We all want to produce real and healthy food for our families, right? Let's face it though, this can be a time consuming task.
I love cooking and have always felt proud to say that I cooked everything from scratch. I felt content in the knowledge that I was providing what my family needed and I was lucky to have the time to do this. I even batch baked all the cakes each week and then cut them into portions and stored in the freezer.
Then two things happened:
- I decided I wanted to start this blog and, amongst other things, investigate way to increase my income.
- My eldest son entered his GCSE year at school.
All of a sudden my spare time was swallowed up.
The first thing to go was the baking of the cakes. I still make their birthday cakes, but the weekly cake baking has gone to be replaced by baking for pleasure rather than necessity. I have to admit I felt guilty. I felt like I wasn't providing for my family and that I had chosen my own needs over theirs (of course, that's what it's like being a parent) but I also knew that the time I was taking for myself was also a necessity, it was just hard to accept this.
Monday nights were still time-consuming though. This was the night that I batch prepared everything I could for meals for that week. I had my meal plan for the week and I could be found washing, peeling, chopping, kneading, mixing anything that could be pre-prepared and stored in the fridge or freezer. After one marathon session, I had a blister on my thumb from all the chopping I had done, even though I had used my food processor for some of it. I decided then and there that there must be another way.
That's when I turned to frozen foods. I had always thought of frozen foods as unhealthy. I had heard the horror stories of the 'ready meals' packed full of salt, sugar and fat. What I discovered was frozen ingredients. Things like frozen veg, that by all accounts were actually fresher than fresh vegetables and the best bit - they were all pre-prepared! The more obvious things like peas and carrots weren't a surprise, but products like 'ready chopped frozen onions' were. It became clear that I could use these ready prepared foods as the building blocks to the meals I was making - we didn't need to change our meal plan or start eating different things, we could just carry on as we were.
Once I had made this 'discovery' I became aware of all the other products that were available and then at Christmas I went the 'whole hog' and our Christmas dinner was made almost entirely with frozen foods. The meal was declared a success by everyone.
At this point I have to mention the frozen mashed potato (affiliate link). To say I was sceptical, was an understatement! It was my husband who suggested trying it. I was convinced it would be full of chemicals and nasty stuff - how wrong I was! The first thing I did was check the ingredients -potato, butter, salt and pepper! I couldn't believe it, that was exactly what I put in the mashed potato I made at home after spending time peeling, chopping, boiling and mashing! The back of the packet also informed me that all I had to do was tip it into a microwaveable safe bowl and if I used the whole packet it would take just 15 minutes before I would be presented with mashed potato. I had no excuse but to try it out. It is also approved by the Good Housekeeping Institute and has a 5 star rating on Iceland's website.
Upon opening the packet I was shocked - the 'potato' was frozen into small cylindrical shaped pieces. It did not resemble mashed potato at all and I just knew that we would not like it. Wrong again! Not only was it so easy to make, it was delicious too. Since that moment this is the mashed potato we eat and I couldn't imagine going back to using fresh potatoes for mash again. We have also tried the frozen sweet potato (affiliate link) - again we love this.
Iceland Bonus Card
I am also now a member of the Iceland Bonus Card - you can read my post here all about the benefits and how you can get offers of free food and free delivery.
So, if you would like to save time but still provide good food for your family, head to your nearest frozen food section and check out what they have.