The Cheap Containers That Make My Instant Pot and Slow Cooker a Million Times Better
One of my essential attempts to maintain a semblance of sanity in the wonderfully chaotic rhythms of a household with five children is stocking my freezer with meals that are ready to eat. Because my husband and I both work from home (and we still have two little ones who eat lunch with us while the big kids are at school), whenever I cook I make a few extra servings. In addition, as often as I can, I double that amount. (If you’re doing the math, that means that every time I cook, I cook for at least 10 but sometimes 20.)
The beauty of doubling meals and freezing half is that it doesn’t require any extra planning and calls for just a bit more preparation time. Then, on soccer nights or Mom-can’t-cook nights, we can pull something out of the freezer, heat it up, and enjoy the benefits of a home-cooked meal without the cooking.
In the past, I would store my for-later meals in plastic zip-top bags. (This alien-looking tool makes transferring food into bags so much easier, by the way.) This was great for maximizing freezer space; I could stack or vertically file my meals for the future and I used every square inch I could.
But you know what zip-top bag storage isn’t great for? Defrosting and reheating. If you’ve ever tried to defrost a bag that insists on floating in the sink or had it open up on you and fill up with sink water (yuck!), you know what I mean. And trying to crack a frozen square or cram it into a pot is no easy task, either. Talk about fitting a melty, icy square into a hot, round hole!
That’s why, when I found out about these inexpensive, freezable, and perfectly sized storage containers, I stocked up. I’m hooked. They make freezer meal life so much easier.
Buy: Extreme Freeze Reditainer 64-Ounce Deli Food Containers, $34 for eight
The containers are so easy to empty. Rather than waiting for the contents of a bag to defrost enough to coax them out of the bag, all I have to do with the plastic storage containers is run them under water for a few seconds. The contents slide right out. Not only that, but the food is a perfect puck — just the right size and shape to fit in a slow cooker, Instant Pot, or regular ol’ pot for reheating. You get eight for that price of $34, which comes out to $4.25 each — and remember, you can use these again and again.
While I do sacrifice some freezer space because the containers are round, the difference these containers make in my make-ahead life is huge. And let me tell you, especially on those freezer meal nights, every eliminated frustration and every added efficiency is very well worth it.