Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I Need YOUR Expertise!

I am contemplating spending a day in the kitchen (hopefully with some friends) cooking and freezing meals to fill my freezer for the zombie days ahead. It's not really an apocalyptic thing, I just know that the friends delivering meals thing won't last forever. Sigh.

So, here's what I need from YOU:

  • Any food freezing tips
  • What kind of containers do you use?
  • Do you thaw food prior to cooking it or do you cook it frozen?
  • What about soups? How do you thaw/reheat those?
  • Is it better to have completely cooked a meal before freezing it or partially?
  • Anything else you can think of?
  • How long should a meal stay in the freezer?
  • Any special products that have made food freezing better for you?
I am not much of a food freezer. We typically eat leftovers for days if a meal made too much for us. I am hoping to start freezing those leftovers as well to add to our stores (plus I'm a little tired of leftovers!). I have cooked up ground meat and frozen that ahead of time as well as onions, peppers, that sort of thing.

Any advice in this department is appreciated!!!!


  1. Hmm, here are the frozen meals I've done. Whenever I do a meal for people I freeze it so that they can use it whenever.

    1.) Chicken Pot Pie
    I cook the filling then use a disposable pie pan and prepared dough and leave it uncooked. I wrap it in plastic wrap then put it in a freezer bag. We've eaten one up to a month old and it was still tasty 'licious. I put it straight in the oven, no thawing.

    2.) Hashbrown casserole
    1 bag frozen country style hasbrowns (the squares), 1 can cream of chicken soup, 1 cup sour cream, salt/pepper, 1/2 onion diced (you can cook these first if you want to cut down super onion flavor), 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese. Mix all ingredients cold, wrap first and put in freezer bag. Cook without thawing, top with buttered corn flakes and more cheese for extra yummies.

    3.) Swiss Steak (serve w/rice)
    I cook round steak/swiss steak with bell peppers, onions, and a can of rotel, and a can of tomato sauce all day in a crock pot. Shred meat when done, put in freezer bags in smaller servings. Just put the bags in some warm water in the sink or dump the frozen hunks into a pot on low and stir until it breaks up and then cook until bubbly. Serve over rice.

    4.) Enchilada Casserole
    Filling: Cooked Shredded chicken, 1 can cream of chicken soup, 1 can green chiles, 1 cup sour cream, 1 cup milk, 1 cup monterrey jack cheese. Layers: 8 corn tortillas, prepared by cooking for a few seconds on each side in light oil. Combine filling ingredients in large bowl, add milk until desired consistency. Add a few tablespoons filling to bottom of casserole dish or disposable dish, layer with prepared tortillas, top with half the filling, repeat. Top with jack cheese, wrap & place in freezer bag. Cook without thawing.

    Those are go to meals that I use. When Addie was born we got lasagna, some amazing canneloni, a shepard's pie type casserole, and enchiladas. All delicious and able to be frozen before cooking with no thawing required, woohoo! It just takes awhile to heat through and it's usually a good idea to cover the dish with foil for awhile to prevent the top from burning. Hope this is helpful! Have fun!

  2. Let me know when you're thinking of having your cooking day! My favourite frozen meal is shepherds pie. Cook the filling and mashed potatoes completely, layer them in a disposable aluminium baking dish, cook from frozen for about an hour.

    Also, this isn't strictly a frozen 'pre-prepared' meal per se, but one of my favourite easy/lazy meals is crock-pot chicken fajitas. It does require having the fixins on hand (cheese, tortillas etc). Around lunch time, throw 4 frozen chicken breasts in the crockpot on 'high' along with a jar of salsa. The end :) (seriously. The only other step is to slightly shred the chicken before putting it on your tortilla. Easy-peasy!)

  3. Check out "Life As Mom" - she does a lot of freezer cooking, complete with recipes.

  4. I did a lot of soups to be frozen when I was pregnant: hamburg vegetable in a tomato base; chicken tortilla; squash; chicken and wild rice ... pretty much anything that didn't have potatoes in it (potatoes tend to turn black and rather disgusting when frozen). I would freeze them in plastic containers and just thaw them on low power in the microwave when we wanted to eat them. Sometimes I had to add a tiny bit more liquid after thawing, but usually they were fine.

    Macaroni and cheese is another good freezable meal, as is ground beef with spices and sauce (can be used for tacos or enchiladas or anything like that). I know a lot of people make lasagna and freeze it, but I never got that brave! I did do spaghetti sauce with meatballs. Everything I froze I cooked first and just thawed in the microwave, but you could also get it mostly thawed in the sink and then heat it the rest of the way in the oven or on the stovetop, if you prefer to avoid the microwave!

  5. So Dena and I have done this A LOT with our friend Jennifer. I bought a book called Cooking for 30 days. It was great. Had a lot of great recipes and conversion charts for multiplying recipes. We would put soups on freezer zip-locks (taco Soup). we made quiche (zip-lock egg mix and freeze pie shell), meatloaf, all kinds of pasta bakes, stuffed shells, ...oh the list could go on and on. let me know if you want more advice... Keith just walked in and I have to go...


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