Freezer Foods Friday is back
I hope your as excited as I am that Freezer Foods Friday is making a comeback. It's been a while and I've missed it. Here's a little , er... educational introduction... to kick us off.
This might be "old news" to you, a refresher, or a new slant. However you receive it, I hope there is something you can use or add to.
There are many types of "freezer cooking" methods. There's the OAMC (Once a Month Cooking); TAMC (Twice a Month Cooking); Mini Sessions, preparing meals by categories...The methods and lists are as vast and varied as individual's tastes.
Whatever "style" you adopt, the most important rule is organize your recipes!
You can have a card-file system or notebook file system. I use the notebook pages because I can have each recipe printed on an individual page, put in a page protector and place in a three ring binder. You can see my post about organizing my recipes into notebooks by clicking here: Organizing My Recipes from Magazines, etc.
Before cooking day, study each recipe to decide on the order in which you'll prepare them. It may sound like overkill, but it really helps the process run more smoothly. Once you've decided, put the pages in order in which you will prepare them. The page protectors are great because I almost always spash! All I have to do is wipe these clean.
Menu - You might like to fly by the seat of your pants, but you really need to do a menu. You don't really want a month of all Mexican, or Italian food do you? There are all sorts of sites with good forms to print out for menus and I've used a lot, but in a pinch, I like the old, take a sheet of notebook paper, fold it in half, fold it again, and again. Unfold and you've got 8 blocks. Yeah, I know there aren't "usually" 8 days in the week, contrary to what the Beetles said! (I'm showing my age aren't I). Just fill in the 7 blocks with a day's menu. Super simple, right?
Try only a few new recipes each month. (That way if it flops, it was only one meal) Your menu should be mostly ones your family already likes.
If you're not sure a family favorite will freeze well, when you prepare the dish, take out a portion and freeze it. "Test" it in a week or two to see if it passes the test. If so, great! You've got another freezer-food to add to your list. And, well, if it doesn't, you haven't wasted time and money.
And I can't stress this enough... Label your foods! In a month or so, you won't be able to tell the difference between chicken broth and squeezed lemon juice (for lemonade) by just looking at that freezer bag. Trust my experience, here.
Ok, I can't leave chicken out, can I? Here's a couple of great freeze-in-the-bag-with-chicken marinades. If you will notice one recipe I used as a marinade is from the recipe that everybody was making a while back...You know, the Apricot Chicken recipe? Well did you know it makes a great marinade for grilling chicken? It does!
Honey Chicken Marinade
3 TBSP soy sauce
1 TBSP honey
1 TBSP olive oil
1 tsp lime juice
1 tsp garlic
Apricot Chicken Marinade
1/2 bottle Catalina dressing
1/2 packet of dry onion soup mix
3 TBSP olive oil
12 oz jar of apricot preserves - heated in the microwave until runny.
Alright, if I haven't bored you to tears yet, I want to leave you with one more recipe. Would that be ok?
I've had this for probably 18 years or so, and I've made them into little (portion controlled) muffins, with a crust, without and called it a casserole, you name it. But it was originally called Crustless Quiche. It's great to fix ahead and have for holiday breakfasts or brunch.
You're going to need...
16 ounce container cottage cheese
1/4 cup milk (you'll notice I used evaporated milk, you can use regular "jug" milk but this makes it richer)
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded (I used mild but you could use sharp too)
cooked and crumbled bacon (equal 10 slices) I cheated, see pic?!
1/4 cup chopped onions
Process cottage cheese in a food processor or blender until smooth. (I use a blender)
transfer to a large bowl
In a medium bowl beat eggs.
Add milk, flour, baking powder and salt to eggs and mix until smooth.
Add egg mixture to cottage cheese and mix.
Stir in shredded cheese, bacon and onions.
Now here's where you choose... Do you want to bake and freeze, or just freeze?
If you want to bake 'em now and freeze, then pour into muffin tins (mini or regular - doesn't matter)
bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.
Cool and freeze in freezer bags.
I chose to pour the mixture into freezer bags to bake later. When I'm ready to bake 'em, I'll just thaw in frige and follow the above instructions.
I hope this has helped inspire you to either begin, start back up, or step up your freezer game a bit. Don't forget to check back next Friday for another tried-n-true freezer meal and I will share with you about Freezer Meals parties, and making freezer meals with a friend. Until then,