Hardy, tasty and easily stored, comfort foods play a key role at holiday time
Great feasts are always memorable. But not every meal over the holidays is the marquee turkey dinner. As life goes on during the festive season, there are plenty of meals that need to be created and, hopefully, enjoyed. And with all the shopping, hosting and planning of big events, most of us do not have time to cook a feast for our regular meals. Everyday meals need to be affordable and practical as well as delicious and fortifying—just what you need to keep going during this busy time.
Cozy on comfort
It's time to get snug with comfort foods: hardy fare that’s simply prepared and associated with the warmth of home. Foods that are rib-clinging good, and ideal for saving and serving again: the make it once, eat it twice variety. Dishes such as beef stroganoff, black bean soup, chili, chicken pot pies, casseroles, lasagnas and pot roasts, to name just a few.
The two keys to comfort-food strategy are making the right amount to fit your dining plans and properly storing for future use. Of course it can be wise to take advantage of sales and buy extra for freezer meals, but stick to a plan. A lack of foresight can lead to overbuying and waste. Roughly calculate what your family will consume in a single sitting, purchase the necessary ingredients, and try to build meals based on the number of times you wish to enjoy that dish. Rubbermaid can help you store the leftovers. Dispense with your random assortment of margarine tubs and other unreliable plastic containers—they won’t protect your freezer fare. Containers in the Easy Find Lids family are freezer-safe (not to mention safe for microwave and dishwasher). With no surprise leaks or explosions to withstand, the inside of your freezer will be a better place.
The big freeze
Now that you know what to store your comfort goodies in, you need to put some thought into how they’ll be effectively stored. Here are some strategies for organizing containers in the freezer at this (or any other) time of year.
- When you set out to make more than you’ll immediately consume, be sure to package the freezer-container meals first, before you serve the evening’s meal. Not having additional temptation on the counter is the best way to manage portion control. (Besides, scooping leftovers into containers after eating the meal is not an appealing prospect, especially with the meal’s dirty dishes, pots and pans to clean up.)
- Rubbermaid Easy Find Lids family lids and bases that snap together, so they stack neatly in your freezer. Not to mention that they nest together so they take up less room in your cabinet when they are not in use.
- Certain dishes, depending on their ingredients, are best cooked once (rather than re-heated), so freeze these prior to cooking.
- Label everything. The more you rely on this cook-ahead technique, the more goodies you’ll be storing—so make sure you can readily identify your meals. Without proper labeling and portion control, your foresight and efforts will be for nothing.
- Track your frozen inventory on a fridge-door calendar or whiteboard. Erase each meal or dish as you use it. Measure your consumption week-by-week and soon you’ll have a better handle on how much your family requires on a routine basis.