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#1 of 37 Old 02-22-2005, 11:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay, First of all- Thank MDC for this wonderful new area Mindful Home Mngmt! Its helped me so much...

I have started to "feed my freezer" and I have seen wonderful results. We have cut down on take out, going out, groceries, and even our waistlines.

But I was telling my sil last week about this and she gave me even more tips. Such as lining a baking pan with foil before freezing, leaving some outside the pan as handles. Then once its fully frozen, just pull out the food and you can use your pan again. When its time to bake the food- put it right back in the pan you started with minus the foil and bake.

I then learned there is even more for me to learn to make this easier, fun, creative- whatever. So lets talk- do you feed your freezer? With what and how often? Hopefully we can come up with more tips for other trying to do this as well!
Bon appetit!

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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#2 of 37 Old 02-22-2005, 12:46 PM
 
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BC, I did 30 day gourmet with a friend every couple of months.

My favorite part of it was being able to have dh pop something in the oven. My friend and I bought lots of glass baking dishes at Goodwill. We froze meals in these, wrapped in heavy duty foil. On the outside we wrote what the meal was and how to cook it (350 degress, covered, for 40 minutes). This made it so easy for me to be able to call dh and say, "Grab this out of the fridge (where I'd defrosted it) and cook it please." I didn't have to go over how b/c it was written right on the foil. Seems simple, but before, it wasn't worth it to ask dh to cook something b/c in the time it took to tell him how to do it, I could have already done it!

Great thread, Amy1st!
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#3 of 37 Old 02-22-2005, 11:34 PM
 
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Amy, I actually thought of you feeding your freezer as I cooked supper tonight! I was making a pseudo-jambalaya and thought to myself, "Hey, why don't I just triple this and stash the leftovers in the freezer!" Don't get me wrong, I'm ALL ABOUT freezer cooking, but I always cooked things just for the purpose of freezing. I'm new to this whole "triple what you're making for supper" stuff.

Any way, when I was 8 months pg (gosh, almost a year ago...), my mom and I spent an entire weekend filling my two chest freezers w/ frozen meals. There are only a few scattered things left from that weekend. I've since added things here and there as I had time, but my DD is very clingy and I have a hard time getting stuff done, so I've just spent a lot of time thinking, "When DD is older, then I can stock the freezer again." But, I'm going to try harder!

I've thought about doing that foil thing you described, but so far, I've just used Gladware casserole dishes and cheap aluminum dishes. Leomom, do you write directly on the foil? I've been sticking a duct tape label on my foil and writing the instructions on that, but then I have to peel off the tape before baking the item.

Here are some of the things I've successfully frozen:
For meat dishes, I usually cook them 1/2 way done, freeze, thaw, and reheat in the microwave.
--meatloaf
--pot roast
--salisbury steak
--grilled chicken breasts
I've found that if you cook pasta and long-grain rice only 1/2 way, they don't get mushy upon thawing. Barilla pasta is especially good.
--chicken alfredo
--spaghetti w/ meatballs (Actually, the pasta was chewy upon thawing, so I used it to make spaghetti casserole. Yum!)
--chicken lo mein
--rice and chicken casserole
Lasagna can be assembled, frozen, thawed, and then cooked.
--For a super easy version, use frozen raviolis instead of the lasagna!
Enchilada casserole--assemble enchiladas, line up in pan, top w/ sauce, cheese, and green onions. Freeze, thaw, and then bake.
Sausage gravy from a mix
Turkey and stuffing casserole
Cold pies in graham cracker crusts using Cool Whip : and cream cheese as a base:
--lemonade pie
--chocolate sundae pie
Some things that can be cooked frozen in the microwave, so you don't even have to bother thawing:
--French toast
--Pancakes
--Breakfast burritos
--Twice-baked potatoes
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#4 of 37 Old 02-22-2005, 11:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Jen- thanks for thinking of me! As I have said before, this time with babe will be over sooner than later so hang in there!
I love doing lasagnas and sticking them in the freezer.

The idea of putting instructions right on the package never occured to me.

Has anyone had success freezing rice? Or potatoes. Both of these always come out tasting mushy for me.

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#5 of 37 Old 02-22-2005, 11:51 PM
 
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Great thread! I have been planning to start feeding my freezer. I was planning to freeze rice and Jennisee thanks for the tip to cook it halfway. I'm also going to try the lasagna made with frozen ravioli. Well so far I am just taking your good ideas but I'll write back soon with what ends up in my freezer this week.
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#6 of 37 Old 02-23-2005, 01:06 AM
 
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Yes, Jennissee, I write it on the foil with a sharpie.
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#7 of 37 Old 02-24-2005, 01:16 PM
 
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okay it's a small start but I froze half a batch of cranberry apple oat muffins. Today I am going to try to put some half cooked rice in and I hope to get an actual dinner in there too...we'll see. I also have mil coming to visit this weekend so I've got to squeeze in house cleaning sometime soon. Hope you are all getting your freezers well fed.
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#8 of 37 Old 02-24-2005, 03:09 PM
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I have been freezing since january in anticipation of returning to work in april. I am mostly just freezing single portions so I can take them for lunch. Anything I make for lunchor supper I just make lots and freeze in single serving plastic containers. I always mark what it is and the date (month only) on the containers so I know if it is getting old. As well, I mark if there is anything special about the dish - eg. made with rice noodles (I am intollerant to wheat), needs protien (I like to add leftover sliced porkchop to vegtable soups), needs vegies, etc.

Lately I have made some yummy beef stroganoff and puree squash soup.

The only problem is when I make a big batch of something and it doesn't turn out very good. I don't want to freeze it because I know I won't want to eat it later but I don't want to eat it now either. I can't throw it out because I used so many groceries to make it. So it usually sits in my frige until it goes bad and then I HAVE to throw it out.

happy freezing.
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#9 of 37 Old 02-24-2005, 03:36 PM
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potatos- I haven't had much luck freezing them, except for mashed in shepherd's pie. shep pie is a great freezer food, by the way.

rice- I have had lots of luck freezing brown rice. Just put it in a bag and freeze.

Jenisse- I wonder if you could post some of your recipes-
--chicken lo mein
--rice and chicken casserole
Enchilada casserole-

thanks.
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#10 of 37 Old 02-24-2005, 04:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by g&a
potatos- I rice- I have had lots of luck freezing brown rice. Just put it in a bag and freeze.

thanks.
gisele
Is this rice cooked?

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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#11 of 37 Old 02-25-2005, 01:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amys1st
Is this rice cooked?

yep. cooked. I don't do anything special, just freeze the leftovers as is.

Someone else said theirs turned out mushy?? I've never had that problem.

gisele

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#12 of 37 Old 02-25-2005, 06:37 AM
 
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I found this recipe site and supposedly everything is good for freezing

www.realfood4realpeople.com

You have to join the Yahoo group to get the recipes...They look awfully yummy.
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#13 of 37 Old 02-25-2005, 07:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Today I made baked mannicotti for dinner. The one tonight is veggie (not vegan) since its lent. But I made one with sausage in it to freeze. Then I found out that my sil is very ill so I will now bring that to her to feed her family. I know my brother would love it too. But that worked out nice since I was already making it.

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#14 of 37 Old 02-26-2005, 12:50 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by g&a
Jenisse- I wonder if you could post some of your recipes-
--chicken lo mein
--rice and chicken casserole
Enchilada casserole-
I'll have to dig out the chicken lo mein recipe this weekend, since I'm naking right now.

The rice and chicken casserole is super easy. I just mix together a big pot of rice (a gallon maybe?), 2 cans of condensed cream of mushroom soup, and several cups of cooked chicken. (My DH likes it w/ canned chicken, but I prefer grilled chicken. When I was a kid, my parents made it w/ canned tuna.) I freeze it in Ziplocs, thaw it in the fridge, and reheat it in the microwave as if it was leftovers. You could easily add other ingredients like frozen veggies.

I also don't have a specific recipe for the enchilada casserole. I just made enchiladas by layering refried beans, rice, ground beef w/ taco seasonings, taco sauce, cheese, and green onions on large tortillas. I spread some taco sauce on the bottom of a casserole dish (either Gladware or cheap foil pans), rolled up the enchiladas and lined them up in the dish. Then I spread some more taco sauce, ground beef, cheese, and green onions in a line down the middle of the pan (perpendicular to the enchiladas). I either put the lid on the Gladware container or wrapped the foil pan in heavy duty aluminum foil, and then froze. I thawed in the refridgerator and reheated in the oven. I don't remember for sure, but maybe 350 degrees for an hour?

Regarding potatoes, I know that many people complain that they get brown and watery upon thawing. HOWEVER, I have great luck freezing twice-baked potatoes and then reheating them--while still frozen--in the microwave. That way, they never actually "thaw." I'll try to dig out the recipe this weekend as well, b/c it tastes just like the loaded baked potatoes you get at steakhouses. I also have heard of people freezing mounds of mashed potatoes and then cooking them still frozen in the microwave. I guess the key is to not let them actually thaw?
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#15 of 37 Old 02-26-2005, 05:42 PM
 
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I have had good luck doing chicken enchiladas for the freezer. I saute a ton on onion and green peppers. I boil a bunch of chicken, usually I get parts on sale with the bone cheap, and then debone and shred. I put the chicken, veggies, and some cheese into a tortilla, wrap it up and line them all up in a pan. Then I pour some enchilada sauce over them and freeze. I usually make a couple big pans at a time and then several single servings for lunches. The singles I put 2 or 3 enchiladas in a plastic container and freeze seperately. Then my dh just pulls it out of the freezer the night before and microwaves it for lunch.
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#16 of 37 Old 02-27-2005, 07:30 PM
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I think the key to potatos also is to freeze when mashed.

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#17 of 37 Old 03-01-2005, 04:30 PM
 
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This is a great thread!! I've been freezing for 5yrs. I started with "once a month cooking" but my back can't handle that much time in the kitchen on my feet. So now I batch cook alot, in fact if it'll freeze well I make it in bulk lol. Of course I double most recipes just to feed us once...

My favorite batch meal is crockpot sauce... it's super simple... in the am I put 4 frozen chicken breasts in the bottom of my 5qt crockpot with a can of chicken broth in the bottom. I usually add garlic, but that's because I cook everything with garlic. Then dump a bottle of non-dairy type salad dressing over it all... Wishbone has a ton of vinagrette's that are delicious. Let cook all day on low. Around 5ish (we eat at 7) I'll start shredding the chicken, just pull it with two forks. Then add three cans of cream of chicken soup stir well and let cook on low for another hour or so.. I usually put it over rice or noodles though sometimes bisquits. I usually get three or four meals out of this. When you reheat it you may need to add a little milk for consitancy.
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#18 of 37 Old 03-01-2005, 05:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thmom
This is a great thread!! I've been freezing for 5yrs. I started with "once a month cooking" but my back can't handle that much time in the kitchen on my feet. So now I batch cook alot, in fact if it'll freeze well I make it in bulk lol. Of course I double most recipes just to feed us once...

My favorite batch meal is crockpot sauce... it's super simple... in the am I put 4 frozen chicken breasts in the bottom of my 5qt crockpot with a can of chicken broth in the bottom. I usually add garlic, but that's because I cook everything with garlic. Then dump a bottle of non-dairy type salad dressing over it all... Wishbone has a ton of vinagrette's that are delicious. Let cook all day on low. Around 5ish (we eat at 7) I'll start shredding the chicken, just pull it with two forks. Then add three cans of cream of chicken soup stir well and let cook on low for another hour or so.. I usually put it over rice or noodles though sometimes bisquits. I usually get three or four meals out of this. When you reheat it you may need to add a little milk for consitancy.
Glad you like it!
This sounds like a good idea. I normally shy away from canned and bottle recipes but it will work with the pantry challenge and be yummy too.

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#19 of 37 Old 03-03-2005, 01:53 AM
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Well, I have become a freezing maniac...I am due in May and have been freezing for when the baby comes so hopefully hubby and I will have it easy (foodwise anyway lol) for a couple of weeks after she is born!

I have frozen: soups, casseroles, pasta w/sauce, vegetarian pot pies etc...lasagne-- a note on the lasagne...someone mentioned lining the pan with foil, then freezing it after assembled and popping it out of the pan to be able to use the pan etc...well, I take it further, I freeze the the whole lasagne in a foil lined pan, then when it is frozen I pop it out, cut it into one person portions and wrap in individual foil, then double freezer bag and label---that way if one of us wants some, we can just pop it out and into the oven, one at a time, or a few at once for lunch/dinner---that way you aren't constantly heating and re-heating...

Other things I have made so far are: pancakes to freeze for quick breakfasts, quick breads like banana bread and "healthy" cookies like oatmeal raisin and peanut butter--made with whole wheat flour and flax seed added etc so they can be a somewhat healthy snack...

Since I am doing it so far ahead of time, I usually put whatever it is in its container, then put it in a big old freezer bag too, to further protect it from any kind of freezer burn etc...

I hardly ever cook just to freeze, I usually just double batch...like today I made another lasagne and just made 2 at once in 2 different pans and froze one....

Sometimes it's a pain because I am getting bigger and bigger with my pregnancy so things are getting harder to do, but when I look in my freezer which is getting packed (we only have the freezer area of our fridge, not a separate one ) I get all happy knowing I won't have to lift a finger when she is born (for food anyway lol)
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#20 of 37 Old 03-03-2005, 11:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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veggie baby- you got me there by dividing it into invidual portions!

You sound like your nesting! Good for you! I'm thinking since you come here, you will be Bfeeding. You are very smart to plan ahead and have healthy foods on hand that you will also pass onto your baby. When the babe comes, lift only fingers to love your baby- the rest of you household will be there later.

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#21 of 37 Old 03-03-2005, 01:06 PM
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I think I am nesting! Also though, I am a "planner"--well, most of the time...so I want to make it as easy on myself and hubby as possible for when she comes...I am planning on bf'ing so it is better for us than ordering pizza oe whatever because we are too lazy/tired/busy to cook!

It really is a shame I don't have a stand alone freezer thingie, at the rate I am going I would have meals for months lol...oh well though, I am thankful for what we do have though!
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#22 of 37 Old 03-17-2005, 10:00 PM
 
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What does everyone store their soups and sauces in? I only have plastic take-out containers. I am not thrilled about the plastic, but don't knwo what else there is. I need to get moving on filling the freezer as I am alos due in May like veggie!

Also, any good freezer recipes/cookbooks that don't have milk products in them?

Thanks!
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#23 of 37 Old 03-17-2005, 10:52 PM
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I freeze in plastic containers, I just make sure I transfer before microwaving as mic'ing plastic is a baaaaad idea. (If at home I reheat in a pot, but the only option at work is a microwave, or cold) Someone - I can't remember if it was this thread or not - said they bought a whole bunch of glass dishes at the second hand store and then froze in those. Sounded like a good idea to me.

Congrats on the baby in May! My freezing strategy is to make bigger batches of whatever I am making anyway and freezing the leftovers (mostly soups, stews, so all non-dairy). It is not really very much extra work at all, and I know I will appreciate it later.

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#24 of 37 Old 03-18-2005, 10:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have read a book by Debra Taylor-hugh- How to cook for a day and eat for a month. ITs allright but it dosen't tell you anything different than from what mamas here can tell you for free.
What kind of dairy products are a concern? Just milk or eggs as well?

Check out Organizedhome.com for some articles on feeding your freezer as well.

For small parts of sauces, stocks etc- use a small container to freezer. Then the next day pop out the frozen item and put in a zip bag and label. Its less space in your freezer and you get your container back.

The only concern w using the take out containers or the container left from your yogurt or sour cream etc- It was not made to be frozen or reheated and you can be letting off unwelcome chemicals into your breathing air and food.
The same goes for leftover bottled water.

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#25 of 37 Old 03-18-2005, 11:57 AM
 
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Some leftover containers are meant to be reused. If it has a 1 on the bottom, it shouldn't be reused. But if it has a 2, 4, or 5 it can be safely reused. Water bottles are usually 1s, and definitely not meant to be reused.
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#26 of 37 Old 03-27-2005, 01:45 AM
 
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Glad i found this thred and this form!!! YIPPY i need to get back into freezer cooking i did it all through my pregnacy and stocked like crazy before allison was born but haven't since and really need to start saving some $$$ so i need some insperantion to get back in the swing of things!!!
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#27 of 37 Old 03-27-2005, 09:59 PM
 
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Really quick, I usually freeze leftover soups and sauces in glass spaghetti sauce jars. I pour it to the top with about 1 inch of air space, feeze it and, AFTER it freezes through, I put the lid on it and stick it in the deep freezer. Any leftovers I'm sending with dh to work I put in empty peanut butter jars, which is a good portion size for him, at least as far as soup is concerned! He just packs along a glass bowl and a spoon.
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#28 of 37 Old 04-12-2005, 06:04 PM
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What a great thread! but ack, I need help getting started. I don't know why--I just can't seem to get going with this and I am due with a baby girl on May 25th! How soon should I start freezing? I don't want stuff to get eaten up too soon, or worse yet get stale or freezer-burnt. Can anyone suggest some specific ideas that work well?

I think I am going to go to the hardware store this week and get a bunch of foil pans...
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#29 of 37 Old 04-12-2005, 06:42 PM
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Rainbow-
I would start right away, just making extra big batches of whatever you are cooking and freezing portions. 6 weeks is not too long at all for something ot sit in the freezer. I would start with beef stew (without potatos) as it is hearty and easy to make lots of. That's what we lived on after ailsa was born, but not because we had any time to pre-freeze - she was 3 weeks early, born the day after my mat leave started.

good luck with the new baby and preparations.

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#30 of 37 Old 04-12-2005, 08:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Congrats on the baby! My DD was born on 5-24 so I love May babies!

Start by making meals that freezer well. Double or triple batch and stick them in the freezer. Once you do it twice or so, you will get the hand of it.

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