Make the Best of the Ice Age

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If you don't have a lot of time to put a meal together there are plenty of fresh Primal meals, like a u201Cbig-ass saladu201D or an omelet, that take only minutes to make. There are times in life, however, when the two free hands it takes to chop up veggies or scramble an egg are occupied with something more pressing, like soothing a new baby or helping your kid with homework or typing a work email that must be sent. There are also times when the only ingredients left in your fridge are a few limp carrots and some unidentifiable leftovers and a trip to the market just isn't going to happen.

Wouldn't it be great to just open your freezer and have a selection of home-cooked Primal meals ready to heat up? With a little planning, this dream can be your reality. Set aside one day a month when you cook and stock your freezer, or get in the habit of doubling recipes so you can freeze half for later. The majority of Primal recipes freeze well in cooked form. A few exceptions might be cooked seafood, which tends to turn tough and rubbery, and leafy greens and cabbage, which can be limp and soggy when re-heated. Cooked whole eggs typically freeze fairly well (but egg whites alone don't) and sauces that contain whole cream or coconut milk can be re-heated successfully (although freezing coconut milk alone usually makes it grainy and watery).

Whatever you're freezing, keep these tips in mind:

  • Food must be completely cooled before freezing it
  • Freezing food in small portions helps it freeze quickly, which maintains good flavor and texture
  • Freezer wrap (thick paper with a moisture-resistant coating) works well for wrapping solid food. Plastic freezer bags work well to store all kinds of frozen food because they take up less room in the freezer than containers and are easy to label.
  • If using freezer bags, remove all the air from the bag before sealing
  • Always label the contents and date it was made
  • Most cooked food tastes best if eaten within 3 months of being frozen
  • Usually, the best place to defrost food before re-heating it is in the refrigerator
  • Reheating food that is still frozen and hasn't been defrosted often takes double it's regular cooking time in a 350 degree F oven
  • Food safety regulations recommend re-heating frozen food to an internal temperature of 165 F before eating it

Soups, stews and saucy meals freeze especially well and defrost quickly. Simply place the bag of frozen soup/stew/sauce in a bowl of hot water until it softens and breaks into pieces, then dump it into a saucepan for stovetop heating. These types of meals are also really easy to freeze in small portions (use a small Ziploc freezer bag) so you can re-heat one serving at a time. If you’d prefer to use glass containers to freeze soups and sauces make sure the glass is tempered and labeled freezer safe, otherwise you are likely to end up with broken glass on your hands.

Cooked meat also freezes well, but needs more time to defrost. The best method is to put the frozen meat in the refrigerator the day before you plan to re-heat it.

For meals that you can take out of the freezer and heat up quickly in the microwave without defrosting, try Omelet Muffins and frittata slices. Or, for snacks that you don't have to warm up at all, try freezing Cocoa and Coconut Snacks, Primal Energy Bars and Primal Trail Mix.

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