When I was pregnant with my second I spent hours in the kitchen preparing and freezing meals to eat once she arrived. I bought a chest freezer, I learned the best way to seal up freezer meals to protect against freezer burn. I labeled them all diligently and organized them by cuisine. We would eat like kings once this baby arrived! The baby came, life flew by in a haze and my freezer is still really full of those meals I so ambitiously made 10 months ago.
What went wrong? And more importantly, what have we been eating for the last year?
My biggest mistake in preparing these dozens of freezer meals is that I made them big enough to feed a family of eight when there was only 3 of us who would be eating them. "Leftovers!" I thought, but leftovers aren't a huge hit in our house, not to mention the freezing, thawing and reheating wasn't nearly as palatable on 8 month old lasagne. I also never took into consideration just how long it takes to heat up the meals. Had I thought about it at 3 o'clock I could have pulled it out of the freezer, preheated the oven and had dinner ready by 5. But no, 3 o'clock is sad o'clock in our house and dinner was always the farthest thing from my mind. By the time my six year old started asking about dinner it was already 5 and unless we wanted to eat at 7 those giant freezer meals were out of the question.
I seem to have a similar relationship with my slow cooker, something about chopping meat and sauteeing veggies at 9 am so you can have dinner ready at 6 - the slow cooker is one of the greatest inventions ever for busy families but I just can't seem to wrap my head around making dinner before breakfast and cooking it while I eat lunch.
It's a funny relationship I have with meals, while it makes all the sense in the world to prepare often and prepare early - meal time comes around, especially dinner, and I'm wondering where the food is going to come from because I certainly didn't have the foresight to put a freezer meal in the oven in time or get the slow cooker ready 8 hours earlier.
At what point in your day do you start thinking about where dinner's coming from?