If you’re going to sweat profusely and endure some serious heat this summer, let it be on the beach or riding your bike, rather than in the kitchen. If you aren’t a fan of spending those beautiful summer days indoors, take advantage of your freezer and make your life easier by prepping your meals while the weather is still bearable, and freezing them to save some kitchen time when the heat gets too much to handle.
There are many different recipes that include chicken breasts, so get a bunch of them and freeze them for later. Before you do that, chop them, slice them or leave them in one piece, depending on what you’re planning to do with them once you defrost them. For example, if you’re serving it with pasta, chop them into smaller pieces, but make sure you also get some mushrooms, which you can also cut in smaller pieces and put into your freezer. When you want to cook them, just put the chicken on some chopped onions and oil, adding water one bit at a time till it’s nearly cooked. Then, add the mushrooms, let it simmer for another 15-20 minutes, season it and, just minutes before it’s all done, pour some sour cream or half-and-half on it for that perfect creaminess.
Buying seasonal products is always a good idea, and if you want to be sure you’ve got the good stuff, go to the farmers’ market, buy vegetables there and freeze them. When it comes to fresh vegetables, it’s important that they get frozen quickly to preserve the nutrients in them. This is why you should invest in the upright Maytag freezer with a fast freeze option, which locks in the freshness of your ingredients by dropping the temperature of the freezer to its coldest for 24 hours. Once you freeze your vegetables, you can later use them to make vegetable soups, stews in combination with meat, or use them as lasagna filling. Freeze chopped onions, peppers and carrots, as well as peas, broccoli, and cauliflower. You can use various vegetables in combination with cleaned and frozen prawns and mussels to make a wonderful risotto in no time. Put the prawns and mussels on some oil with some garlic, stir-fry them for about five to ten minutes, then pour some vegetable stock over them. Put some rice into the stock with the seafood, adding a bit of white wine, then cook for at least 10 minutes before adding some peppers, carrots, courgettes and onions, all finely chopped. Keep cooking and stirring until the rice is al dente. Season it and serve with some parsley on top.
Stuff to put in a salad
Summer meals should be light and refreshing, so different kinds of salads are always a welcome option. If you want to save some time, pre-cook some of the ingredients for your salad and freeze them. For example, you can cook or grill some beef, pork or even fish, such as tuna, to put over your fresh vegetables and have a healthy and tasty dinner in a matter of minutes. Furthermore, homemade croutons or even dressings can be frozen, although you should be careful if your salad dressing contains liquid or semi-liquid dairy products, since those don’t thaw so well, while some herbs and spices tend to change their flavor when frozen. On the other hand, you can buy your cheese in bulks, grate or chop it and freeze it in smaller bags; this will be a perfect addition to any salad. Put these ingredients into a big bowl along with fresh lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers or any other vegetable you prefer, and your meal will be done before you break a sweat.
Fruit and deserts
Another trip to the farmers’ market and you can fill at least one compartment of your freezer with cherries, nuts and all sorts of berries. You can use these as pie filling and cake topping or make various smoothies, ice cream or frozen yogurt. You can even freeze bananas, combine them with frozen berries, a bit of honey and yogurt and make a wonderful smoothie in your blender. Add some flax or chia seeds or some oats and you’ll have a sweat and nutritious breakfast. Another option is to make a combination of frozen fruit to your liking, put it in your blender, pour some sweetened heavy cream over it, and make a healthy version of ice cream in less than a minute. You can also make your own pie crust, freeze it, then simply add the filling and bake it for your Sunday dinner.
With these tips, you can easily spend your time on more important things than preparing meals this summer. You really can have it all – nice and healthy meals and some outdoor fun.