Are you sick of scrambling for dinner when you have meals waiting in your freezer that only need to be thawed? Here are 10 tips that will make sure you never forget to thaw a freezer meal again.
First, why thaw freezer meals in the first place?
Most freezer meals need to be thawed before cooking. Thawed meals cook more evenly, quickly, and safely (The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service recommends thawing frozen meat before cooking it in a crockpot). If you stack your crockpot freezer meals in the freezer like I do, it’s also important to thaw them because it’s impossible to fit a frozen square block in an oval crockpot.
Oven freezer meals typically do not need to be thawed ahead of time, but thawing will shorten their cooking time.
How do you thaw freezer meals?
There are three safe ways to thaw freezer meals: in the refrigerator, in cold water, and in the microwave. You can thaw a meal in the refrigerator 1-2 days before you’re planning to cook it. If you forget to do this, you can place the frozen meal in cold water or microwave it in a microwave-safe dish.
10 Easy Ways to Remember to Thaw Freezer Meals
People ask me all the time how to remember to thaw freezer meals, so I decided to write up some of my favorite tips as well as some ideas from the smart ladies who like my New Leaf Wellness Facebook page:
- Set a reminder on your iPhone. (This is my husband’s favorite method.)
- Associate thawing meals with something that you do everyday, like cleaning up your kitchen after dinner.
- Ask your kids or spouse to remind you.
- Plans your meals ahead of time and write them in your planner.
- Keep a copy of your meal plan everywhere you can possibly see it. (I like to hang a printed calendar on my refrigerator and keep a digital list on my computer and phone with the Cozi app.)
- Stick a post-it note to your freezer door.
- Display your weekly meal plan in your home where you can’t help but see it. (This is my favorite method. See a pic of my chalkboard below.)
- Write yourself a note and place it on the kitchen counter.
- Keep your crockpot sitting on your kitchen counter.
- Hang your car keys on a magnetic hook attached to the freezer.