I don’t always have time to cook, especially when work finishes at 5pm and traffic going home would hold me back about an hour or so (this is Kuala Lumpur traffic mind you!) so it sounds handy and sensible to have frozen food waiting at home to be pop into the microwave. After all, Mr Husband prefers frozen dinner than dining out on weekdays having to compete with traffic, rude waiters, bad weather, queing while paying bills, yadayada…
Therefore, Sunday has become my marketing day plus ‘cook-a-storm’ day! I have become quite a master at whipping out 3-4 dishes in 2 hours (if you’d like to know, Malay cooking is the most tedious, messy and long winded of ALL recipes!). Being a stickler for nutrition – I made my own frozen meals! bahhh… allow me to emulate the perfect working mother? hehhe
I made these today:
Beef curry, butter chicken and sardine in chilli paste.
Making my own frozen meals is really a bargain, after I did the math. The above just costs RM45 for 5 dinners, well, veggie not included but I assume I would spend less than RM150 if I cook in than dine out for the whole week. Plus, I choose my own preferred ingredients and cooking method. One thing I noticed is that meat seems to take well to being frozen rather than fish and veggie. My fish and veggie dishes would then require to be cooked and eaten instantly.
Here’s some tips on how to store your frozen food:
1. The containers you use to store your meals in should be both microwave- and freezer-safe. Both glass and plastic may work well, if they meet these standards (all glass and plastic containers are different). Another option is large freezer bags. Certain foods will freeze well in a bag, and can then be defrosted in the refrigerator, placed in a microwave-safe container, and then reheated.
2. Before portioning out cooked food into containers, allow it to cool completely first and always leave extra room at the top of to allow for expansion of the food during freezing.
3. Make sure food is wrapped well and/or covered with air-tight lids to prevent air from getting in.
4. Foods with high moisture content (such as soups) tend to freeze better than drier foods.
5. Don’t turn your food into a mystery science project. Use a permanent marker to label each dish with a name and a date. For maximum quality and flavor, use each meal within a couple of weeks.
6. Just like in a store, rotate your stock so that the newest meals are in the back and the oldest are in the front for easy access.
7. Vegetables should be slightly undercooked to prevent them from becoming mushy when you reheat them.
8. Be careful about bacterial contamination. Completely cool hot food before freezing it to prevent the growth of bacteria. Bacteria can grow when the outside of food freezes while the inside remains warm.
9. If you’re not sure a meal will freeze well, cook and freeze only a small portion the first time. If the quality is okay, then go ahead and freeze more in the future.
10. As a general rule, fruit and vegetables will stay freezer-fresh for around eight months, fish and shellfish for up to six months, and meat and poultry for three. Trust your instincts and throw out anything from the freezer that smells or tastes “off.”
11. Don’t re-freeze defrosted foods because the taste and texture will decline and you could be risking bacterial contamination.
Well folks, have fun trying your own frozen meals and stay healthy!