Friday, April 30, 2010

FREEZER FOODS FRIDAY

It's Freezer Foods Friday again!  Do you have a tip, recipe, or just want to share a menu plan?  Jump in on the McLinkey link-up and share with all.  J ust remember to link back to here, and if you'd be a dear and take the Freezer Foods Friday button and place on your blog...that would be great - so everybody can come and see and share!

If you're a seasoned OAMC'er, or make-ahead diva, or just dabbling in it, we all can get inspiration, or a reminder here and there.  That's why I went back to my notes from when I taught Freezer Cooking and thought I'd resurrect some old thoughts I thought I'd share.   I'd love to hear from you and possibly learn or be reminded of new tips and techniques or ideas for menu plans in the future!

One big time saver is to try to think of recipes that have similar elements, which can be used in different ways:
* Taco filling and refried beans for burritos, tacos, taco salad
* Spaghetti sauce for spaghetti, stuffed shells, lasagna, chicken/veal/eggplant parmesan, pizza, calzones.
* Beef roast - or -pulled pork for pot roast, stew, beef/pork and noodles, BBQ sandwiches, open-faced    sandwiches, pocket sandwiches.

Use simple recipes for your freezer cooking, and save the gourmet ones for special occasions.
*  BUT if you're wanting to see if it freezes well, then save a portion, package it and freeze it.  Take it out in a month or two and see how it did!

Re-package meat in meal size portions for easier defrosting.
Chicken and turkey
~ Wrap individual pieces or specific number in freezer bags.
~ Cut raw meat into chunks for stir-fry, shish-k-bobs, casseroles, soup, etc.
~ Boil in a large pot, saving the "stock" for other recipes, i.e., casseroles, boiling rice, etc.
* Burger
~ Make into meatballs or patties.  Freeze meatballs on a cookie sheet and then put in freezer bags.  Wrap patties in plastic wrap or wax paper and then put in freezer bags.
~ Brown it and package in amounts needed for recipes later.
* Roasts, steaks and other large portions of meat
~ Place steaks in ziplock type freezer bag, pour in marinade if desired and freeze.  While it is thawing it can be marinating.
~ Consider splitting roasts, hams or whole chickens if you have a small family.

Use freezer strength wraps, bags and containers!
~ Freezer wraps are thicker and allow less air-moisture exchange during storage.  For shorter storage, you can re-use deli or dary containers, but they are not recommended for longer term.
~ Foil Pans - the party supply store runs good sales on foil pans where I live. You can use the bread pans for meat loaf, smaller portions of lasagna,e tc.
~ A 9 x 13 pan is large...consider two 8 x 8 pans and it will fit into a gallon ziploc bag.

Package carefully and label everything!!!
~ You will NOT remember whether you put 4-6 servings in a bag, how many cups, etc.  And, trust me, you may not remember WHAT the dish is (trust me, I've been there!)  For instance... is that chicken broth or lemon juice?!?!?  (oh yes I did!  LOL)
~ Put the recipe's page number on the freezer bag to help in final preparations, or if the entree is complete, write simple heating instructions on the bag.

Ok,  your turn!  Join in the fun of sharing with other make-ahead, bulk cookers, freezer cookers, by whatever name we all go!



5 comments:

  1. Great post! I second careful packaging and labels! No fun coming across a frozen mystery blob :)

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  2. Indeed labeling is of up most importance, because you will forget. Our brains are far too busy and distracted to be bothered with dates and servings.

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  3. Good tips! We definitely try to make things that have similar ingredients around the same time. It just makes everything easier, especially with Mexican food.

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  4. Wow! Great minds think alike :) Great tips about the freezer-strength bags, and small portions, etc!

    I'll definitely make sure to catch up with you on Friday! Thanks for stopping by ;)

    http://thekingscourt4.blogspot.com/

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  5. Great tips! Of course, for them to work means I need to follow them--like taking the extra 5 seconds to label things before I freeze them!!! =)

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