Need to eat in a hurry? more bonuses.

It is 6 p.m., you just got home from work, you have 1 hour to feed your family and get back out the door to a practice/game/recital/meeting and you have no idea what’s for dinner.

Do you find this a familiar story? It’s something I have experienced quite often. It’s amazing how much it makes a difference when you already have a meal planned and even better when it is prepared and ready to go!

I was sent this week an advertisement for a business that offers meal prep services. It’s a wonderful service, where you can either go to their kitchen to prepare frozen meals or you can purchase pre-prepared freezer meals that are ready for you to heat and serve. After looking through the ingredients and menu, I decided I could do it better myself. I started to think and plan. In less than two hours, after the grocery shopping, I had 10 meals ready for me. One of these included a meal that I made for my family during the holiday weekend.

I have written previously about the beauty of slow cookers (“crock pot”) so I won’t get into too much detail about how to use them. To make your slow cooker even more useful, you should focus on cooking ahead. It takes just 15 minutes to prep the meals in the morning. Once you arrive home, the food is ready and waiting for you.

Now let’s take it one step further.

1. Spend about an hour on the weekend cooking several meals. Once you are done, place them in your freezer.

2. Tomorrow’s food can be taken out of the freezer and placed in the refrigerator for thawing.

3. You can empty your freezer container into the slow-cooker in the morning when you are not busy. Turn the heat down to low and you will be greeted with a beautiful house and ready-to-eat dinner.

Tips for freezing meals

1. Put the meat in the freezer container first so that it is at the bottom when you place it in the slow cooker.

2. Keep your freezer fresh by removing all air.

3. Take 2 portions of each dish and keep them in the freezer for up to 3 weeks.

4. Although you can slow cook some more delicate foods, such as fish and legumes, I suggest sticking with meats such pork, chicken, and beef to make freeze-ahead slow cooker meals.