Thursday, January 28, 2010

Freezer cooking: are you interested?

This is to get your brain started at the whole idea. I have one picky husband who hates this idea, but he loves the food as long as he doesn't know it's been in the freezer. HA HA. I have a few recipes I love ( I'll share later. But if you just can not wait Taco Soup, Tomato Basil Soup (a family favorite), Crock Pot Chicken with Salsa. K that's a start.) And also consider doing meat. I grill 2 different marinated chicken recipes. When cooled I slice into bite sized pieces and freeze in easy serving sizes. Walla chicken to put in soups, salads, pastas or even dare I say casseroles! Kinda like "Dream Dinners" a meal ready to go all in the freezer.

First, let’s decide what kind of storage to use. I prefer zippered plastic bags, as they seem to store the easiest (as a block once frozen). I lay them flat in my freezer. You'll be surprised how much you can fit. You can also experiment with various plastic containers (although I have yet to find one that really keeps out the freezer burn and stacks well) or try simply using a variety of layers of saran wrap and tin foil on the pans that you will be cooking with on the day of serving. Make sure you have a permanent black marker that hasn’t dried out (if your house is like mine, this is harder to find than you might think!) and a straw (more about the straw later!)

The next thing to do is to set a date for your freezer cooking adventure. If you have small children at home, you will either need to plan a several-day-cooking schedule (during naps), or find a friend to keep the munchkins while you work. In the week or so leading up to your big day, begin to empty out your freezer! Be creative and use up all of those bags of frozen peas! Don’t overdo it and try to be super-mom. Plan to order pizza/takeout on the days that you are cooking. May I recommend PAPA MURPHY'S chicken bacon artichoke delite (tdf!)

One of the near final steps is to decide on your meal plan! You can do freezer cooking several ways. The serious (and sometimes viewed as crazy) way is to do 30 days at a time. I do this once a season.

The more time-effective way to freezer cook is to plan for 2 weeks of meals. Also I love just doubling or triplying my favorite go to recipes and freezing the extras. seems a little simpler and less work.

I’ll close with some common myths about freezer cooking:
1. I only have a small freezer that is part of my refrigerator.
2. My family will get tired of eating the same things over and over.
3. It will take me too long to cook everything at one time.
4. I don’t have enough counter space or pots/pans for this.
Stay tuned for future posts about Freezer Cooking for the answers to these common myths and some recipes/shopping lists! It’s easier than you might think and will save you time and money!
It helps me get dinner on the table, and can help you too.

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