Before my daughter came along, I had a small fridge with a flip open freezer compartment at the top. One of those very small box like spaces that fits about two bags of frozen peas inside. I still have that fridge. However, the freezer in unused these days. Once I started weaning my daughter onto solids, I invested in a small chest freezer and I can honestly say I do not know how on earth I survived without it!
In the age of convenience food being so readily available and pushed onto the public as the quick, easy and hassle free route to an easy life, I really feel people are being generally quite lazy and missing a few tricks when it comes to having a quick meal without a lot of time or hassle. Trust me, there are times I walk home past the local fish and chip shop and am drawn in by that heavenly smell of curry sauce, but nine times out of ten I try to find my will power and carry on home to feed my daughter something filling, nutritious and cheaper instead. Yes, a £1.10 bag of chips makes a quick cheap supper. But it’s just carbs, you will be hungry again in an hour and they cost the same as a whole bag of potatoes, which lasts me about two weeks. See my point? Once I started looking at it like that, there was no competition really.
It angers me so much when people say that being healthy costs more. Yes, I agree, if you are going all out and eating expensive nuts, extras, alternatives and organic everything, then your food bill will mount up, massively! (Deliciously Ella, your recipes are beautiful but just not affordable for a normal family on minimum wage.) However, if you meal plan, choose healthy, basic ingredients with a few special extras that are versatile, you can save loads of money and have the means to make several 15 minute meals without a lot of effort!
My freezer has become essential for this! I used to really look down on people who bought frozen pre chopped vegetables, thinking they were simply lazy. Then I had a baby! Shes a toddler now, I have to make 10 minute meals whilst shes annoying me, usually wrapped around one leg or banging my kitchen utensils onto pans annoying the neighbours, so us moms need to speed things up sometimes. If someone has done the time-consuming bit for me I am all for it these days. I never used to look too much in the frozen isles of the supermarket but its amazing! I have been missing out. A lot of the big supermarkets have a great range of things like frozen herbs, chillies, ginger, along with smoothies mixes and even things like avocados!
I buy things like ready diced onions, sliced mixed peppers, sliced mushrooms. I know it doesn’t take long to peel and chop an onion and I do still buy fresh ones but when you have a tired toddler after nursery and want to get them fed quickly, take the short cut! There is nothing added, I buy just the frozen vegetables, which to be honest, being frozen quickly probably makes them far more nutritious than the week old peppers I used to keep in my fridge and use just because I had to before they went off!
I now have a bit of a fascination with what I can find frozen and pre prepared, it actually excites me! I know I am getting old when I get excited about pre peeled and chopped butternut squash (anyone else HATE chopping these up too?!) I almost never buy these things fresh anymore because I can stick them in the freezer and have less of a time limit on when I use them. They are simply there when I need them and a bag of frozen vegetables last so much longer than a smaller container of something fresh waiting to go off within days. It just makes sense!
So, take tonight for example, we didn’t get home until about 6pm. I needed something fast! I raided my freezer and cooked some frozen peppers, onions, mushrooms and spinach until softened in the pan. In another pan I did some turkey mince (reduced to £1.10 in Asda today ;-))with passata and in another pan some pasta. It took about 12 minutes to cook, filled my daughter full of goodness and tasted delicious! It would take longer to walk to the chippy and order your favourite grease fest. And it made enough to refrigerate for at least another 3-4 more servings for the next day or two. So good for the finances also being very cheap per serving.
I love thinking of new uses for my frozen goods.
Frozen fruit can make great puddings, smoothies, or just be defrosted to top your porridge or eat as they are!
Frozen butternut squash and mushrooms make for great risotto ingredients!
And a lot of what you make can be refrozen in its finished form, such as vegetable soups.
Leftover bits of cheese can be frozen and grated onto pizzas or to finish off pasta dishes.
Supermarkets always have a reduced stand with short date meats and bread, which I buy them when they are cheap and freeze them! Saves on the shopping bill!
My freezer has transformed my eating habits and I wouldn’t be without it these days. The only problem is it’s not quite big enough for all my bargains. 😉 xx