How Far Ahead Do You Plan Meals?

Make-ahead meal centers like Delicious Dinners have been doing big business in the suburbs - pay $200, spend two hours, and walk out with enough frozen meals to feed a family for two weeks. According to an article in yesterday's New York Times, however, their popularity may be declining, as people opt for even easier carry-out convenience.

It got us thinking, though - we don't have enough freezer space for a week of meals let alone two, and our brain can hardly handle thinking ahead three nights! But maybe we should start planning ahead more... The article in the Times says that these make-ahead meal centers did booming business as moms and dads had the work of menu planning done for them. They still got to feel like they were making their family's food, and the relief of planning ahead. Plus it was a social outing that groups of friends could participate in together.

We have never been drawn to these meal centers but we like the idea of planning ahead. Do you like to plan ahead meticulously? Do you cook ahead of time and freeze meals?

We don't freeze entire meals, but we do freeze elements that translate into quicker meals later. Here are a few things we like to keep around:

Chicken stock
Fresh lemon juice
Pizza/pasta tomato sauce
Meaty chili
Fresh herbs

We are trying to get better at thinking ahead, even though we don't have freezer space for twelve lasagnas. We also want to be frugal in using up things in our cupboards. What about you?

More freezer tips
What's In Your Freezer?
Good Question: Best Freezer Containers?

(Image credit: Stephanie Kuykendal for The New York Times)

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