By Meaghan Courtney (Bright Sparks Member & Mum of 2): For me the freezer is about quick dinners and meals, what I can buy cheaply in bulk, divide into portions and have ready in the freezer to pull a quick meal together. My freezer isn’t big but I try to make the most of it!
Ice – Sounds obvious but check your ice tray.
Vegetables – Peas, corn on the cob, stir-fry mix…
Frozen Berries and Other Fruit – Use them to transform a batch of muffins or a smoothie or just on a bowl of ice cream. It’s also great in summer to stew some stone fruit and freeze it for winter to go in a crumble dessert or on top of porridge.
Pastry – Shortcrust and/or puff pre-rolled sheets. Pastry is perfect to turn a thick casserole into a flaky topped pie or apples into a delicious dessert.
Cheese (including Parmesan) – Grated cheese freezes well and you can just use what you need and return the sealed pack to the freezer for next time.
Ice cream – A tub of ice cream is always an easy dessert and icy poles and ice blocks make a great afternoon snack in summer.
Bacon – Freeze in blocks of 4-6 rashers, depending on the meals you might have planned.
Stock – Chicken, vegetable, beef – I always seem to have half a carton of Real Stock left over so instead of letting it go off in the fridge it gets popped in the freezer.
Something with mince – Why make one dinner when you can make 4? Grab 2kg of mince next time you pass the butcher and do a really big batch of bolognaise, chilli con carne or meatballs and freeze in separate meal portions.
Mini muffins – Make up a big batch on the weekend, freeze them and then pop them into school lunches throughout the week. Other cakes freeze well too, as do brownie.
Ice packs – Some for school lunches and picnics, some for bumps.
Homemade tomato sauce – Make up a big batch of tomato ‘base’ by cooking tinned tomatoes, finely chopped onions, garlic, oregano and tomato paste. Freeze in small and large portions for pizza toppings or a quick pasta sauce (with bacon & peas!).
Soup – Portions of homemade soup are a great idea in winter, perfect to heat up quickly in the microwave and so much easier to transport (i.e. to work).
Meats/Chicken – Freeze in smaller portions so it can defrost quicker. Pre-cut into strips for stir fries saves time too.
Yoghurt – Freeze in small portions (ice cube trays perfect) to throw into a smoothie.
Biscuit dough – Certain types of biscuit dough freeze really well uncooked, especially a butter type biscuit dough that can be frozen as a round cylinder of dough, making it easy to slice the dough and bake a batch of biscuits .
Bread & pizza bases – If your freezer is small a whole loaf of bread can take up a lot of space so try just popping 4 slices in a zip lock bag for emergencies. Pizza bases are great topped with your tomato sauce & cheese, they are an easy quick meal in minutes.