Freezer cooking on a small scale…
When I say freezer cooking…you say? Eek! No way! You’re a crazy lady! Okay, maybe not, but I’m sure you’re not giddy. Freezer cooking to some sounds like a whole day, 30 meal affair. It does not have to be…..
Don’t be scared, it’s not so bad. Freezer cooking does not have to take up your whole Saturday.
Fresh is best, but life happens……
If you know me, you know that I’m a stock up kind of girl. Ive got food for more than a month….if need be. My cupboards are full to overflowing, my pantries are stocked and my freezers are pretty full. Mostly due to thrifty coupon shopping, canning, and freezer cooking.
Need a dinner or two because you’re sick or recovering from surgery? I’m your girl. Dinner party on short notice, no biggie. I’m your girl.
Recession, depression, food shortage situation, Zombie apocalypse (as long as I’m not on the menu) I’m your girl.
I have tween/teens to take care of, and we really like to eat. The teen REALLY likes to eat, it’s shocking, but that’s for another post.
Traditional full month freezer cooking won’t work for me. I don’t have the space, and the idea of spending an entire day cooking makes my eye twitch.
I do like the idea of having a few items pre-cooked and ready to toss into dishes or into the microwave. So, I’d like to introduce you to a mini freezer cooking day.
I try to keep a few pounds of pre-cooked and frozen meat in my freezer. With it I can make a quick dinner on a busy night.
Easy Spaghetti night. Place a pot of hot salted water (for the pasta) on the stove and begin to boil it. Put a pot with pasta sauce on the stove at a medium heat, cover with lid. Take 1 lb. of pre-cooked frozen ground turkey or beef out of the freezer. Microwave on the defrost setting for about 3 min. (just long enough to make the frozen meat easy to break apart). Add pasta to boiling water. Place pre-cooked meat into the pasta sauce, sir and replace the lid, stir every few min. Once the pasta is done (mine usually takes about 8-9 min to cook), drain rinse and return to the hot-pot. At this point your meaty spaghetti sauce should be hot and bubbly. I pour the sauce over the noodles and mix it in. This meal takes me about 15(ish) min. to prepare.
Easy Crock Pot Chili.Take 1 or 2 pounds of frozen pre-cooked meat out of the freezer. Defrost long enough to be able to break the meat apart (3-4 min for me). Place meat into slow cooker. Add chili seasoning (what ever brand you prefer, or make your own *3 teaspoons chili powder, 1 teaspoon of paprika, some garlic salt and 2 teaspoon cumin should do the trick*, add canned tomatoes (undrained), frozen, dried or fresh diced onions (1 cup, less or more if you prefer) add canned Red or Pinto beans (if you want), add 1 8 oz. can of tomato sauce and 1 8 oz. can of water (or follow your chili seasoning package’s instructions.) Set on low for 8 hours and you’ll come home to hot, yummy chili.
Set aside a few hours during your week and make a few different items that you can freeze for later use. It’s a great comfort to know that if you’re sick or running late, you don’t have to rely on a take out meal. If you have a few pre-cooked frozen items on hand you can eat (healthy) homemade quick fix meals you won’t be crying over on the treadmill the next day. Goodbye Big Mac, hello homemade turkey chili.
Ground Beef, Ground Turkey both freeze well to make a quick and easy chili night, taco night or spaghetti night. Muffins freeze well, place them in single serve freezer bags and just remove them the night before you want to eat them, easy quick breakfast. I have a great Banana bread recipe and Pumpkin bread recipe on my blog. Both would work to make muffins or breads.
Making chicken stock or veggie stock? Make more than you need and freeze the rest in 2 cup or 4 cup portions.
Making beans? Make two or three times the amount that you need and freeze the rest.
Make cream of mushroom soup and freeze it for later use.
Ready? Set? Cook and Freeze!
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Yea! Mini freezer cooking. LOVE it. I do the precooked ground beef also. If you freeze it in a gallon size bag, and laying flat with the meat all spread out, you don’t even have to defrost it. 🙂
Michelle, that is a great tip. Freezing things flat like that keeps everything neat and allows you more space. I love it. I need to practice it. My freezer is a tad scary right now. Shocking, but true.
All really good tips – I too don´t have space to freeze loads of meals, but little timesavers like this can really cut down on the stress of getting food on the table when time is short. Great post JamieAnne!
Thank you Tanya! I bet you do more canning than freezing huh? I think that still counts as planning ahead.
This made me laugh. Our friends say if there’s a zombie apocolypse they’re coming to our house. Katherine says there’s no way we can fit more in there. But I manage! Great post.
Thanks Greg. Our friends say the same. I’ve heard a few times that if something bad happens I should plan for company…lots of company. I don’t mind. I prefer to be prepared. Better safe than sorry right?
P.S.- my kids can tell you how to disable a zombie. I’m quirky, but if those flesh eating suckers head my way…my babies will know how to defend themselves. If not, I’ll foot the “my mom told me how to kill a zombie” therapy bill later. 😀
Remember remove the head or destroy the brain!
I have alway’s cooked for a large group (had 5 daughters including a set of triplets!) and always made enough for leftovers. Always took them and froze them for quick lunches or a dinner on the go. Now it is just me and daughter number 6, and I still can not scale down! So we have lots of leftovers in the freezer and I am always giving some of it away!
Wow Neecy! That’s a lot of kiddos! I bet it is hard to scale down your cooking. It almost seems like you would have to re-learn portions going from 6 to 2. I bet you have happy neighbors and friends though. All those leftovers.
Love these ideas–I always make big batches of veggie burgers so I can pull them out in a pinch. Or when I’m feeling lazy. Checking out your pumpkin bread recipe (love the idea of adding dried cranberries). Wait–is it the right time of year for pumpkin treats yet? And muffins/breads rarely last long enough to freeze/bother freezing around me 😀
Ummm…Pumpkin is perfect year round. I buy organic canned pumpkin. It’s fabulous. I stock up when it is on sale after Thanksgiving and the cans I buy keep me “rolling deep in pumpkin” till the next Thanksgiving. Yes, I’m that into pumpkins.
Love freezing food! Especially now that my sister’s no longer living in my apartment!
I bet! How is the smaller batch cooking going?
Great ideas! I love the idea of freezing food, but never remember to until it is too late!
Thanks Erin! I forget sometimes too. Eh. It happens. I loved your Grilled Margherita Pizza So yum!
I already cook for a dozen people (at least) every meal. I had to chuckle when you suggest doubling something. I don’t have a pan that big! Great idea for most families though. Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment.
That’s probably true, you already cook for a large group. I guess your make ahead cooking would have to be totally intentional. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.
you must have been reading my mind – I spoke about this with my sister last week as for mom’s freezer cooking is a great idea! Have a super day JamieAnne 🙂
🙂 I have excellent mind reading skills…they work over long distances. I’m glad you enjoyed the post Tandy!
I love your idea of doing mini freezer cooking – it makes so much sense. I’ve been wanting to get into OAMC, but I have this tiny apartment freezer and no room. Doing a few small dishes makes a lot more sense.
I think you’ll enjoy doing small batch freezer cooking. It’s so nice to have something on those busy days. 🙂
Now to have some room in my freezer! LOL
I know. Me too. It’s way full.
I’ve done this for years, since I’m single & love to cook. It just made it easier on those days where I was working long hours or really tired! But I could & can still cook for an army in a short time with what I’ve got on hand anyway. 🙂
Me too Karen. I usually cook enough for dinner and leftovers. 🙂
Way to go Karen L. I love the idea of cooking for an army, and not have to do it for a good long while. Please put your techniques up for freezer cooking, everyone has there own flair!!!
JamieAnne, why don’t you go further, then just dinner & leftover as far as freezer cooking?
I do Ben. I bake and freeze muffins for breakfasts. Thanks for your comments!