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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am seriously on a "nesting...stock up the freezer" craze. Don't ask me why, but I think I will need extra time to...oh...say...get other stuff ready in the next 3-4 months. Nevermind that I would love to get my son out of diapers (fat chance) and out of the crib (better chance) in that time. Here is what I am making to put in the freezer. I thought I would start a different thread so that we could have specific freezer stuff. Plus, I can just link here.<br><br><a href="http://www.recipezaar.com/120007" target="_blank">http://www.recipezaar.com/120007</a><br>
I coated the shells with ricotta, omitted the olives, and cut chicken breasts into small strips (the tenders would have been too fat to fit imo).<br><br>
Benji just woke up from his nap. I love that my almost 3 year old still takes close to 3 hour naps! I will post more later.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
It turns out that I am doing a bunch of cooking this week! My dad (newly retired while mom works 12 or more hours a day...on just her day off) was looking into buying freezer meals, but now I am making them for him. I am doubling up on most of the meals so that I can stock my freezer, too. The grocery list for 2 months of food is pretty scary, but it will be great to have it all finished. Plus, I will know that my parents are eating a little bettter (hopefully). A lot of these are heavy meals, but they will make great dinners at the end of a long day.<br><br>
Here is what I am making them/us.<br>
Pork chops - deciding on recipe<br>
crabcakes <a href="http://www.recipezaar.com/194928" target="_blank">http://www.recipezaar.com/194928</a><br>
salmon <a href="http://www.recipezaar.com/108401" target="_blank">http://www.recipezaar.com/108401</a><br>
roast <a href="http://www.recipezaar.com/148383" target="_blank">http://www.recipezaar.com/148383</a><br>
beef stew (Granny's recipe)<br>
chicken marsala<br>
chicken parmesan<br>
chicken cordon bleu rolls <a href="http://www.recipezaar.com/123101" target="_blank">http://www.recipezaar.com/123101</a><br>
cranberry chicken - recipe in our cookbook<br>
chicken manicotti (see above post)<br>
stuffed chicken - mixture of 3 recipes<br>
peach cobbler (Granny's recipe)<br><br>
I also made up buttermilk biscuits, the freezer burritos in the cookbook (my son LOVES them), hot pockets (recipe in cookbook), french toast sticks, and some other easy sides/snacks/quick meals.
 

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Those are awesome ideas! So far I'm doing a lot of "rolling freezing;" in other words, I'm freezing stuff so that each time I feel like cooking/baking and freezing, I can do all of that and freeze it forward, and take out something previously frozen and cook that instead of eating what I just made... and froze... is that making sense? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> I feel like I'm talking in circles!<br><br>
So far I have frozen some soups and pre-soaked and cooked beans (so I only need to pull them out and add them to whatever, instead of soaking them overnight or simmering them for an hour).<br><br>
Clara
 

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Great ideas. I'm going to go to the supermarket today possibly and load up too <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin">
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Clara- How are you freezing the soups? I need to find a good way to store the stew. I usually use my food saver (except for stuff that is opened often like the hot pockets, meatballs, and such), but I can't freeze liquids with that.<br><br>
Amy- I have really found that it is much easier to make 3-5 of something than just one. You only seem to add on a few minutes for each additional serving set (I freeze in 8x8 pyrex or foil sets) instead of the extra 20-45 minutes for making a whole dish.<br><br>
I have to say that this freezing food stuff has really revolutionized my life!
 

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I'm hoping to do something like Let's Dish the month before the baby is due.<br><br><a href="http://www.letsdish.com" target="_blank">http://www.letsdish.com</a>
 

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I store my liquid stuff like stew, soup and chili in heavy duty gallon size ziplocs. Kind of messy going in and coming out, but they lay nice and flat in the freezer and don't take up much space at all. 1 bag = 2 serving portions.
 

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I've aspired to do this with each of my past births, but haven't. Our freezer is extremely small!! But, I'm hoping to be more organized this time. Probably won't begin cooking until late May/early June, though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Bethany- That is what I was thinking of doing. I have also used the plastic rounds to hold soups, and those worked out ok. They did take up more space though. Since my mom is getting us a freezer, that wouldn't be so bad. I have read that it is best to keep freezers as full as posible to get them to work better.
 

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I'm kind of embarrassed to admit- Ziploc freezer bags for the soups. We have no room in our little French door freezer/fridge, and as anti-plastic as DH and I both are, we're freezing them this way. When I thaw them, I don't thaw in the microwave, and I pour it from the bag into a pan to heat it up, so I'm hoping the downfalls of plastic freezer bags are minimized. I freeze the full bags flat on a cutting board, and then stack them like wood.<br><br>
Clara
 

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Clara, that exactly what we do with our bags. It IS minimized if you don't heat them up, and it's really the only space efficient way to do things.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Ah! So freezing soup is pretty much like freezing breastmilk. The most effective way IS in plastic bags laid flat. Thanks!
 

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I do TONS of freezer cooking. In fact, if I cook anything more complicated that tacos, I double it and freeze. Without including recipes, I do:<br><br>
Lasagna<br>
Chicken pot pie<br>
Chicken spaghetti<br>
Burritos/Enchiladas<br>
Shepard's Pie<br>
Meatloaf - not cooked, just prepped and put in a gallon ziploc and laid flat<br>
Chili<br>
Soups<br>
Banana bread<br>
Muffins/Coffee Cakes/Cookies<br><br>
Other misc stuff -<br><br>
Lunchmeat - We also go through a lot of lunchmeat, so I buy that 2 or 3 lbs at a time and bag it in ziplocs at home by the 1/2 lb so we can take it out as we need it.<br><br>
Cheese - when you find a good deal, buy as much as you can. I've been getting bags of shredded cheddar and blocks of cheddar for $1/each at my local grocery lately, and I buy 5-10 at a time and freeze all but 1. The shredded stuff freezes better than the blocks, which tend to get a bit crumbly after they're thawed out, but it still works.<br><br>
I keep at least 2 weeks worth of meals in the freezer all the time. My DH works a rotating shift at work, so we only all sit down together for dinner about 1x/week. He loves being able to grab something more than a sandwich when he gets home late, and this way I can warm things up for the boys as they're ready to eat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Bethany- How do you handle the split shift thing? Do you keep the food warm, or do you make a separate serving? Dh has been getting home late <i>a lot</i> lately, and I have been keeping it warm for a while in the oven. Just curious as to how others do it.<br><br>
I tend to double, or more, my taco meat, too. I just brown the meat, mix in the seasoning, and freeze in a food saver bag. When dh comes home earlier than expected without calling (happens sometimes) or when I have had a super rough day, I can have dinner ready in 10 minutes. Woo-hoo!<br><br>
I have been playing with the idea of freezing our favorite cookie dough. I think, if I freeze it in a flat block with indents for breaking it apart, I can use it like the freezer/fridge ready dough.
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/notes2.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="notes right-handed">:<br><br>
This is such a helpful thread! I did buy enough ingredients to make a couple of batches of lasagna, but I'm waiting for some friends of ours to decide if they're coming over to have dinner or not. If so, I'll assemble it all that day, bake one batch for us to eat and freeze the other one. Hope they decide soon, or I'm just going to assemble and freeze two batches.<br><br>
I keep looking for cheese deals. I'm such a cheese snob/freak though, and I keep getting drawn to small packages of two-year, cave-aged sorts of tasty cheeses instead of doing the economical thing. Maybe I can make mental deals with myself.<br><br>
As soon as my IL's visit and bring our forgotten venison here (DH got a deer in the fall and it was all prepared and processed in time for us to take it home, but we forgot and left it in their freezer <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"> which takes up a ton of their freezer space! Thank God they have so much grace about it), I'm going to try the meatloaf trick. I also want to cook and shred some chicken to freeze for easy quesadillas and enchiladas in the summer. I have to keep an eye out for thigh sales, though- every once in a blue moon, I can get a family package (8 thighs) for less than $3, and thighs are amazingly versatile.<br><br>
Clara<br>
Mel- I freeze cookie dough- I usually freeze balls, and then lay them in one layer in a freezer bag. They stick a little to one another, but are very easy to tumble out of the bag, separate, and just bake.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I should have taken a picture! Dad went with me today to buy groceries for my family and for mom and dad for a month. It seriously didn't cost what I thought it would! It was $300, and that included some expensive stuff (fresh salmon, 2 roasts, 18 pounds of chicken, lots of fresh produce). It was amazing what I saved just by buying the larger size of a bunch of stuff. I bought the huge ricotta cheese and sour cream buckets, and they cost a few cents more than the small size. Wow! That will make about 40 meals to serve 2-6 people depending on the dish. Just had to share.<br><br>
I have already made 2 cranberry chickens, 3 chicken manicottis, and the chicken for the shredded dishes is in the crockpot. Yea me! Now, dh is home so he can grill hamburgers. I didn't feel like eating anything I made today.
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Mel L</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7481411"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Bethany- How do you handle the split shift thing? Do you keep the food warm, or do you make a separate serving? Dh has been getting home late <i>a lot</i> lately, and I have been keeping it warm for a while in the oven. Just curious as to how others do it.<br><br>
I tend to double, or more, my taco meat, too. I just brown the meat, mix in the seasoning, and freeze in a food saver bag. When dh comes home earlier than expected without calling (happens sometimes) or when I have had a super rough day, I can have dinner ready in 10 minutes. Woo-hoo!<br><br>
I have been playing with the idea of freezing our favorite cookie dough. I think, if I freeze it in a flat block with indents for breaking it apart, I can use it like the freezer/fridge ready dough.</div>
</td>
</tr></table></div>
I don't keep the food warm. We've done this for so many years now that I just don't bother, and he no longer expects it. I just put the leftovers in the frig like I would regardless, and when he gets home I warm it up in the microwave for him. I also tend to do super easy meals on his really late days, like sandwiches, french toast, fish sticks, stuff the kids and I will eat but he isn't so fond of for dinner. And on those days he eats out of the freezer, so he picks what he wants, defrosts and eats it.<br><br>
And..........I usually have a whole chicken in the frig, cooked and de-boned. That way either of us can make quick salads, smothered potatos or sandwiches when we want them. That's one of my top picks - giant chicken topped baked potato. Mmmmmmmmm. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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I made baked ziti yesterday, and doubled the recipe. It's on the back of the Hunts spaghetti sauce jars - 1 lb ground meat, 1 jar of sauce, 1 can of tomato paste, 8 oz of ziti and 1 cup of cheese. I doubled it, and made 2 huge casseroles of it. We ate one with leftovers in the frig, and I froze the other in 6 or 7 portions.
 

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We got home today and after going to the grocery store I started organizing what I had bought into different meals to freeze.<br><br>
So far I have 10 meals to cook up throughout the week and then freeze. Hopefully these frozen meals will come in handy later in the pg when I have no motivation.
 
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