Did you know that you can freeze ingredients in the humble ice cube tray to make meal prep so much easier?
We have ten great ideas for things that you can freeze ahead, meaning you can just grab them out as needed to add to your healthy meals.
Once frozen, click out the cubes and store in labelled zip lock bags or plastic tubs for easy access.
If your herb garden is overflowing, make yourself a batch of pesto and then store it in ice cube trays.
You only need to defrost them for about 10 seconds in the microwave and you’ll have ready-made pesto to add to your chicken and cheese toastie, or a quick pesto pasta dinner for the kids.
Or why not mix a few defrosted cubes with some natural yoghurt for a super healthy dip.
2. Baby purees
If your little one is starting solids, it definitely pays off to prepare a big batch of their pureed food in advance. So steam your sweet potato, carrot, or make them a casserole or Bolognese – and then pop it into ice cube trays. Freeze, and then store the cubes in labelled zip lock bags.
You can easily defrost just the right amount of cubes that you need for each meal (minimising waste). You can also easily mix and match the cubes to give bub new flavour combinations (many kids love a mixture of sweet potato and apple for instance).
Next time you have a roast chicken, keep the bones and skin and make yourself a homemade stock. To store it, freeze some in one-cup containers, and then freeze the rest in ice cube trays.
You will find these so handy for adding to your Bolognese, making gravy, deglazing the pan, or using to cook some couscous or brown rice.
Got yoghurt that you’re not going to get through? Don’t bin it – freeze it! Frozen yoghurt cubes are GREAT for adding to your Healthy Mummy Smoothie as they add a nice cool creaminess to your drink.
You could also add a cube to your curry as you cook it if you wanted to reduce the intensity of the chilli.
5. Pureed Fruit
If you’ve bought fruit on sale and it’s on the turn, peel and steam it, or stew it in the slow cooker. Then once cool, place in ice cube trays.
Use the defrosted pureed fruit on your porridge or muesli, in your Healthy Mummy Smoothie, as a dessert with natural yoghurt and chopped nuts, as a healthy kids snack, or mix with chia seeds to make a healthy jam.
6. Coconut Cream
If you need just part of a can of coconut milk or coconut cream in a recipe, don’t let the rest of it go off by placing in the fridge and forgetting about it.
Freeze any unused amount and then use it in your next curry or even in your Healthy Mummy Smoothies or in your cooking.
If you buy herbs and don’t use them all, you can save them for later by freezing them. Just chop them up and place in an ice cube tray. Add some olive oil or stock and freeze.
You can also make a quick homemade herb butter by chopping up sage or rosemary and mixing with some soft butter. Freeze the herb butter and use to add flavour to steamed veggies or place in the pan with your grilled fish or steak.
9. Homemade Pasta Sauce
Next time you see ripe tomatoes on sale, grab them. Slice a dozen in half and place on a tray with two halved and peeled onions, and two garlic cloves. Drizzle with olive oil, season, then bake in a 180C oven until the tomatoes start to roast and break down.
Place in a large pot and use a stick blender to puree. You’ve just made your own healthy pasta sauce (no added sugar or preservatives here!) and you can freeze in ice cube trays. Then when you need a healthy tomato sauce for a pizza or Parmigiana you’ve got the right amount there ready to go.
10. Lemon Juice
Many recipes call for just a teaspoon or two of lemon/lime/orange juice, and then the rest can sit in the fruit bowl going bad.
Just freeze any unused fresh juice and you will have it to hand to defrost when you next need a splash for some salad dressing or dessert.