 or hsmith@el­do­radonews.com. Fol­low her on Face­book or Twit­ter at @ hsmithEDNT.

If you have ever searched web­sites like Pin­ter­est for easy, cheap meals for your fam­i­lies, I am sure that you have come across sev­eral ar­ti­cles about things called freezer meals.

For those who have never heard of them, freezer meals are pre­made din­ners that can ei­ther be thrown into the oven, or placed in a crock pot in the morn­ing.

The first time that I saw posts about freezer meals, I thought it was overly com­pli­cated and some­thing I wouldn’t ever con­sider do­ing. Boy, was I wrong. As you can imag­ine, my job can have weird hours at times. I’m nor­mally off by 6 p.m. Mon­day through Fri­day but that is not al­ways the case. If a story breaks, I may have to work late or on a week­end.

My hus­band is not a cook by any stretch of the imag­i­na­tion and I wanted to find a way that I wouldn’t have to come home late and make din­ner.

So I bit the bul­let and tried freezer meals. I am never go­ing back and here is why.

First and fore­most it re­ally is a time saver. I work on freezer meals every two weeks on pay­day week­end. I take about one hour to make roughly 14 meals and that is with me tak­ing short breaks while mak­ing them. Com­par­ing that to the amount of time I would use to pre­pare food nightly, it’s noth­ing.

I ei­ther run the crock pot meal un­der some hot wa­ter just long enough to have it re­lease from the bag and start it in the morn­ing (it takes less than five min­utes) or I have din­ners that I can pull out and stick straight into a hot oven or on the stove.

Be­cause of this it is also ex­tremely con­ve­nient.

By the time I get home at night, my brain is shot and I nor­mally don’t even want to think about pre­par­ing food and then cook­ing it.

I don’t even take time to think about what we are hav­ing. I have sev­eral recipes that both of my boys love so I nor­mally pick up the first thing my hands land on.

If for some rea­son I don’t have time to set it out in the morn­ing and I work late, my hus­band, Luke, has plenty of oven meals with in­struc­tions at­tached so that he can get din­ner made for him and Gideon.

It also makes it eas­ier

to have the en­ergy to do the dishes at the end of the night, which is a chore that I loathe with every fiber of my be­ing. Be­cause of th­ese rea­sons, what we are now eat­ing is so much health­ier for us than what we were eat­ing.

I would be be­yond tired when I got home from work and be­cause of that, we would go get fast food way more than we should.

My hus­band and I are both fat peo­ple, there is no beat­ing around the bush.

And while we don’t mind the way we look, we didn’t want to en­cour­age our­selves to eat food that is bad for us.

Our health could not af­ford for us to gain even more weight.

Even more im­por­tantly, we didn’t want to en­able our pre­cious child to have un­healthy habits.

While Gideon is big for his age, it is not un­healthy. His weight is pro­por­tion­ate to his height. He is where he should be and we want to keep it that way.

On nights I would cook at home, I nor­mally didn’t plan so we would have carb-filled din­ners.

Pas­tas and breads would lit­ter our plates and while it is OK to do that every once in a while, it was most meals for us.

I would jus­tify it with the thought that at least I had din­ner on the ta­ble. But hon­estly, that wasn’t good enough.

I also love how cheap it is to make th­ese meals.

A lot of the meals I dou­ble or triple so I buy in bulk, cheaper than buy­ing for in­di­vid­ual meals and di­vide it into sep­a­rate meals.

One of our fa­vorite crock pot meals is chicken fa­ji­tas.Not only do I buy the chicken in bulk, but I also buy a frozen bell pep­per and onion mix.

Since I will be freez­ing the meal any­way, I buy the veg­eta­bles frozen so I don’t have to worry about how well they will freeze and it saves so much money!

I don’t know about you, but I also tend to sea­son a lot of my ham­burger meals the same way.

So I buy a huge pack of meat, sav­ing us money,

then I sea­son the whole thing with bread­crumbs, egg, onion and other spices then di­vide it into por­tions.

I use it to make meat loafs and ham­burger pat­ties.

I can ei­ther make ham­burg­ers or ham­burger steaks with it and meat­balls.

If you are want­ing to find a way to save your­self time, en­ergy and money, con­sider mak­ing freezer meals.

They have helped me with my home life and I hope it makes things eas­ier on you, too.

Ha­ley Smith

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