Freezer Meal Hacks For Busy Parents

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By Cooking Panda

Some nights, preparing a home-cooked meal from scratch just isn’t in the cards — and that’s totally okay. Freezer meals are the answer.

Try these super-delicious, super-convenient freezer meal tips to keep things easy, safe AND tasty.

Build your freezer meal repertoire. Need freezer meal ideas? We’ve got a few: 

Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese

Dutch Oven Chicken and Herb Dumplings

Greek Stuffed Peppers with Spinach & Artichoke

Sweet and Spicy Broth Bowl

One Dish Chicken Broccoli and Rice Casserole

Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas

Chill before freezing. Putting hot foods in the freezer can increase your freezer’s temperature, making it more likely for other foods to defrost — not good. In a hurry? Refrigerate an uncovered dish and stir soups or stews frequently to speed up the chilling process.

Freeze with ease. Portion meals into individual containers or bags before freezing. This makes it super easy to grab what you need and avoid wasting food. Leave some extra space at the top of plastic containers and remove all the air from plastic bags before freezing.

Take stock of what’s in your freezer. Be sure to rotate meals so you use everything up. Most freezer meals will last anywhere from two to six months if they remain frozen during this time.

Tags: dinner, food hacks, Freezer, Perdue Chicken
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You Should Be Freezing Your Coffee Beans

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By Cooking Panda

There is great news for the coffee connoisseurs of the world. It turns out that the perfect cup of coffee might be easier (and cheaper) to achieve than even the most diehard java fiends had previously imagined.

While companies have been feverishly developing new, high-tech devices to improve at-home coffee brewing, it appears that the answer might be decidedly pedestrian. According to UPI, researchers Christopher Hendon and Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood recently discovered that the temperature of your coffee beans at the moment that you grind them affects the resulting flavor of the coffee. The groundbreaking (no pun intended) chilled beans result in a more even, homogenous grind and may be the key to brewing a flavorful cup of Joe.

If you’re interested in the technical details of the research, it turns out that a more even grind translates to a stronger, more economical beverage. Chilling your coffee beans before grinding them results in a “greater post-grind consistency, boasting a narrower distribution of fine particles,” UPI reports. These homogenous fine particles have more surface area than traditionally ground beans, and constitute the crux of the researchers’ findings.

According to Hendon, the chilled beans “will alter the taste, because subtle changes in particle size distributions make a huge difference in rate of extraction.” He added that the results “could have a major impact for the industry,” and Colonna-Dashwood suggests, “we will see the impact of this paper in coffee competitions around the globe, but also in the research and development of new grinding technology for the market place.” 

Thus, before you drop $199 on a new Voltaire grinder or completely give-up on home-brewed coffee, we suggest throwing your beans in the freezer before grinding them. Who knows, it could be the secret to breaking your Starbucks habit and saving you a cool $5 every morning!

Source: UPI / Photo credit: Hannah Blackmore Health

Tags: Beans, Chill, coffee, Freezer, Voltaire
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