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Freezer cooking

post #1 of 97
Thread Starter 

Please share any ideas or goals you have for freezer stockpiling/cooking before our babies arrive!

 

My goals are to make about 50 bean and chicken burritos (DH and DD both love them and they're so easy to heat up), and 24 calzones. I also need some GF options for me. I can have some gluten but not very much. I have one pan of GF spaghetti pie in the freezer right now. I also want to make a southwest bean casserole and maybe hamburger pie. They both freeze well enough and make enough for 2 meals.

 

Also one of my friends offered to host a shower for me and I requested a frozen meal shower so we can have meals on hand and don't need to worry about when people are coming who have offered to bring us meals. I have no idea how well this will go over but it sounds good to me.

post #2 of 97
Last time, I froze a lot of soups. Butternut squash and apple, chicken and rice(really good with lemon, dill and egg!), white bean, etc. just a word of warning: don't eat a lot of beans while nursing a wee babe. My kiddo was up all night from gas when I over indulged on delicious bean soup about a month postpartum! Oops.

This time, I might see if I can do some casseroles or something else that i can put in individual servings. I'm not one for thawing a big batch of something. It's only three of us eating and kiddo will only be 2.
post #3 of 97

Burritos would be fabulous, can even eat those one-handed.  ;)  When I have more time, I have a recipe for cilantro lime chicken that you freeze and throw into a crock pot when you're ready.  I haven't made it yet, but several of my friends have and they rave about it.  You can make tacos one night, enchiladas the next, tortilla soup with the rest.

 

What do you all store your meals in?

post #4 of 97
Thread Starter 

I use gallon sized freezer bags as much as possible. I sometimes line a 9x13 glass pan with foil (freezer duty) and then freeze it and pop it out so I don't occupy all of my glass baking dishes in the freezer but I will have a few glass Pyrex dishes in the freezer at any given time.

 

I'm already having grocery store dreams about needing to buy certain ingredients so I can make things for the freezer. All the crazy dreams won't be missed after I deliver, that's for sure.

post #5 of 97

I've been so excited for a freezer thread! We're moving next week, so no official plans yet but we're getting a chest freezer and I am over the moon excited! I only made about 24 meals worth of freezer food before DS was born, which disappeared way too quickly!

 

I will be eyeing this thread for ideas! Hurray! biggrinbounce.gif

post #6 of 97

I know, I've been eyeing small chest freezers too, especially for this purpose and to buy larger quantities of meat from a farm...we'll see if both a freezer and a new washing machine is in the budget...plus we have a side-by-side fridge and the skinny freezer space PISSES ME OFF.  Every time I open the door, I grumble.

 

Thanks for the foil tip, that makes sense.  I guess I could troll Goodwill for extra Pyrex too, eh?

post #7 of 97
Thread Starter 

If you get a large freezer I recommend an upright one. It's not quite as economical but much easier to keep track of what you have in there and less likely to lose things at the bottom and end up throwing them away 2-3 yrs later freezer burned. Goodwill or garage sales might be good places to find Pyrex! Garage sale season should be starting soon. How fun!

post #8 of 97

We need to get a separate freezer, then we can do this.  We only have a bottom drawer freezer, which I guess is efficient, but we can hardly fit anything in there.  Maybe that's why it's efficient. winky.gif

post #9 of 97
I never did any freezer cooking with my first pregnancy, and it was ROUGH for the first month or so. Oh my, what was I thinking? Anyway, I am looking at all of your ideas for freezer meals and loving them. Just one question, though- how do you budget for freezer meals? We do a cash system for most of our purchases (similar to Dave Ramsey, I suppose), which includes a monthly allotment for groceries. Do I spend the money that's in my cash budget now on the freezer meals? Then we just have extra $ after the baby is born? How much would you say freezer meals cost to prepare? Any advice is welcome. Thanks! :-)
post #10 of 97
Thread Starter 

We do cash envelopes too and don't go over budget for freezer cooking. Do you have a stock pile already you can use some things you already have on hand? Otherwise just slowly build it. Our freezer stock pile and general stock pile varies based on sales and everything. Some months we really eat out of our stock pile and some months we have to buy more food. Our food budget has been really strained this year with my aversions and now wanting more protein and calcium we've been spending all of our money every month without even stock piling.

post #11 of 97
I love having taco meat in the freezer. I do half black beans and half ground beef with onions, corn and perhaps another veg or two. I freeze them in small freezer bags flat and can reheat it in a skillet in the 10 minutes it takes to pull everything else together

I have plans for black bean & corn enchiladas, baked tortillas, more baked ziti, more stock, pizza kits or ready to bake, meat pasta sauce, pesto this summer,
post #12 of 97

These are such great ideas......this is something I've been thinking lots about, especially since we're moving soon and I'm hoping to get an upright freezer.  A question though......I have a hard time coming up with ideas for meals to freeze that I'll want to eat in the middle of the hot summer.  Most of the ideas out there are for soups and casseroles.  What kinds of summery foods would freeze well?  I like the idea of taco meat, or burritos.  Also I plan to have lots of smoothie supplies on hand.  :)

post #13 of 97
Thread Starter 

I guess we still would eat a casserole for dinner during the summer but yeah burritos are good or cooking a big batch of meatballs and freezing them and you can put them in sweet/sour meat balls or even meatball sandwiches.

We're looking into buying a 1/4 beef. I hope it works out/we can find someone with beef available.

post #14 of 97
Thread Starter 

http://www.amazon.com/Freezer-Meals-Delicious-Make-Ahead-ebook/dp/B00B4HNWBW/ref=zg_bs_157325011_f_33

 

This freezer cooking ebook is free today. I just downloaded it. If you don't have a Kindle you can get the free Kindle Cloud Reader to read from your computer (that's what I do).

post #15 of 97

Thanks for the tip on the free book Edelweiss!  I just downloaded it.

 

I haven't started to put meals away yet.  But I usually make one or two big pots of something per week, like chili, soup, stew, beans, lentils, falafel...  Then after we eat it for dinner and again for lunch I will put the rest (or most of it) away in the freeze in small batches.  But we have been eating a lot of our freezer meals pretty quickly lately.  I think the only thing left in there is some chicken soup with rice. 

 

I don't know if it will feel different having an August babe, but after DS was born I craved really hearty foods.  I felt like I really needed to replenish more than I thought I would, from the birth and constant breastfeeding.  Anyone here have a summer baby already?  What did you want to eat in the weeks/months after birth? 

post #16 of 97
Thread Starter 

My daughter was born end of July and it was hot. I still ate a lot. Oh bacon-lettuce-tomato sandwiches are popular in the summer and don't heat the whole house, I remember having those, goodness I just remember so much crying and so little sleep and we had a ton of problems breastfeeding the first year so it was also a lot of pumping and nursing. Kind of a blur the whole first year. Burritos were good, though, and sandwiches. I ate cereal for lunch almost every day for  months I think. I remember spilling cow's milk on DD"s head while she was in the Moby and I was eating my cereal.

post #17 of 97
I had a September baby last time, which is still a super hot time in Texas, and I ate tons. I remember friends bringing chicken pot pie and similar and I loved the heartiness of it. DH was so tired, too, that he didn't care what he ate.

I love Pioneer Woman's chicken spaghetti and know it freezes well. Her recipe makes a ridiculously huge amount, so it'd do great for several meals.

I also make some soups that I make in huge batches- vegetable chowder (got the recipe from Pinterest) and a soup very similar to Olive Garden's pasta e fagiole- and will freeze that. I make my own bread, so I might make up 12 or so loaves in advance.

Love the idea for taco meat, Leigh. We are Texans and therefore can/want to eat tacos for almost every meal!

How much in advance do y'all start prepping meals? I hate any freezer taste, but does that have to do with packaging it right for the freezer? I just don't want anything in there too long.
post #18 of 97

packaging makes a huge difference.

Most recipes suggest three months, but I find I can get at least 6 easily.

 

I made bean & meat chili from the Weelicoious cookbook this weekend and it was good. Just the right balance. Huge pot so I now have a few meals of that in the freezer.

post #19 of 97

I love the BLT idea for quick easy, not house heating meal in summer.  I will use trukey bacon, since I don't eat the piggies.

 

With my first, I went to a place called Let's Dish.  You can make from between 6 to 12 meals meant to go in the freezer in a few hours..  They had a lot of good options for healthy eating - like brown instead of white rice.  It was very helpful to get th freezer stocked quickly.  You select and assemble the meals yourself so you can still control stuff like salt.  It was affordable 6/7 years ago but I have heard the prices have gone up.There are other companies that do this.

 

I may try to do something like that again.  I do really like the idea of making it myself in my own kitchen which is probably cheaper.  Plus, I don't know if I can be on my feet for 3 or 4 hours the way this pregnancy has been going.

 

I will definitely be keeping an eye on this post.

 

Oh, and I gave away my extra freezer right before I got unexpectedly pregnant!  We weren't using it!

 

Thanks for creating this one Edelweiss!  Great idea.

post #20 of 97
Yum. It's 9:50 pm here and now I am craving a BLT like crazy!
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