Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Freezer Cooking.

I am currently sitting in my favorite chair, the Christmas tree glistening, my children watching "Polar Express" (anyone else find that movie creepy @ all ?), and looking outside at the snow that is blanketing the ground all while the sun is being eaten by the new snow clouds rolling in over the mountains. Ah. Oh and my coffee is brewing, can't wait until it's done... man I sure hope my mom and dad got me the Keurig for Christmas, instant gratification, can I get an AMEN!

Okay back to the point of this post. NONE of the above would be possible if I didn't take time last Saturday to plan our meals and have them cooked, and froze and ready to thaw and eat at a moments notice! I am taking every minute of Christmas break and enjoying NOT being in the kitchen. Actually, I love being in there but I'm like this change of pace.

So how did I do it and what did I make ?
Well if you google "Freezer Cooking" your going to find a bazillion blogs, and I have yet to find one that is bad. If you go to Pinterest well same thing your mouth will be watering with amazing ideas! I did a little of both and made a detailed shopping list.

* The meat will be your most expensive item, so try and find that on sale or buy in bulk.

All that I made took me about 2 hours to mix up, flash freeze, bag up and cover.

I should also say that my family is not PICKY! My hubby is amazing that he is not a meat and potatoes kind of guy and a casserole is okay with him. He knows what a blessing it is to have food on the table and not care what it is :) My children also understand that I'm not a restaurant, that they eat what is made.

Breakfast Freezer Items
*Pancakes *Take a regular pancake mix and mix up the whole box, cook on your griddle or skillet. Once cooled lay on cookie sheet and "flash freeze" or "quick freeze" until they are solid.
Place in baggies and all you will have to do is pull out and put in the toaster! This is great for whole wheat or healthy options- versus store bought loaded down with junk pancakes.
*Sausage Patties - I took a roll of ground sausage and froze until just solid a little bit, and then i pulled it out and sliced. Cooked it in the skillet and let cool. Once cooled I did the "flash freeze" method and put in a gallon size ziplock. Now in the morning it just needs warmed in microwave for a a few seconds.
*Mini Quiche* Mama and Baby Love have a great recipe and tutorial. I use whatever meat is cheapest or on sale.
*Seasonal Muffins* Lady Bird Lane has a great recipe for freezing, and you can do whatever add in's you want for whatever season it is.

With these items I will pair either... Yogurt, Fresh Fruit, Granola (my recipe) or oatmeal with those.

I don't really do anything special for lunch. I do either leftovers, or a quick sandwich with popcorn and a fruit or vegetable.
However there is a great recipe for Mac & Cheese @ Once Upon A Month Mom and she has a ton of great ideas over there!

*Spaghetti* I mix it all up the noodles, sauce, cheese and meat. The only thing i do a little different is undercook the noodles because they will cook more when unfrozen. I pour into a freezer dish and when ready to eat, thaw in fridge in the morning. Bake it at 350 until warm add more cheese and sauce if necessary. I make a huge pot and divide into two separate dishes for my family.
*White Chicken Chili* I will post this recipe later sometimes but basically I doubled it, cooked it and then let it sit and cool. Once cool put in gallon size bags and froze.
*Shepherds Pie* Once again I usually make two at a time. I can post a recipe if you ask, but really google and your would find a bazillion. Mine usually consists of meat,corn,mashed potatoes and cheese, maybe cream of sauce if I have any, and seasonings.
*Chicken Parmesan Meatloaf* What's cooking Chicago has this yummy recipe and it's super simple. If you don't have some of the spices I don't think it's a big deal.
*Chicken Club Pizza* Basically any Pizza you want because I make about 4-6 pizza dough balls and freeze those. Then make whatever Pizza you want. I use Chicken on this pizza so it's already cooked and shredded in my freezer. I use Pioneer Women's pizza crust. Read to the bottom for instructions on freezing.
*Taco Meat* Cook meat and freeze in bag.
*Baked Chicken Parmesan* My real life friend Jennifer told me about this and it's yummy.

I have several more but that is a few to get you started! Let me know if you have any questions!

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