My Story: Busy Family Meals

contributed by D

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Due to the busy schedules of our teens, the fact that we have different kids on different nights due to alternate parent scheduling, and the fact that they don't all like the same foods, it is very hard to prepare meals for my family. That said, we now make the usual size meals needed to feed our whole family and freeze the parts of the meal that can be frozen. On nights when we only have one or two of the kids, they can pick what they want to eat and dinner is a breeze.

When freezing soup or chili, we put it in a resealable bag and set it in a soup bowl until frozen and then we remove the bowls. By doing this, they stack nicely, and when removed from the freezer, they can be taken out of the bag, placed in the soup bowl, and warmed in the microwave.

When freezing pork chops, burgers, or steaks, we put them in individual bags. One or two can be easily removed without having to thaw all the leftovers as you would if frozen together. (When freezing more than one piece of meat in a freezer bag, I have found that laying an inexpensive fold top baggie between each piece of meat also makes them easier to separate. You can also do this with pancakes and waffles.)

We also freeze leftover taco or sloppy joe meat in small amounts. If someone wants a taco salad or a sloppy joe, they just heat the amount they need. You can also freeze buns individually to make them easier to grab for sloppy joes or burgers.

We also freeze leftover broth from slow cooker meals and use it as stock in soups and stews.

We keep an on-going bag of veggies in the freezer for soups or stews. You'd be surprised how fast it adds up and can become a big part of another meal.

And, of course, remember to date the bags and you won't catch yourself wondering if that lonely pork chop was from a last Tuesday's supper or last month.

Many of these meals can easily be put into your lunch box/bag and warmed at work. As your meal thaws in the morning, it will also keep your drink cold, so you don't need to hassle with an ice pack.

"My Story" is a regular feature of The Dollar Stretcher. If you have a story that could help save time or money please send it by

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