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#241 of 699 Old 07-09-2007, 02:55 AM
 
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I'm subscribing!! Thanks to all! : )
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#242 of 699 Old 07-10-2007, 10:31 AM
 
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Ok, I'm a freezer-feeding (and meal planning) n00b.

I've gotten myself to start planning meals, and have put together some interesting things in Excel to help me (list of all Breakfasts, lunches, dinners, veggies, desserts my family eats, for example, so that when its time to create the plan I'm not sitting there going "uhhh...tacos?" for 5 days straight).

We have a chest freezer, and since both DW and I WOH, being able to pop something into the oven would be a life saver on weekdays.

But I'm not sure what can be frozen completely cooked, and what has to be frozen 'ready to be cooked'.

I think I'm reading that meatballs and meatloaf should be prepared to be cooked, (i.e. mixed w/bread crumbs and seasoning, but not yet cooked) and frozen.

What about Lasagna? Or American chop suey? What about breaded chicken pieces? Should I just freeze the plain chicken pieces and bread and cook after thawing? Hamburger helper? Tuna helper? I guess I just don't know what can be a completely done meal that only needs reheating, and what can be "almost done". Help?!?
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#243 of 699 Old 07-10-2007, 12:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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could you share a blank templete of the spread sheet? I would be interested.

Normally I have a printed out calendar (MIL has done this for years and years) and write out menus for dinner and keep on the fridge. Also include info like dinner out, appts, events etc on it. It also shows us how often we have eaten a specific thing. I also put a red dot on freezer take out nights.

As far as freezing, Since I SAH, I freeze meatballs in ready to cook form. I make them up and then put a wax paper covered cookie sheet and freeze. Then store them in a huge bag. Freeze individual first so they dont clump together. Then I take out the amount I need before dinner, fry them up, clean off the grease and pour a jar of my hommade sauce in there and put the meatballs back in and cover on low until serving. I have also frozen cooked meatballs in sauce and just defrost, heat and serve w pasta.

LAsagna, baked rigatoni etc I make up and then freeze. After defrosting, I cook in the oven.

The worst things I find freezing- potatoes and rice. If I make beef stew, I dont add potoatoes to the freezer portion and then when reheating, I add the potoates to cook then.

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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#244 of 699 Old 07-10-2007, 01:55 PM
 
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Thanks for the info!

I can share the spreadsheet, but for the "List O Meals" its just one page for breakfasts, lunches, dinners, veggies and fruit, and desserts. I have it broken down (for lunches and dinners) into chicken, beef, pork/sausage/bacon, fish/seafood, and meatless. I am also starting to list the major ingredients in the column next to the name of the dish, so that when I make my meal plan and grocery list, I can quickly look at the meal description to see what I'll need.

The meal plan sheet is simply days along the left, and then breakfast, lunch, lunch for me to bring to work, dinner, and dessert along the top. Its set up for two weeks. And if I know there's a lunch function at work or going to a friend's for dinner, I just type that in in grey text so I can automatically skim over it.

I have a white board/calendar thingie in the kitchen, and every morning I write the menu for that day on the white board so everyone can see what the meals are for that day. The kids seemed to REALLY enjoy "Ooh! Let's see what's on the menu for today!" every day. Even if it was something they didn't particularly care for, they really liked the idea of knowing what was coming.

I'm so excited about all this, its really quite dorky :P

Now how exactly would I post the spreadsheet, though?


ETA: On the List O Meals, I also have a slot for "Recipe Link". I'm just starting to get out of the rut of the same 6 meals over and over, so I'm finding new recipes all over the place, and this let's me print it out for that day and get grocery lists together, too.
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#245 of 699 Old 07-10-2007, 02:04 PM
 
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You can use Google documents, just import it into Google documents and then you can post a link to it.
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#246 of 699 Old 07-10-2007, 02:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Maybe to get out of a rut, Lets all list 5 meals we like to feed the freezer with and if someone wants the recipe, you can post it??

I do:
italian and swedish meatballs
chicken or beef strogenoff
chicken and dumplings
lasagna
eggplant and chicken parmgna
shish kabob meat
pulled pork for samdwhiches
sloppy joe meat

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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#247 of 699 Old 07-10-2007, 03:59 PM
 
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Ok, I'm gonna try to post my documents. However, it appears to me that you can only see them if you have a google documents account?? :

List O'Meals:

(left my meals in there, in case anyone sees anything they like and would like one of the recipes, otherwise feel free to delete and fill in your own)

List O' Meals

and here's the Meal Plan Template. Pretty basic:

Meal Plan Template

If they're useful to anyone, great! If anyone likes the sound of some of the meals in there that don't have recipes, let me know!

Sorry if this has been a threadjack, but I'm also going through my list and am going to mark which meals are freezer friendly, and add a column to the meal plan on Saturdays or Sundays to indicate that I'm making extra "freezer food" on those days.

I'm learning so much from all of you .
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#248 of 699 Old 07-10-2007, 10:35 PM
 
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Girlie, I love seeing all your ideas! I have to ask though... eggs with potato chips??? Never heard that one! LOL

Also do you have any sample meal plans like this? I'd just like to see how you put it all together and see some completed, that helps me a lot!

Mama to (DS 7) and (DD 5), wife to DH

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#249 of 699 Old 07-10-2007, 10:49 PM
 
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wife- Yes! Ruffles potato chips, in a bit of butter in the pan. Let that sit for a few minutes, the pour your scrambled eggs on top, sramble, and top with a bit of ketchup! Not the healthiest thing in the world, but dang yummy (it might be a Louisiana thing lol). If you think about it, not much different that eggs with hash browns.

Here's a completed (and colorful!) meal plan I had made up in June. Keep in mind that for breakfast and lunch it was my two little girls and my 16 year old sister at home, so things had to stay simple for lunches.

Mid June meal plan example

Hope that helps!

Now to continue obsessively organizing my spreadsheets to accomodate freezer cooking...
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#250 of 699 Old 07-10-2007, 10:55 PM
 
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Thank you I'm off to take a look at your meal plan. Please share your spreadsheets on the freezer cooking, I'm lost at how to organize that and I need to do that since I'm expecting and will have no help at home when the baby comes!

Mama to (DS 7) and (DD 5), wife to DH

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#251 of 699 Old 07-16-2007, 10:41 PM
 
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So could you all let me know your best methods for freezing? I have tried so many different things (ziplocs, pyrex, foil, etc) and almost all of it comes out with ice crystals or freezer burn even after not being in there long. I just want the BEST method without having to invest too much. I'm not sure what I am doing wrong. I am about to start a huge freezer stash for preparation of the baby coming so I don't want it to ruin. It will be in there a couple of months I guess (deep freeze).

Mama to (DS 7) and (DD 5), wife to DH

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#252 of 699 Old 07-17-2007, 01:35 PM
 
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I feed the freezer..
soups (chicken and green lima are my favs)
pasta bakes (lazy lasagna type dishes)
enchilada casseroles (got the recipe on this thread)
meatballs
chili
lasagna


always looking for more ideas.
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#253 of 699 Old 07-17-2007, 02:06 PM
 
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[Cross-posting from the August 2007 due date club, where we just had a thread about freezing food in preparation for post-partum eating:]


I have to share that I just found the best most amazing cookbook for frozen meals. It's called Frost Bite by Susan Austin and was actually published in Australia, but you can get it from Amazon.com. What I love about it is that unlike all the other frozen meal cookbooks I've seen, the recipes all generally call for whole natural foods, rather than, e.g., prepared and processed ingredients like canned cream-of-whatever soups or Velveeta cheese. The recipes look fantastic too, and some are quite sophisticated (like there is one for a wonderful-sounding risotto!) Also, it has more fish/seafood/vegetarian recipes than other books I've come across, and less ground beef (which I have trouble trusting because it's the most vulnerable from a food safety standpoint).

This book has actually gotten me really excited about making and freezing some meals for postpartum!

[Update: I posted a review of the book on Amazon, too with a little more detail ...]
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#254 of 699 Old 08-08-2007, 05:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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bumping since once this heatwave craze is over, I need to feed my freezer BIG time!

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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#255 of 699 Old 08-09-2007, 04:19 AM
 
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subbing . . . what a great thread!!

wife&mommy: we have used foodsavers for years. Love them. I know there are other brands of vaccuum packers out there. Not sure how they are. I checked and foodsaver.com has some sales going on w/ some older models. Not sure if they are in your budget (but if you're interested look around -when a new model comes out, you can sometimes get the older ones cheap). Bags are fairly inexpensive at Sam's Club - you can get a large box of different sizes for about $40 or about $10 a roll at most stores. They are reusable - and I have reused them. We like the ones that you cut to size, as opposed to the precut bags. That's the best that we've found for keeping things in our freezers for meat, etc. For broths, soups and foods w/ sauces, we first freeze in a container overnight and then vaccuum pack.

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#256 of 699 Old 08-10-2007, 01:30 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Amys1st View Post
bumping since once this heatwave craze is over, I need to feed my freezer BIG time!
I am with you on that! I learned my lesson the other day-made a big batch of muffins and then the A/C went out in the middle of baking! It made for a long, hot day until the repairman could show up!

Until the heat wave is over, I plan on throwing a couple pounds of ground beef in the crock pot and let it cook all day, stirring once in awhile. Then, I'll divide up into one or two pound portions and freeze. As for chicken, we'll thaw a bunch, do a major grill session, and cut up/freeze in one or two pound bags. With these two things prepared and on hand, it makes throwing together a meal easy!

A supportive military wife and mama to my busy boy and sweet girl.
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#257 of 699 Old 08-10-2007, 01:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am with you! I made in the slow cooker a huge vat of chili (had 5 lbs of meat in it) and we froze half of it. Hopefully next week I can use the oven.

I also make up cookie dough and shape them into cookies and freeze.

Yesterday made up about 30 swedish meatballs. Cook about 15 and froze the rest. So when ready, I can take them out of the freezer and cook them up.

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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#258 of 699 Old 08-19-2007, 01:08 PM
 
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Can I chop and freeze squash and eggplant? I've got to get my butt in gear and FEED MY FREEZER.
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#259 of 699 Old 08-20-2007, 02:58 AM
 
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I'm feeding the freezer in preparation for me going back to school. I'm doing a few batches of some OMAC recipes: Cream cheese chicken, chicken tetrazini, king ranch chicken, and easy pepper steak

Not exactly the healthiest things in the world, but they'll work in a pinch. Plus, SIL just brought us back several pounds of green chilis that she helped harvest and roast while in NM. I got chicken on sale at a good price this week. maybe next week beef will go on sale. I just hope no hurricane hits. I'd hate to lose power and end up with a ton of spoiled food
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#260 of 699 Old 08-21-2007, 12:30 PM
 
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texaspeach~thanks for those links!!! We are in such a chicken rut, and its been on sale for 1.99/lb for boneless.

MeganW~ eggplant will freeze good. My aunt makes up eggplant parm with the sauce/cheese and freezes it. I don't know about uncooked though. Is it zucchini squash? Grate it and freeze, it will be watery when thawed but the extra moisture should be fine in recipes.
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#261 of 699 Old 08-22-2007, 09:51 PM
 
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has anyone read/used don't panic dinners in the freezer?
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#262 of 699 Old 09-03-2007, 01:27 PM
 
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love the don't panic book, going to get frostbite today. what are you ladies feeding your freezers these days.

i did chicken stuffed with pesto butter
cheesy chicken bundles
chicken teriyaki
steak teriyaki
meatballs in the last week. I'm hoping to get a couple more things in today. corn peaches and limas at least.
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#263 of 699 Old 09-28-2007, 06:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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bumping my eons old thread I also read cook for a day, eat for a month. Not turning cartwheels over that one but I got the idea! I never did read the panic book.
This week I fed the freezer
Chicken strogenoff. I am also going to add- meatballs.

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#264 of 699 Old 09-28-2007, 10:53 PM
 
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Haven't read the Don't Panic book, but have been reading up on OAMC. (Once A Month Cooking)

This week I fed the freezer;
White Chicken Chili
Chicken n Dumplings (Thanks for the recipe Amy!)
Taco Meat - Ground Beef
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#265 of 699 Old 09-29-2007, 05:06 PM
 
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Anguschick~ can u share the white chicken chili recipe? My kids love my chili, but I am sooo bored of food.
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#266 of 699 Old 09-29-2007, 11:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anguschick1 View Post
Haven't read the Don't Panic book, but have been reading up on OAMC. (Once A Month Cooking)

This week I fed the freezer;
White Chicken Chili
Chicken n Dumplings (Thanks for the recipe Amy!)
Taco Meat - Ground Beef

You know you can also feed the freezer w eggplant!!!

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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#267 of 699 Old 09-30-2007, 03:57 PM
 
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#268 of 699 Old 09-30-2007, 08:40 PM
 
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Yay!!! This week I've fed my freezer...

Lasagna
Spaghetti sauce
Chicken and dumplings
Chicken and veggie soup
Chicken packets
Biscuits
Baked eggs/breakfast dish
AND
I fed my fridge a mixture of chicken, cheddar and parmesan for yummy quesadillas this week!!
I also chopped a bunch of broccoli to make servings to take in my lunch and ds's school lunch!

:

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#269 of 699 Old 10-01-2007, 11:05 AM
 
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this freezes real well in slices or the fresh pumpkin or squash puree freezes well to make this all winter.

add in whatever you like: nuts, chocolate chips, seeds, dried fruit, cooked grains, etc.

PUMPKIN OR WINTER SQUASH BREAD

1 2/3 cups sugar
2 cups roasted pumpkin or winter squash puree (or canned pumpkin*)
1/2 cup walnut oil (or whatever fat you prefer… butter, coconut oil, canola oil, etc)
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt (or 1/2 cup plain yogurt & 2 tsp. vanilla extract)
2 egg
3 cups special white whole wheat flour (King Arthur brand)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1.5 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
Cooking spray or oil to grease pans

Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, spices, salt, and baking powder/soda in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture, stirring just until moist. Stir in your optional additions.

Spoon batter into 2 (8 x 4-inch) loaf pans coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 1 hour (or so) or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pans on a wire rack, and remove from pans. Cool completely on wire rack.

*add about ¼ cup additional liquid if you use canned as it's drier than fresh
roasted puree

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#270 of 699 Old 10-01-2007, 12:37 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by honeybeedreams View Post
this freezes real well in slices or the fresh pumpkin or squash puree freezes well to make this all winter.
Oh, excellent - I just put a whole bunch of pumpkin puree in the freezer yesterday - I'll have to try this recipe soon!

Thanks.

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