I have learned a few things about freezer cooking in the last several years. The main thing I have seen and learned is that everyone who does freezer cooking eventually develops a method that works for them and their families. I first began my OAMC (Once A Month Cooking) by figuring out a monthly menu and then preparing, cooking and assembling all the meals at one time and freezing them. I had virtually no more cooking to do that month! It was wonderful, but it took a lot of work to organize and do. I gave up after about a year or so of doing this. I figured my OAMC days were behind me until I stumbled onto a freezer-cooking list on the internet.
I found out that there are other various things that can be done to be able to enjoy the benefits of meals in the freezer. One of the things I have done is called 'session cooking'. Let’s say I find a great deal on hamburger at the store and I buy several pounds of it. I then begin by making a few meatloaves and freezing them uncooked. Then move on to meatballs. Cook and flash freeze these guys. Then I would cook up lots of hamburger and bag the cooked hamburger into individual bags for quick meal preps. Sometimes I will add taco season to some bags or Italian seasonings depending on what I might use it for. Then last I would freeze the raw hamburger into 1# packages for any new recipe I might come across and want to try.
Now you can have any kind of session you want. It can be pork or chicken or potatoes and even apples. If you do this often you end up with a lot of meals or meal starters or side dishes.
A meal starter is like a pound of cooked and taco seasoned hamburger. You warm it up, take out your pregrated cheese from the freezer and add some trimmings….voila! TACOS!
Another easy option that I do is to make a double or triple batch of something and eat one for dinner and freeze the rest. This works well with lasagna, spaghetti, burrito casseroles etc.. This is great because it only takes an extra few minutes to make 2 or 3 of the same things while you are at it. One clean up time for it all!
As for freezing containers…. Zip lock bags work well for soups, stews, chili etc.. , aluminum pans work but are expensive, plastic containers work too. They can be the ones specially bought for this purpose or you can frugally use containers that you already have on hand. Garage sales are a great option for buying extra dishes to be used for freezing. My very sweet Mom-in-law has bought me many 9x13 casserole dishes at garage sales for as little as $0.10 each.
The whole point of freezer cooking is to make maximum use of your time. When you have the time you can do more in the kitchen in order to make life move more smoothly when times are busy.
Happy Freezer Cooking -- CRYSTAL
Freezer Cooking Info and Tips...
They are very versatile. I would recommend that you make these meatballs and cook them without any sauce. Then flash freeze them on cookie trays. When they are frozen you can put them in ziplock bags to store in the freezer. When you need them you can pull out as many as you want for a meal. You can make the sauce recipe included here (it is a double recipe so you can just cut the recipe in half if that is all you need) or you can put the meatballs into spaghetti sauce or gravy or soup or any other way that will make a quick meal.
The term FLASH FREEZE means to freeze individual items on a cookie sheet
2 Cups tightly packed raw hamburger or 2 cups loosely packed cooked hamburger approximately equals 1 pound
Freezer Storage Times For Different Types of Meats
Meals that Freeze Well
Meatloaf: Freeze before cooking. On serving day, put frozen meatloaf in slow oven (300 to 325 approx.) and cook for 2 hours or longer depending on size of meatloaf.
Lasagna: Freeze baked or unbaked
Soups and stews freeze beautifully. They are one of my favorite things to have in the freezer.
Any of my soup recipes will freeze nicely as well as any of the ones on this page. I freeze my soups in Ziplock type bags.
Soups: beef, chicken, bean, vegetable
Stew: Southwest Stew Mexican Stew
Spaghetti Sauce and Alfredo Sauce
Muffins and Quick Breads
Waffles and Pancakes: flash freeze the waffles and warm up in the toaster, freeze pancakes in zip type bags and warm up in microwave. You can use your favorite recipe or even a mix
Yeast Breads and Cinnamon Rolls
makes 2 - 9x13 pans for the freezer
Delicious Italian Casserole
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