If you live alone or there are just two of you, it can get expensive and time-consuming to buy for and cook individual meals each time. I have two tips for you that have worked really well for me (and in fact you can use these even if you have a big family):
1. Buy in bulk e.g. a kg of mince, bacon, chops, etc, then divide up into individual or meal-sized portions in clingfilm or small plastic bags or containers. The key here is to make sure the container is completely sealed so the food doesn’t get freezer-burn. Freeze till you need them, then defrost and cook as you wish.
2. Prepare a big batch of something, then divide it up and freeze in individual/enough-for-two/enough-for-the family portions. Then you can take the dish out the freezer in the morning to defrost, and in the evening, you simply warm the oven and either pop the dish straight in, or decant the contents into a heat-proof container, to cook or heat through.
If you have some of those clever freezer-to-oven containers, even better since you won’t have to decant. With some dishes, you can even take them straight out the freezer and put them into the oven as you turn it on. By the time the oven is up to temperature, the dish has defrosted and can continue cooking through from there.
This works well with food that is fairly solid and robust (anything that rises is risky). Examples of good dishes to freeze are:
- Stews and casseroles
- Anything with meat sauce in it e.g. the sauce itself, lasagne, cottage pie, etc
- Beans (these don’t keep their shape well when defrosted, but that usually don’t matter)
- Tomato and onion sauce/relish
- Flavoured butter e.g. garlic or herb
Give either or both of these tips a try, and enjoy the time and money they save you!