Frozen Foods to the Rescue: Simple and Healthy Winter Meals
“If I had six hours to chop down a tree, I would spend the first four hours sharpening the axe.” — Abraham Lincoln
One of the Pot Pie Bar's missions is to offer tips and solutions that save you time and energy. We know that these two commodities are particularly precious at this time of year and throughout the winter season. To this end, we'd like to share one of our favorite time-saving hacks with you.
As the saying goes: "Work smarter not harder". One of the most effective ways to get ahead of the curve during your busy week is to plan ahead. Think of how much time you devote to meal preparation and cooking. Now think of what you could accomplish if you could get the lion's share of that time back! Your humble freezer will perform this miracle. Instead of cooking every night, you can make batches of your favorite meals or sides, freeze them and cook them in your Insta Pot or slow cooker.
Healthy and Economical
Contrary to popular wisdom, frozen meals are not unhealthy; that is - if you make them yourself! If you'd like to save money and time while improving the nutritional value and taste profiles of your meals, we suggest freezing batches of your favorite sides or mains during the busy holidays. Ounce for ounce, creating your own meals is generally cheaper, tastier & much healthier than buying commercially processed frozen meals or fast food takeout.
For our purposes, we're defining "Freezer meals" as any meal where the ingredients are combined in a single bag and frozen for later use in a Insta pot or slow cooker. Depending on the recipe, some of the ingredients may be pre-cooked before freezing. The good news is that If you're creating veggie sides or your favorite vegetable medleys, you can work with store-bought frozen options and add them directly from their packages into your Insta pot with your liquids and seasonings! Commercially frozen vegetables are flash-frozen at the peak of ripeness. So, they stack up well to their fresh counterparts.
Tips for Frozen Meals and Sides
- If you're prepping your own produce for the freezer we suggest you avoid anything "riced" or cut really thinly. We also suggest you avoid veggies like cucumbers or squash with high water contents as their texture degrades on reheat.
- After filling your freezer bag with your ingredients, get as much of the air out as possible before zipping. Better still, you can CryoVac it!
- Make sure to label and date all food for safety and ease of use
- Thaw uncooked meats in fridge before cooking
- Stand bags in the freezer so that they assume the generally round shape of the Insta Pot or slow cooker.
- When Freezing veggies: Blanch in boiling water and then shock in cold water. Cool in the fridge and then place in a freezer bag or freezer-safe container.
Vacuum Sealing allows you to side-step the freezer burn and locks in flavor by limiting oxidation. Whole meals can be cooked, sealed and heated in boiling water in the bag or warmed on the stovetop or in an Insta Pot outside the bag. You can also freeze individual portions of meat or fish this way, thaw them in the fridge and bake or saute on the day.
If you'd like to save additional time without compromising quality and taste, the Pot Pie Bar is here to step into the gap. You can order our delicious, convenient options right here on our website and pair them with your favorite sides. Our pot pies are prepared fresh and then immediately frozen to lock in all the flavor and nutrition of the fresh ingredients. Shipped frozen to your doorstep, they're perfect for pulling out of the freezer on a cold winter evening when all you want to do is sit down and put your feet up!