5 ideas for scheduling, prepping and freezing healthier foods

Skinnytaste blogger Gina Homolka is joining Today to share balanced and practical tips for optimizing your freezer from her new cookbook “Skinnytaste Food Prep: Nutritious Make-Ahead Meals and Freezer Recipes to Simplify Your Lifestyle.” She displays us how to program forward, proficiently prep and the most effective methods to freeze feel-superior dishes.

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Why make freezer foods?

Your freezer is a single of the most handy equipment in your kitchen area for make-in advance meals and freezer-pleasant dishes.Not only do freezer meals assistance on all those hectic weeknights, but they also lower again on foods waste and let you to inventory up on elements that go on sale. These added benefits all insert up to saving time, cash and energy.

1. Improve area in your freezer

Use fantastic top quality freezer bags to freeze soups, beans and sauces. They preserve space since you can lay them flat to freeze. When frozen, you can stack them up on prime of each other or hold them in bins upright.

Similar: The Barefoot Contessa took to Instagram to share tips on how greatest to set your freezer to get the job done right now.

2. Go away a little added space for liquids

You can also freeze soups, sauces and stews in airtight containers. Liquids grow so you can want to fill freezer bags and containers only three-quarters of the way, so they you should not explode.

3. Freeze fruits and vegetables

Freezing seasonal fruits and veggies is great, specifically this time of calendar year. Freezing your clean backyard garden veggies now will make it possible for you to use them all year prolonged. Identical with in-period fruits, which are sweeter and excellent to add to your smoothies.

To avoid pieces from freezing alongside one another (and for freezing fragile fruits like berries), spread the pieces out in a one layer on a plastic wrap-lined sheet pan. As soon as they are entirely frozen, transfer the pieces to your container and area it straight away in the freezer. With this approach, any ice movies variety all around each and every individual piece, relatively than freezing all the pieces jointly in a huge chunk.

4. Freeze casseroles

Lots of nights if I am creating a lasagna or baked ziti, alternatively of building one particular, I make two: 1 to take in correct absent and 1 to freeze later on. Cook dinner after, consume twice. It is really the very same total of function and you will be happy to have a casserole well prepared on people chaotic nights. It truly is also terrific to have a built-ahead dish on hand when you want to convey a little something to a person who’s sick or having a little one.

Casseroles can be frozen either cooked or uncooked, but it is a bit superior to freeze raw or partially cooked casseroles as opposed to freezing completely cooked casseroles.

Assemble casseroles in freezer-harmless and ovenproof dishes (glass and ceramic dishes tend to perform greatest) and seal with quite a few layers of plastic wrap and foil, or with an airtight lid to hold out as a great deal air as achievable. For the most effective defrosting success, thaw them in the refrigerator right away, then prepare dinner in the oven.

Of class, if you forget to thaw and want to bake from frozen, make guaranteed you freeze your casseroles in freezer-to-ovenproof baking dishes (these kinds of as foil, as most glass or ceramic dishes will crack). Don’t fail to remember to remove any plastic wrap on your casseroles before baking (sure, I’ve done that!).

Associated: Believe it is difficult to make 15 speedy and healthy meals at at the time? Here’s how to create handy freezer foods for busy weeknights.

5. Indication, seal and deliver (to the freezer)

Jot down the merchandise title and date on each individual meal-prep product you freeze. Dependent on what is inside, I like to scribble other details as effectively, to help me out when I pull meals from the freezer. You may want to make a take note of the recipe identify, freeze date, amount of servings or parts and reheating/cooking instructions.