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Freezer cooking - Page 2

post #21 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by ESPMadre View Post

 

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.

 

What a good idea! I've heard of this, and I know some women do this for showers, but it makes sense to do it yourself too! I'm going to have to check it out.

 

 

For everyone who uses freezer bags, how do you prevent freezer burn? When we were moving I noticed that most of the things I had in ziplock bags were freezer burned, despite being only a few months old.

post #22 of 97

I plan to start working on this next month - I don't like my freezer stash to get too old, plus I'm expecting this to take me 2-3 months PP.  I like to make a minimum of 30 meals, figuring on using the freezer meals every other dayish to spread the joy.  If I'm doing really well, I'll have more.

 

Generally, I stock the freezer by doubling and tripling meals I'm regularly making.  I recommend keeping a log of what you're putting in there and dating things so you know how old they are.

 

Things I freeze:

In gallon freezer bags - spaghetti sauce, chili, "sausage sauce piquante", or any other saucy prepared meal, marinating london broils, raw pre-seasoned hamburgers, also prepped partially cooked rolls, precooked waffles/pancakes/french toast (to pop in the toaster), prepped cinnamon rolls ready for their last rise

In quart freezer bags - 1 lb chunked meat for stir fry, marinating chicken (2 breasts at a time), pork (2 at a time), ground beef (when I bought it in bulk), pulled pork...

 

In aluminum  "cake pans" (these end up being half the size of a regular casserole, which works well for our family) - lasagna, "sour noodle bake", "pizza casserole", or any other casseroles

 

I also plan to make extra bread for my freezer - I make my own most times and would prefer to just have a stock to fall back on rather than buying it...

 

Since this is a summer baby, I'll be leaning more on the side of marinated meats and stuff for the grill.  But I'll still prep some of the casseroles/saucy things....  We don't do soups here, so there won't be any of that.

 

I'll also stock up on the stuff for the pantry to support these meals - lots of spaghetti noodles (for spaghetti and also for "pasta hot hot hot" and "broccoli pasta" - some of my favorite sides), taco shells, cans of olives, cereal/oatmeal (this is one time I break my "fresh breakfast rule"), snacks, etc....

 

And I'll make up a few large batches of (not quite so good for you) trail mix.  I bring a big batch to the hospital and then have more for the weeks following the birth at home - I find I CRAVE it while nursing late into the night - it makes it almost, almost feel like spoiling myself. ;)

Oh as for freezer burn, I've never had that issue, but I do make very sure that I squeeze out all the excess air before sealing the bags...

post #23 of 97
Calladona, will you share your recipe for trail mix? Always looking for an indulgent snacky snack!
post #24 of 97

Thanks, Calladona! I don't believe I've ever made an effort to squeeze out air before sealing bags... I wondered how on earth I was managing to ruin so much food and couldn't bear to blame ziploc.

post #25 of 97

What a great thread!! I do freezer cooking every so often with a friend and we double the recipes and send them home with each other.....Definitely will need to stock up for after the baby! Anyone have any great kid-friendly vegetarian freezer meals they would recommend??

post #26 of 97
Thread Starter 

Great ideas! Craving cinnamon rolls now....

post #27 of 97
Thread Starter 

mipmama - you can freeze mac and cheese. I'll try to think of others.

post #28 of 97

Oooo - thats right!! I made a freezer pumpkin mac and cheese in the fall that was soooo good!!!! Thanks for the reminder!

post #29 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamapigeon View Post

Thanks, Calladona! I don't believe I've ever made an effort to squeeze out air before sealing bags... I wondered how on earth I was managing to ruin so much food and couldn't bear to blame ziploc.

Mamapigeon, are you also using actual freezer bags as opposed to just plain ziploc bags? I didn't think this would make as big of a difference as it does...I freezer burned a ton of stuff before I shelled out for the freezer bags.

 

I'm also doubling a lot of our regular meals, especially soup/stew type things, and freezing half. I have a black bean/quinoa soup, gumbo, some pumpkin muffins, and mini frittatas already stashed (due mid-July). 

 

Pumpkin mac and "cheese" (no dairy here) sounds SUPER delicious!

post #30 of 97

Zeeohee, I had to run and check the baggies- yes, they're freezer ziplocs. I think Calladona might be right and it's the air left behind.

 

Planning on doubling up meals here soon, too. I especially like to do that for more time consuming dishes like veggie lasagna or enchiladas, though I just bought a food processor, so maybe cutting veggies will take less time?

post #31 of 97
Thread Starter 

Oh speaking of chopped veggies, I always have a stash of chopped bell peppers and onions in my freezer for easy cooking. Also I try to keep cubed, cooked chicken on hand.

post #32 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamapigeon View Post

Thanks, Calladona! I don't believe I've ever made an effort to squeeze out air before sealing bags... 

This is a silly tip and may have been said, but I zip my bag most of the way, then use a small straw to suck out the air.  It made a big difference with the blueberries and strawberries we picked last year.

post #33 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by harmie0515 View Post

This is a silly tip and may have been said, but I zip my bag most of the way, then use a small straw to suck out the air.  It made a big difference with the blueberries and strawberries we picked last year.

I started doing that last year too, it worked really well!

post #34 of 97
Thread Starter 

I just made 45 bean and chicken burritos for the freezer plus a bag of filling for more burritos later. The only thing I really want to add now is some muffins. I have a big container of dry mix for GF waffles in my fridge I made earlier this week so I just add eggs, oil and milk to that. Trying to prepare for the extra-tired 3rd tri coming up.

post #35 of 97
No actual cooking yet, but here are my plans:

- buy, portion, freeze: tofu, bacon flavoured tempeh, Chorizo seitan
- veggie lasagne (DH makes mean one w lentils instead of meat sauce and bechamel on top)
- muffins (I'm thinking peanut butter chocolate, banana bran, corn, and this savory one w feta, olives quinoa)
- buy chorizo tamales from Mexican grocery 1 block away. DH is much closer to strict vegetarian than I am, where as I am vegetarian inbetween meals that have meat.
- tons of TJ ravioli
- maybe some mini calzones. I have a nice white bean calzone recipe somewhere
- tons of cubed fresh basil pesto (eek, I'm turning into my mother!)
- maybe some lentil meatballs, but they made me rly nauseous in 1st trimester.

We have crappy fridge freezer combo, so I don't want to freeze too much to early.
post #36 of 97
Cardigan and Edelweiss, do y'all plan to make the muffins complete and freeze them or just prepare the dry ingredients? Do muffins freeze well? That sounds so good! I am going to organize a bunch of recipes and decide what I'd like to make. My last day of work is June 29, so I am hoping I can spend July making a lot of meals...if I'm not too tired by then already.
post #37 of 97
haha, I actually, have no idea how they freeze. I spend a lot of time on chowhound and will get pointers from there. I am not a big freezer cook, I use it to hold ice cream, frozen berries, peas, edamame and ravioli. And parmesan rinds for rissotto. We get 2 loaves of phenomenal bread a week, and DH freezes the quinoa loaf and defrosts it later in the week. I hope that I'll figure out a way to not go overboard, and therefore bored of what is frozen, and only make n freeze things that hold up well.
post #38 of 97

I actually don't have a "recipe" for my trail mix, but it's my "splurge" so I use real M&Ms (never buy them otherwise), salted peanuts, sunflower seeds and golden raisins.  Lots of all of those and mix until I get the proportions how I like them. :p  For me, I want just enough sweet to tickle my tongue, but plenty of salty/protein to give me that energy I need.

 

Oh I also like granola - I'll probably make up some too - the kind I make ends up being pricey so I dunno how much I'll make...  Proportions on that are roughly:

 

4 cups oats
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 cup coconut
 
I haven't made it in a while because of how pricey it is, but I think I made it just like here: http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/easy-homemade-granola
post #39 of 97
Thread Starter 

Muffins and any quick bread freeze great! They usually come out tasting better than they did fresh, for whatever reason. I will bake them completely and then freeze. I have never gotten into freezing batters.

post #40 of 97

I agree, pretty much any "bready" product freezes well - muffins, quick breads, yeast breads, cupcakes...  The only thing I haven't had great success with is freezing something that needs a final rise/bake like cinnamon buns (they don't seem to rise ever).  I have been able to slightly undercook stuff like rolls and then pull them out for a final 5 minute warm/bake...  Never got around to trying it with cinnamon rolls...

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