I'm so sorry about your mom.
What a great thing that people are willing to help out! As a somewhat new freezer cook, I've found that freezing foods in freezer ziplocks works best space-wise. Just make sure the food cools down in the fridge first, then freeze each bag (quart or gallon depending on how many you want to feed with that portion) FLAT. Once it's frozen, stand it up on end and you will eventually have a "bookshelf" of food that's easy to thumb through (like a record collection!
). Make sure that every bag is LABELED with contents and re-heating instructions...it all starts to look the same once it's flat so don't think that you're gonna remember what it was! I put the name of the dish, whether to thaw it completely before cooking (like lasagna for example), what temp to cook it at and for how long, and what to serve it with (if it matters).
Lasagnas and casseroles freeze well too, but take a little more prep, for example...lasagna. One recipe usually can feed 6-8 people (in my house) and it's only the three of us here so what i do is use 3 loaf pans (pyrex). I spray 2 of them with olive oil and line them with plastic wrap. Then I build all three lasagnas and put the non-plastic wrapped one in the oven, and the other two in the freezer. Once the freezer ones are completely frozen (takes an hour or two), tug on the plastic wrap (patiently...it's a tight fit) and pop out your "food brick". Hopefully you've left enough plastic wrap over the sides to wrap it in one complete layer of plastic wrap, then put it in foil and THEN into a gallon sized ziplock. I suppose you could just put it in foil and leave it at that...I like to be able to easily label it and so love the ziplocks. And I use the bags over and over and over, till they get a leak. You can stack these however works best...
Cookies are the easiest. Make a huge batch and drop them onto some small cookie sheets and throw them into the freezer, uncooked. Once they're firm, toss them into a freezer bag'o'cookies! You can bake 4 or 14...no need to thaw first.
An idea for organizing...once the freezers are stocked, type up an inventory and tape it to the outside of the freezer and cross things off as they are used. If there are three lasagnas in there, write "lasagna" 3 times, so all you have to do is put a line through it. Doing this for cookies probably won't work
unless you want a couple sheets of paper with the words "cookie cookie cookie" typed all over it!
I have to say that, in combination with my crockpot, freezing food has really grown on me. I hope this information is helpful to you. Please tell your mama that I'll be sending good vibes her way!!!