I've done "freezer cooking" before but it was mostly me making packaged meals for Greg to take back with him. Now that he's home, he not only helps me with the prep work, but he's been going online to find new recipes for us to try. It's been fun.
The one thing I changed about how I cook, especially if it's going in the freezer, is to make smaller portions. This helps in two ways.
Smaller portions is better for the waistline, and it stretches the food dollar farther.
Before, I used to store packaged meals in plastic or glass containers. Now I buy small aluminum disposable pans (with lids if I can find them). I can reuse them at least a couple of times before they lose their shape and I have to toss them.
This frees up my valuable glass containers and the aluminum pan can go from freezer to oven.
I buy the multi-pack aluminum pans at the dollar store, but keep your eyes open for sales at bigger grocery stores too.
Cooking out of the freezer and pantry has been a good training ground for me. I'm learning where I had enough of one item or not enough of another. For example, butter. I regularly buy butter on sale and freeze it, but I forgot about getting unsalted butter for certain baking recipes.
This has also been a good primer on what I need to grow in my garden. Right now the only thing growing in the winter is rosemary, kale, bok choy, spinach, onions and garlic. I definitely need to grow more herbs and spinach. I ran out too soon.
So what have I been making for freezer meals?
So far it's been enchiladas, lasagna, sausage & pepper casserole, and pot roast. My good friend, Melissa McClone sent me to Stockpiling Moms for more great freezer recipes.
Greg also made a Chicago style deep dish pizza the other night that was HEAVENLY! Both of us grew up in Chicago so we know a thing or two about good pizza. This was definitely one of the best I've ever tasted. I doubt this pizza will ever see the inside of a freezer, but maybe next time we can do a few mini pizzas to freeze while the big one is baking.
|Pizza baked in a cast iron skillet|
If you have to be stuck inside because of the weather, try making some freezer meals. You'll be glad you did for those days when you're too tired or too busy to cook.
Have you ever tried making freezer meals? Do you have a favorite standby recipe that you can whip up in a jiffy?
If you'd like to try Chicago style pizza, here's the recipe Greg used. The only things he did differently was add crimini mushrooms and onions, quickly sauteed in the grease where I cooked the hot sausage. I also jazzed up the sauce with dehydrated tomatoes from our garden and extra spices. It was amazing!
PS I sent the expense spreadsheet I talked about recently to several people. If you asked for it but haven't received it, email me and I'll send it again.
My email has been playing footsies this past week. There's a chance a few outgoing and incoming messages are lost in limbo. You can always try Facebook or my gmail address if all else fails.