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Do you need 30 minute meals? Make friends with your freezer and discover how.
Home Foods & Drinks Cooking Tips & Recipes
By: Fiona Lesley Email Article
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We all need quick dinner recipes and 30 minute meals are at the top of the list. However, we also want nutritious, tasty, low-cal, low-carb meals...NOW! Does this sound familiar? And as much as we all love the idea of a homemade beef stew or a luscious homemade meatball recipe, more often than not, there just is not the time to produce that kind of food after we have rushed in from work, school or ferrying the kids.

However, make friends with your freezer and this, in fact, does become possible.

Freeze batches of fried onion.

When you have a chance, chop a whole load of onions. I often do 12 large onions at a time. Pour a little oil into a large pot and fry the onions until they soften and take on a deep caramel color. You may find it easier to do this in two pots. Cool the onions and then transfer equal quantities to freezer containers. I would transfer the equivalent of one to two onions to each container. Label each container and then freeze.

Now you are able to have some fun. You want to make one of those best ground beef recipes? No problem. You are already half way there. Whilst your meat is browning, simply defrost the onions and then add them along with the other ingredients. You have the beginning of Chili con carne, a Beef and Noodle Casserole or a Ground Beef Goulash.

Freeze breadcrumbs and egg whites

No, I have not lost the plot! If you have leftover breadcrumbs, simply pop them in a freezer container, mark them and freeze them. Next time you want to whizz up meatballs or crumb a piece of fish, the work has been done for you already.

The same applies to egg whites. They freeze very well for a couple of months. Put the leftover egg whites into a container and mark HOW MANY THERE ARE ie "3 egg whites." Next time you feel inspired to whip up meringues or need egg white for an icing recipe, all you have to do is defrost them on low in the microwave and you're set.

Freeze batches of a basic Bechamel Sauce Recipe

Make a large batch of your favorite Bechamel Sauce Recipe. I often do triple the usual quantity. Again, decant into freezer containers and mark. You now have the basis for a whole range of dishes, from your best baked macaroni cheese recipe to baked fish in a sauce. You can add simple ingredients to make a pasta sauce or you could add the Bechamel sauce to a Lasagna or Moussaka. But the key thing is, that part of the work has already been done, thereby making it completely viable to have a nutritious meal on the table in a relatively quick time.

Double up your recipes

This almost seems a no-brainer but it is worth being reminded. If you are going to make one batch of your favorite Beef Curry Recipe, make two - one for now, and one for the freezer. Apply the same rule to any stews, simple ground beef recipes and even chicken casseroles. Most of these dishes are good natured and will freeze well. I love nothing more than being able to haul out a nutritious meal from the freezer on those stressed-out days. Moreover, I know that there are no preservatives, additives and colorants in the food that I have frozen. Plus, my freezer meal has cost nothing like the supermarket equivalent and always tastes better.

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Fiona Lesley has had over 20 years of experience cooking delicious meals for family and friends alike. A teacher by profession, she brings together her years of time and money-saving tips at www.easy-meal-planning.com

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