Thursday, September 13, 2007

Joys of freezing

On some nights do you ever wish you could just go to your freezer & pull out a home cooked meal?

Do you have a recipe that you absolutely love but it takes forever to make?

Are you almost due for having a baby & find that your nesting like crazy, the nursery is ready & you want something else to do? Or maybe a friend just had a baby?

What about freezing some meals!!!

Over the past couple years I have been taught a ton about freezing food from a wonderful friend and wanted to share some ideas with all of you. Freezing foods is so much fun to do & so easy! Some meals that we love to eat here in our house hold are
Chicken Parmesan
BBQ Meatloaf
Chicken Turnovers
Baked Ziti
Marinated Chicken Breasts
Banana Bread
Cookies & brownies (lots & lots of these :)

And it is so rewarding to go to your freezer & pull these favorites out so that you can have a relaxing evening. Below are some ideas for you and I hope you find them helpful.

That very involved Favorite recipe
You may have a dish or a sauce that you & your family absolutely love but it takes a long time to prepare and involves many different ingredients. Do you want to make the best of your time? Why don't you double, triple, quadruple your recipe. Have a great meal that night and then 1 or more over the next few months.
* Make sure you multiply each ingredient the same
* If it is a pasta dish or a casserole - buy some tin pans & prepare you meal as you normally would. Place it in the tin pan, cover it with saran wrap, then again with tin foil (make sure it is well covered & sealed). Create a label with the name of the dish & the cooking instructions then tape it to the dish before freezing. If it is a dish that you should top with cheese or other ingredients, you may want to measure out the amount needed and freeze that in a separate bag & place with the dish (remember - you can freeze cheese too).
* If it is a sauce - Place the desired serving of sauce in separate Freezer Zip Lock bags. Label the bag with what it is, the amount of the sauce, and the date it was made.

A favorite meat marinade
If your like me, I purchase my meat in large quantities when it's on sale. I come home and separate them into smaller portions to freeze. Why not throw some of the meat in your favorite marinade before throwing it in the freezer. This way you can just pull it out and it's marinading while it's defrosting. Just be sure to label the bag so you know what's inside, we all know what our mommy brains are like :).

A favorite bread
Do you make banana, pumpkin, or zucchini bread? Why not make a few extra loafs? It adds very little time to your preparation and you have yummy bread a few weeks later w/ no effort.
* Make sure you bread cools completely. Then I wrap it very well in Saran wrap & place it in a labeled freezer bag. The bread tastes as fresh as the day you made it.

Your favorite Cookies & Brownies
Make a HUGE batch! Cook them and try not to eat them all. Cool the cookies/brownies completely, leave some out for eating and put all the rest in a Freezer bag. When you feel like having fresh cookies/brownies just pull a few out, let them thaw (this only takes a few minutes), you can throw them in the microwave for a few seconds if you want them warm, and yum!

If you make your husbands lunch to take to work, why not throw a few frozen cookies in there, by the time he gets to his lunch he will have fresh cookies.

But Beware! I have learned that 1/2 frozen cookies and brownies are even better than the fresh ones :)

This also freezes very well! Make an extra loaf and when it is cooled completely you can cut it into slices, wrap it in saran wrap then tin foil (or place in a freezer bag), and when you want meat loaf again pull the whole thing out or if you want a meatloaf sandwich for lunch just pull out one slice.

Extra fruit
If you go berry picking or if you have some fruit in the house that may go bad. Chop it up, put it on a cookie sheet, freeze them over night and the next day put the pieces in a freezer bag. This is great for having smoothies later

Someone in Need
When you make a meal for someone in need, have you ever thought of making them 2 meals. Just double whatever recipe your using, It only takes you 5-15 minutes extra but it allows them to freeze a meal for later. And what a blessing that would be! Just make sure to label everything and write down the cooking directions.
A friend and I have been talking about getting together for a day to make a ton of meals to freeze and we have yet to do it. I'm really hoping we do soon, it is such a fun way to hand out with a friend and have many rewards afterwards. Happy Cooking!
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Alycia said...

Great ideas Tarrah!! I want to use the freezer for more of our meals and goodies as well! It would make dinner time much easier! Thanks for sharing ~ I love the idea of having cookies and brownies ready and waiting for us in the freezer :)

weavermom said...

Great ideas! Especially with the craziness of the holidays that will be here before we blink 2 more times. :) Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Great Ideas!
When I make a favorite meal, I'll double the recipe and freeze 1 batch.

Highday said...

Really great ideas! Dawnelle

TCC said...

I totally agree - it isn't that difficult to make extra and freeze. I know it makes my life so much easier. Tonight we are having a meal that is slow cooking in the crock pot. It was one I had prepped months ago and froze. (You need to let it thaw overnight first before putting it in the crock though). How else could we have a warm meal after we get back from soccer?

Mississippi Songbird said...

I didn't know I could freeze brownies.. That's a great idea..
I can't waitr for a baking day. I love to bake..Thanks for the hints

Amber said...

These are wonderful ideas!!! Thanks Tarrah!

God Bless,

Michelle said...

ok i need to bookmark this's so incredibly useful.thanks for posting this.

Lori said...

Great ideas. Thanks for sharing. I may have to pick up a few of these ideas and try them.

I too like to make things ahead and freeze banana bread.

When I am browning hamburger sometimes I will brown 3-4 skillets worth and make: taco meat, spaghetti meat, BBQ meat, and hamburger for caseroles or pizza.
I figure why make a mess multiple times. It works out great. Then I have many meals prepared ahead.

Momma Roar said...

Great ideas! I hadn't thought of freezing the meat in the marinade! What a time saver!

Mary@notbefore7 said...

Great ideas Tarrah! Thanks.