Prepping food beforehand saves cooking time later
I don’t know about you but for me, this year has just flown by. It seems like each day there’s more and more to do and it’s only going to get busier around our house with summer just around the corner. With that thought in mind, I’ve decided that since time is so precious and our children are only little for so long, I don’t want to spend countless hours cooking when I could be spending quality time with my family. So one day per month I am planning to prep some basic foods to freeze that will be ready for me when I need them. Here are a few time-saving kitchen hacks that you can use to save time and money.
Shredded Chicken: Watch your grocery ads for this one. Sometimes I’m able to get nice, quality, boneless, skinless chicken breasts for less than $2 per pound. When you see it on sale, scoop it up and take it on home. I love to use my stand mixer to shred chicken. I’ll fill a stock pot with some basic veggies (a few carrots, some celery and quartered onion with some salt and pepper to taste) toss in as many trimmed chicken breasts as I can and boil for about 20 minutes. When the chicken is done, take each breast out and put it into your stand mixer. Using your paddle attachment, turn the mixer on and in about 30 seconds it will be shredded perfectly. Let it cool and bag it into the best portion size for your family. It’s perfect for quesadillas, BBQ chicken sliders or chicken salad.
Ground Beef: How many times have you gone to work only to come home in a panic because you forgot to thaw your ground beef? Don’t ever stress about defrosting a pack of ground beef for dinner again! Pre-cook ground beef and portion it out for meals. When you need hamburger for shepherd’s pie, tacos or any other recipe, pull it out of the freezer, add the seasoning and microwave it to thaw. If it’s going into a crock pot meal, like chili, just throw it in frozen. Watch for “one day meat sales” - ground beef has gone through the roof!
Mashed Potatoes: I hate cooking mashed potatoes. First there’s the peeling. Then you’ve got to cut them and wait forever for them to boil. Well, that stops now. Just make up a huge batch, mash them and use an ice cream scoop to put even portions onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Freeze until hard, then transfer them into a freezer bag. Then you can take out as many as you need without all the hassle.
Tomatoes: Roma tomatoes are often less expensive but have the same great flavor. To save time when you want homemade spaghetti sauce, roast roma tomatoes in the oven at a low temperature (225 degrees) with garlic, fresh herbs and a drizzle of olive oil for 4 to 5 hours. When cooled, transfer to freezer bags. Use them in chili, add them to storebought spaghetti sauce or in your own tomato-based sauces.
Last month we talked about hosting a freezer meal party. I’d love to hear if any of our readers gave it a try! Feel free to email me at email@example.com and make sure to “like” Serve Daily on Facebook for more tips, family activities and awesome giveaways.