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Old 11-25-2007, 10:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The surgery I had back in October put a hold on my starting to build my freezer stash, but the past 2 weekends, I have FINALLY started getting some entrees frozen for after the baby is born.

Today, I made:

1 spaghetti bake
1 huge pot of veggie soup (which I will be eating for lunches occasionally over the next few weeks, so I am not sure how much will be left for DS and I to eat for lunch come January)

Last weekend, I made:

3 meatloaves
1 goulash
1 porcupine beef balls

I am roasting 2 chickens tomorrow, and will use some of the leftover meat to make a chicken tetrazzini or two. I'm also going to get some enchiladas in the freezer, and maybe a lasagna.

I also plan to make some muffins and other baked goods to freeze individually.

Lots of pasta. But those are the things that seem to freeze best!

I also plan on making sure we do a nice big shopping trip just before the birth, to make sure that we have things on hand that are easy to fix, like pot roast (pop it into the crockpot in the morning and then make side dishes), and chicken breasts, etc etc.

How is everyone else doing in the food prep dept?
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Old 11-26-2007, 08:06 AM
 
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My mom is here for a week, so we plan to do lots of Christmas baking and make a few different things for the freezer. I will report back at the end of the week!

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Old 11-26-2007, 12:40 PM
 
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i was doing pretty great with soups and stews for my lunches- i must have had something close to 30 servings.... and then i went to see my NP and it turns out that i'm having reactions to corn. sheesh. so much for all of my soups and stews. (and DH doesn't like my bean or lentil stuff, so i don't know what we're going to do with it all)

guess it's back to the drawing board...

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Old 11-26-2007, 12:58 PM
 
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My blessed friends have organized a communal cooking day - we all chose three recipes and will get together on Dec 9th to cook up a storm for 8 hrs. The end result is that everyone will have a month's worth of suppers to take home. Sounds too good to be true, no? I am soooooooooo grateful but I will be 36 wks when we do it, so I hope I have the stamina and energy. I am REALLY hanging on to that date as a lifeline, since working FT I find I have no time/energy to do a cookathon by myself at home..... it's even hard to keep up cooking on a regular basis for our daily/weekly needs, nevermind cooking ahead.

I try to keep dd#1 (2.5 yrs) involved when I am working in the kitchen (or else she FINDS ways of getting my attention IYKWIM)....but it takes 6x longer to do anything. I'm happy she's enjoying herself and I'm glad to involve her, but it's hard to be "productive".

I admire your discipline ladies!

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Old 11-26-2007, 01:08 PM
 
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I have made some Italian Beef Stew, Spaghetti Sauce, and cooked ground meat in the freezer. Now I also have cooked Turkey in the freezer too! I am making Potato Soup today or tomorrow for the freezer. That one takes the longest to make so far.

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Old 11-26-2007, 01:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am REALLY hanging on to that date as a lifeline, since working FT I find I have no time/energy to do a cookathon by myself at home..... it's even hard to keep up cooking on a regular basis for our daily/weekly needs, nevermind cooking ahead.
I work full-time too, and am so there with you on the no time or energy thing. That is part of the reason it has taken me so very long to start my freezer stash, and why I can only work on it on weekends. Yesterday, starting at around 4:30, I made the soup and spaghetti bake to freeze AND made homemade mac & cheese for dinner. It was a long 3 hours.
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Old 11-26-2007, 02:58 PM
 
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How many freezer meals do I need? Church provides 2 weeks of dinners. And by that tiem I'll have 2 sets of families coming to visit. I know it never hurts to have too much, but I was just wondering how long ya'll are planning to eat out of your freezers.

Andrea...wife, SAHM to 3.5 yo DS and 1 yo DD.

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Old 11-26-2007, 03:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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How many freezer meals do I need? Church provides 2 weeks of dinners. And by that tiem I'll have 2 sets of families coming to visit. I know it never hurts to have too much, but I was just wondering how long ya'll are planning to eat out of your freezers.
I'm just going to get as much frozen as possible. I'd like to believe that I'm more level-headed, and that I'll be less overwhelmed by the whole newborn thing than I was when Nicholas was born, but who knows. I'd like to think I'll be able to at least manage some basic cooking a few times a week. Right now, I am hoping to have 2 to 3 weeks' worth of entrees frozen, which may be spread out and consumed over my entire 3 month maternity leave.

Of course, I won't have anyone bringing me meals, and my family is not close to come help out and cook or watch baby while I cook.
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Old 11-26-2007, 03:58 PM
 
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I wish we had a place for a big chest freezer. I'd love to be saving up meals but alas my teeny fridge/freezer hasn't the room so my freezer stash exists in the land called Trader Joe's.
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Old 11-26-2007, 04:00 PM
 
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How do you all store these things in your freezer? What do you put them in.
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Old 11-26-2007, 04:03 PM
 
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I wish we had a place for a big chest freezer. I'd love to be saving up meals but alas my teeny fridge/freezer hasn't the room so my freezer stash exists in the land called Trader Joe's.
LOL!

Hugs, HardCoreMom. Sorry 'bout all those meals you can't eat!

We like to have at least 20 meals in the freezer before baby comes. DH and I have been working on it each weekend for about a month now. We just make one recipe and triple/quadruple it each weekend. One to two months of weekend kitchen dates, and voila - the freezer is full.

So far, we've got 3-4 meals' worth of each:
chili
beef stew
chicken soup
meatloaf
meat balls
meat pie
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Old 11-26-2007, 04:31 PM
 
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Sorry to take over this thread with questions: but one more quick one. Did anyone have to cut out certain foods due to colic or anything like that during the first months of breastfeeding? Basically am I safe making lasagna and things with dairy, etc. or is there a chance I won't be able to eat them after all that work of getting them frozen!

Andrea...wife, SAHM to 3.5 yo DS and 1 yo DD.

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Old 11-26-2007, 04:40 PM
 
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I keep thinking you are going to be talking about breast milk.

I have exactly nadda, zilch, zero, zippo stashed in my freezer. I'm just doing good to get dinner on the table every day.

Alicia mama to 3 boys 6 and under.
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Old 11-26-2007, 04:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I keep thinking you are going to be talking about breast milk.
That'd be quite a trick for those of us who aren't currently nursing an older child.
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Old 11-26-2007, 04:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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How do you all store these things in your freezer? What do you put them in.
For casseroles, I line a casserole dish with foil, and freeze the prepped casserole in that dish. Once it's frozen, I take it out, remove the foil, and then vacuum pack it using my food saver. When it's time to eat it, just take it out of the freezer, remove it from the vacuum packaging, and place it in the casserole to reheat. For some things, like meatloaf, chili, soup, goulash, meatballs, etc, I just put it in the vacuum bag, freeze, and then vacuum pack it shut. The vacuum bags can be boiled in water, so for things like individual servings of soup, that's ideal.

I love my FoodSaver. The only thing I *don't* like is having to freeze stuff that is delicate before vacuum packing it (muffins, meatloaf, meatballs, soups, etc will either get crushed or sucked out of the bag if you try to vacuum pack them without freezing them first). But it's a small price to pay, and we haven't suffered any freezer burn yet.
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Old 11-26-2007, 05:28 PM
 
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Sorry to take over this thread with questions: but one more quick one. Did anyone have to cut out certain foods due to colic or anything like that during the first months of breastfeeding? Basically am I safe making lasagna and things with dairy, etc. or is there a chance I won't be able to eat them after all that work of getting them frozen!
yes! totally! my last DS had allergic colitis, and i had to cut out everything you could imagine. my elimination diet had me living off of rice and turkey and some squashes for the first year. i'm hoping that this time, i get lucky enough that not only can i have dairy and broccoli, but even BEANS, cause it's really the only complete meal i can make to freeze that will fit in my yeast-free diet anymore. i just got the fixings to make some yummy pink beans, and hopefully, i can have some of those put away for myself in the next coupla' days.

my first pg, i tried my luck with freezing a bunch of things, but found that once we were ready to eat the stuff, we didn't feel like it. it turns out, the kinds of dinners we like to eat don't freeze well, anyway. so i guess DH will be on the hook once again for making dinner for a while. at least i'll have my lunchtime beans (i hope!)...

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Old 11-26-2007, 05:42 PM
 
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That'd be quite a trick for those of us who aren't currently nursing an older child.
I know! That's why I keep doing a double take. Even with nursing the milk supply is so low that I could not imagine getting a stash together. LOL

So, care to share these fabulous recipes?

Alicia mama to 3 boys 6 and under.
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Old 11-26-2007, 06:12 PM
 
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i haven't started my freezer shash yet for a couple reasons ...

a) i want to buy a freezer!
b) i'm weird about things being frozen too long, so i'm waiting until after the new years (i'm not due until the 22nd)

as for the dairy issue, i'm not freezing meals as much for me, but so my kids have something to eat! lol!! i'm not a big eater the first couple weeks after baby anyway, and dh may be out to sea, so i want to make sure i'm not feeding my kids crackers and cheese for dinner every night, lol!

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Mama to Kayleigh (6), Ethan (4), Norah (1), & Charlotte coming 11.09
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Old 11-26-2007, 10:11 PM
 
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I work full-time too, and am so there with you on the no time or energy thing. That is part of the reason it has taken me so very long to start my freezer stash, and why I can only work on it on weekends. Yesterday, starting at around 4:30, I made the soup and spaghetti bake to freeze AND made homemade mac & cheese for dinner. It was a long 3 hours.
I hear you. But if I cooked two things on a Sunday (which is actually my usual routine) I would want to save them both for use during the week....it would last us until about Thursday and then Friday we'd have frozen food anyway. : Oh well, we all manage somehow.

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Old 11-26-2007, 11:33 PM
 
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I have been packing food in my freezer as well. Split pea soup, lentil soup, chili and enchiladas for now. Now sure what else I can cram in there since it is getting pretty full.

From past experience, I want to have a good stash of meals ready for the 6-week growth spurt. All of my babies have had a huge (and I mean HUGE) growth spurt around the 6th week and my appetite went through the roof.

And that was right around the time that my friends and family had all gone home to live their own lives leaving me with a hungry belly and wee baby that wanted to nurse every hour.

So, my stash is set aside for the exhausted-mommy, nursing-baby, hungry-kids, cranky-Dad nights. Hopefully, we won't have too many of those, but I like to be prepared.

Frugal, food growing mama to my four loves

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Old 11-27-2007, 03:10 AM
 
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I'm excited that Thanksgiving seriously padded my freezer stash. I put away 12 2 serving packets of turkey and gravy and 5 meals of tofu cutlets for hubby, he is a vegetarian. I also stocked quorn cutlets so he has another 8 mains to go with the sides I froze. I did muffin tins with mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, stuffing, yams, cranberry sauce, gravy and macaroni and cheese. I have about 20 servings of each, except for the vegetarian gravy. I still have to make some more of that and rolls. I have two bags of dark meat in the freezer that will make two 8 portion pots of turkey soup that I have to make this weekend.

Besides the rolls and gravy, I still need to make more apple walnut bread, cookies, stuffed peppers and 3 vegetarian soups. I also want to make eggplant parm at 38 weeks. I'll make some to eat and some to freeze

I've already made:
12 servings of cheese and roasted vegetable enchiladas
12 servings of chicken enchiladas
12 servings of baked ziti with veggie meatballs
6 servings of baked ziti with ricotta and cheese only
8 servings of Curried lentil stew
8 servings of chicken chili
16 servings of Roasted Asparagus and Red pepper lasagna
3 cheese pizzas
10 artichoke, roasted garlic and spinach calzones
4 apple breads, 2 banana nut and 2 pumpkin breads
15 individual apple pies
12 individual vegetable pot pies
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Old 11-27-2007, 11:59 AM
 
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I'm excited that Thanksgiving seriously padded my freezer stash. I put away 12 2 serving packets of turkey and gravy and 5 meals of tofu cutlets for hubby, he is a vegetarian. I also stocked quorn cutlets so he has another 8 mains to go with the sides I froze. I did muffin tins with mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, stuffing, yams, cranberry sauce, gravy and macaroni and cheese. I have about 20 servings of each, except for the vegetarian gravy. I still have to make some more of that and rolls. I have two bags of dark meat in the freezer that will make two 8 portion pots of turkey soup that I have to make this weekend.

Besides the rolls and gravy, I still need to make more apple walnut bread, cookies, stuffed peppers and 3 vegetarian soups. I also want to make eggplant parm at 38 weeks. I'll make some to eat and some to freeze

I've already made:
12 servings of cheese and roasted vegetable enchiladas
12 servings of chicken enchiladas
12 servings of baked ziti with veggie meatballs
6 servings of baked ziti with ricotta and cheese only
8 servings of Curried lentil stew
8 servings of chicken chili
16 servings of Roasted Asparagus and Red pepper lasagna
3 cheese pizzas
10 artichoke, roasted garlic and spinach calzones
4 apple breads, 2 banana nut and 2 pumpkin breads
15 individual apple pies
12 individual vegetable pot pies


Wow, I think I'll just move in with you!
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Old 11-27-2007, 03:38 PM
 
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So, I dont have a food saver...I dont really know what to do about that. Should I just use a freezer bag?? But what about casseroles??? buy some of those foil containers or what? I feel so lost. I have a beautiful deep freeze. DH just put a bunch of deer meat in it and there is still so much room.
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Old 11-27-2007, 04:39 PM
 
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So, I dont have a food saver...I dont really know what to do about that. Should I just use a freezer bag?? But what about casseroles??? buy some of those foil containers or what? I feel so lost. I have a beautiful deep freeze. DH just put a bunch of deer meat in it and there is still so much room.
Yep, freezer bags work just fine. For casseroles, I like to bake them, cut into individual servings, then freeze them on a cookie sheet for an hour or so, and then bag them in a gallon freezer bag. That way you have lots of individual servings and you can just pull out the number you'll need for that particular meal.
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Old 11-27-2007, 06:48 PM
 
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Yep, a food saver is nice, but not a necessity. Freezer bags work fine. If you can spare the container, you can also wrap the food up right in it. I have tons of 9x13s I got as wedding gifts, and so I freeze right in them. I don't like plastic or foil to touch my food, so I put a layer of wax/parchment paper over it, then wrap it quite a few times with foil and/or plastic. I've been freezing food for years, and have never had an issue with freezer burn.
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Old 11-27-2007, 08:07 PM
 
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Chaveleh,
Come on over.. the more mommas the merrier I'm pretty sure Ill have completely too much food when all is said and done. But Im pretty obsessive about not eating frozen/ fast crap food in post partum.
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Old 11-27-2007, 09:36 PM
 
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I've already made:
12 servings of cheese and roasted vegetable enchiladas
12 servings of chicken enchiladas
12 servings of baked ziti with veggie meatballs
6 servings of baked ziti with ricotta and cheese only
8 servings of Curried lentil stew
8 servings of chicken chili
16 servings of Roasted Asparagus and Red pepper lasagna
3 cheese pizzas
10 artichoke, roasted garlic and spinach calzones
4 apple breads, 2 banana nut and 2 pumpkin breads
15 individual apple pies
12 individual vegetable pot pies
Show off!
(Totally joking here!!!! )
Wow I really admire you. WHEN DID YOU HAVE ALL THE TIME????? Teach me, oh mistress!

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Old 11-28-2007, 01:38 AM
 
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Show off!
(Totally joking here!!!! )
Wow I really admire you. WHEN DID YOU HAVE ALL THE TIME????? Teach me, oh mistress!
Emese'sMom,
It took me (3) 6 hour cooking sessions. I group things for ease of preparation. For instance, most quick breads have basically the same ingredients, or italian casseroles, etc..:

The night before I soaked my beans...The next morning, I made all my bread batters and stuck them in the fridge... then I prepped all the veggies I'd need... cut the onions, peppers, sweet potatoes, cilantro parsely and garlic... then I made the enchilada sauce and tomato sauce while I boiled 2 cut up chickens with onions and mexican seasonings (for the chicken chili and the enchiladas). I also mixed the lasagna filling and the ziti cheese mixture side by side since they have alot of the same ingredients and stuck them in the fridge. After the chickens were done boiling, I put the stock in a bowl to use with the chicken chili and let the chickens cool. I buy the cheese in bulk from Costco, so I dont have to shred anything. I roasted the veggies for the enchiladas (onions, bell peppers, sweet potatoes) in the oven while the stuff on the stove top was going. Then I boiled the lasagna noodles until the were just a few minutes undercooked and stuck my asparagus and red peppers out on the grill till nice and carmelized and stuck them in a covered container to steam. When the veggies in the oven were done I started with the breads.

I shredded my chicken and then made my enchiladas. I line the pans with foil and pop them in the freezer then I can take the dish out and put it in a freezer bag later.

Because I used all my casserole pans for the enchiladas I just stored the lasagna ingredients till the next day when I could pop out the enchiladas and reuse the containers. I also make an baggie of enchilada sauce that I freeze with each dish because it absorbs so much of the liquid.

I sauteed more onions and made the chicken chili, which was easy, just combining the cut up chicken, left over enchilada sauce, beans, cilantro, diced tomatoes (I get the huge costco cans.. most of them went into the spagetti sauce, but I saved some out for the lentil step and the chili), stock and extra spices. That got cooled and portioned into gallon ziplocks. The bread got cooled and wrapped up then put in gallon ziplocks.

So, that was day 1.

Day two I started the calzone/ pizza dough first then popped the enchiladas out and packaged them.. I made some veggie meat balls and popped them in the oven then started the penne noodles for the ziti (undercooked by 1/3) then I assembled the lasagnas, which was a cinch because everything was ready. I use any pan available to freeze the ziti, so that was also easy to throw together and stick in the freezer too. The ziti and lasagna took about an hour and a half.

I made the crusts for the pies, one batch with some sugar, one without and stuck them in the fridge to chill.

I sauteed the spinach and artichokes and made tomato cream sauce by just adding some pureed soft tofu to the tomato sauce and parm and then I assembled the calzones with mozzerella and flash froze them. The pizzas, I baked halfway and then added sauce and cheese and froze them too.

Then I made the curried lentil soup (I cut up all the veggies the day before except for some carrots -- so I cut those up and my apples and potatoes). That cooked while I made the pot pie and the apple pie filling.

Let it all cool and then rolled out the pie crusts (I hate pie crusts, by the way- it was the most lengthy part of the process). Then I put filling in each pie and sealed them, then flash froze them on cookie sheets, took them off and stuck them in freezer bags.

Then of course, thanksgiving day, which I really didnt go crazy on. I just made mac and cheese, bread stuffing, greenbean casserole (with homeade cream of mushroom.. which is easy, because I just make a big pot of white sauce and use some for the mac and cheese and some for the mushroom soup) yams, cranberry sauce with mandarins and pecans, gravy and mashed potatoes. Simple dishes that didn't require alot of ingredients. I wish I would have made more rolls and just got that out of the way, but I didn't have enough room with the huge turkey and a single oven. I froze all the sides in muffin tins and then popped them in freezer bags.

Hopefully that gives you some insight into the methods for my madness. I also try to use my oven and stove top at the same time and keep alot of timers on hand. I put one with each recipe that is currently cooking and needs to be timed.
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Old 11-28-2007, 05:34 AM
 
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Well, I finally got started today!

I got out the pressure canner and canned 6 quarts of chicken stock and 6 quarts of pizza/marinara sauce. I also made a batch of slow-cooker BBQ pulled pork to freeze (haven't shredded it yet---that'll have to wait until tomorrow). While I was at it, I made a double-batch of spinach-lentil soup for dinner tonight, and froze the leftovers. That's two more nights of dinner.

On my list still is:

pressure can a big batch of split pea-ham soup
pressure can a big batch of chili
pressure can some beef stroganoff (before the sour cream is added)
freeze some lasagnas
freeze some enchiladas
freeze some meatballs
freeze some peanut butter chicken

I need to hound some more quart jars from my mother's attic when I'm visiting next week, or perhaps find some on FreeCycle. The trouble there is that people often give re-used spaghetti sauce jars, not knowing the difference, and they're really not suitable.

Does anyone know about freezing pizza dough? I mean in balls, not in rolled-out sheets. I see it in the freezer case at the NFS, but am not sure if there are any tricks to it.

Mama to DS 3/05 and DD 1/08
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Old 11-28-2007, 11:24 AM
 
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hypnomama, that is awesome!!

i have a question about reheating... do most of you use the oven or the microwave?
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