Fix, freeze and feast
Kati Neville and Lindsay Tkacsik are
Costco members, enthusiastic make-ahead cooks and founders of meal
assembly businesses. Their mission:
help busy parents put delicious meals
on the table, at a low cost, and with
To pour sauce into a
freezer bag, put the bag
in a large plastic sour
cream or cottage cheese
tub. Fold the top of the
bag over the rim of
brown sugar, garlic, eggs, dry bread crumbs, oregano, ketchup, black
pepper and butter. It’s also important to start with a tidy kitchen with
the sink empty and the countertops clear.
Doing the prep work is the next step. That means mincing and
chopping all ingredients as instructed, and having it all ready
There’s one last step: Make labels for your meals. Get the freezer
bags you’ll need for your meals and label them—it’s a lot easier to do
this when they’re flat. Including cooking directions on the labels is a
After the meals are prepared, carefully packaging and freezing them
help ensure quality. Follow these tips:
; When making marinades, use a large, clear liquid measuring cup
instead of a bowl. This will take the guesswork out of evenly dividing up
the liquid among bags.
; Use heavy-duty freezer bags. Quality storage containers also work
well, but freezer bags can save space. Remove as much air as possible
from any container you use to prevent ice crystals.
; If you’re packing meat with bones, double-bag the meal to help
; Keep a freezer inventory to know what you
All the hard work is done. For safety, always thaw
frozen meals in the fridge, not on the counter. Once
an entrée has been thawed, you must cook it. Follow
directions given in the original recipe.
One last tip: Consider swapping your frozen meals
with friends. This adds variety to your meals and helps
you expand your cooking repertoire.
One smart way to prepare food is through the “fix, freeze, feast”
method, advise Costco members Kati Neville and Lindsay Tkacsik. In
fact, they wrote a cookbook with that name (Storey Publishing, 2007,
www.fixfreezefeast.com). This approach is smart, they say, because it:
; Saves money by using large, economical package sizes, like
the ones found at Costco;
; Saves time by having you prepare several meals in about
the same time it takes to make a single one;
; Helps you serve healthy meals rather than last-minute
“make-do’s” or fast food.
The method calls for setting up an assembly line of sorts to make
several meals, freezing them, then pulling them out when the time is
right. For example, you might make a large batch of Chicken Cordon
Bleu using one package (about 7 pounds) of boneless, skinless chicken
breasts from Costco. This recipe would yield three entrées, each serving
four people. Here’s a look at how it works.
Preparation is key. Keep your pantry and fridge stocked with the
essentials such as honey, soy sauce, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, onions,