March is National Frozen Food Month and we’re here to change your mind about it! Frozen food doesn’t have to be unhealthy or less flavorful than fresh foods. Just the opposite, actually! So we’re celebrating with seven awesome ideas on how to save money, save time and make your life easier—but just as healthy—by using your freezer to the fullest.
Prep Freezer Meals for Easy Weeknight Dinners
There is no better feeling than having a meal ready and waiting for you after a long day, but most of us don’t have personal chefs to help make that happen. No worries, the answer to your mealtime mayhem is frozen make-ahead dinners.
Here are a few of our favorite recipes that will help make your weeknight dinners a breeze:
Buy in Bulk, Freeze the Rest
If you live close enough to a warehouse store like Sam’s Club or Costco, you can save a lot of money by purchasing bulk foods and freezing what you can’t use right away. From butter to bread to ground beef, there are plenty of foods that can be frozen, saving you time at the store and money in your bank account! Here’s a great list of foods you can freeze that might even surprise you!
Buy Meat from Your Local Butcher for the Whole Year
This option is for beef-lovers, only! If you own a deep freezer—you may want to consider buying a whole or partial cow. By purchasing meat from a local butcher, you won’t just save money—you’ll also get more quality beef from a local source you can trust.
Freeze Your Scraps for Stock
After peeling and preparing your vegetables, don’t throw away those tasty scraps! Freeze them, instead! Using a freezer bag, store all your leftover veg and save them until you’re ready to make stock. Sound difficult? It’s not! Making your own stock is pretty simple, check out The Kitchn’s article on how to make vegetable stock here.
Make Your Own Smoothie Blends
Smoothies are a great way to kickstart your morning or fuel up after a great workout. Picking up a smoothie from your favorite spot can get pricey, so why not put your freezer to good use and store smoothie packs instead? By doing a little smoothie prep ahead of time, you’ll have perfectly portioned freezer bags loaded with your favorite mix to throw into your blender in a snap. Add your favorite berries, avocados, leafy greens, bananas—whatever floats your smoothie boat, and add to individual quart-sized freezer bags. When you’re ready to make a smoothie, just add to your blender along with your go-to milk, protein powders or nut butters, too!
Use Your Ice Cube Trays in Unique Ways
Buying fresh herbs can be expensive and letting them go to waste is never fun. The best way to avoid throwing away herbs unnecessarily is by freezing them in olive oil using an ice cube tray! You’ll always have fresh herbs on hand, ready for whatever recipe you decide to make.
Store Make-Ahead Meatballs or Burger Patties
Sure, you can buy store-bought versions of meatballs and burgers—but you can also make your own, ensuring the best taste and saving you money at the same time. By making a big batch ahead of time, you’ll be able to whip up a weeknight dinner in a flash and avoid going through the drive-thru.
What’s your favorite way to make the most of your freezer?
Tell us in the comments, below!