1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Welcome both old friends and new to the all new Walt Disney Secrets :-D Please take a moment to say hi

freezing meals

Discussion in 'Other Recipes' started by Shellyamc, Jan 6, 2009.

  1. Shellyamc
    Offline

    Shellyamc Serious Forum Regular

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    Messages:
    3,801
    Likes Received:
    57
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Upstate New York
    What do you always have in the freezer for a quick meal? What do you have really good luck with? What do you always make extra of, so you can have it for another meal?

    Dh and I have a freezer in the basement now and I would love to get some stuff tucked away for when the baby comes in April. I know I will be making good old chicken soup, but I really don't know what else freezes well. I have never had the room to do anything like this.

    Anyone have some good ideas? Thanks :hug2:
     
  2. Johnie
    Offline

    Johnie Budget Queen Forum Host

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2008
    Messages:
    16,355
    Likes Received:
    294
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    Virginia
    WEll I don't do this at all. I can't seem to plan ahead like that.

    However, my co-worker with the DH who has ALS had a bunch of us over and we made meals to put in the freezer. Casseroles freeze well. Also other soups, lasagna, spaghetti sauce is pretty versatile (you can cook the noodles or whatever pretty quickly).
     
  3. foreverducky
    Offline

    foreverducky Addicted to Mickey

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2008
    Messages:
    8,327
    Likes Received:
    23
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    United States
    To go with that freezer I can not tell you how much I love my Foodsaver. It works just great and does allow me to buy in bigger sizes to keep price down.

    Let's see, what do I freeze?? Well, practicularly everything. I break down the meat packages and seal smaller individual servings. I also love to freeze lasagna (well when I ate it). You can also get big bags of tator tots from Sam's Club that I like. One can never had too many tator tots. :D I've also froze stew.
     
  4. Britchick
    Offline

    Britchick Cast Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2008
    Messages:
    15,341
    Likes Received:
    505
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Female
    lasagna, spaghetti bolognese, chilli, fish pie, curry, stuff like that really.
     
  5. Taja
    Offline

    Taja Earning my ears

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2008
    Messages:
    2,940
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Arizona, USA
    I like to cook boneless, skinless chicken breasts, then package them for individual servings or meals and freeze them. It's great to have on hand to add to salads, pasta, etc. All you have to do is thaw and heat--or just add to a salad. :thumbsup:

    I also freeze all kinds of leftovers. Some more successfully than others. :shrug: It isn't that they don't freeze well, some things just don't reheat well! :lol:

    Watch the sodium content of anything you freeze. I don't add sodium when cooking, so it isn't an issue, but the taste of the sodium is diminished when you freeze food. Then you add more, so you end up consuming double what you normally would.
     
  6. Shellyamc
    Offline

    Shellyamc Serious Forum Regular

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    Messages:
    3,801
    Likes Received:
    57
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Upstate New York
    So far, so good! Thanks guys!

    Good tip about the salt..I would have never known that.

    I never thought to freeze things like chili, but I guess that would work. I have a recipe for mac-n-cheese that you put together and then just put it in the oven to melt the cheese..can I freeze that? Do I cook everything and then freeze it?

    I really don't know anything about it..:unsure:
     
  7. Johnie
    Offline

    Johnie Budget Queen Forum Host

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2008
    Messages:
    16,355
    Likes Received:
    294
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    Virginia
    meatloaf is anothe big one to freeze
     
  8. foreverducky
    Offline

    foreverducky Addicted to Mickey

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2008
    Messages:
    8,327
    Likes Received:
    23
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    United States
    I usually have a mixture of frozen cooked and uncooked. I definitely think you could freeze the mac and cheese.
     
  9. uscwest
    Offline

    uscwest Senior Cast Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2008
    Messages:
    7,862
    Likes Received:
    254
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    Woodbridge, VA
    While mac and cheese does freeze well, it doesn't really reheat well, at least the homemade one that I make. Stouffer's, on the other hand, does a great frozen mac and cheese. And you can heat it up in the microwave.
     
  10. Shellyamc
    Offline

    Shellyamc Serious Forum Regular

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    Messages:
    3,801
    Likes Received:
    57
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Upstate New York
    Good to know! Thanks. I was wondering if the cheese got nasty when you heated it up.
     
  11. Tink
    Offline

    Tink Cead Mille Failte! Staff Member Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2008
    Messages:
    27,062
    Likes Received:
    692
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    15 minutes (or so) North of WDW
    Cheese based meals don't reheat well, because cheese needs to be completely thawed before using for best results. That's a little hard to do with frozen meals. Lasagne works because it has cheese as a component, and not a base. It will not reheat at smoothly once frozen though.

    Pasta is another tricky one. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Same for pie crust... it's better to freeze it uncooked separately and then thaw and top, or line with it when you are ready to use it.

    Potatoes (mashed) don't freeze well, actually don't thaw well, but bits of cooked cubed potatoes will thaw ok if they are a component of a dish.

    Soups, other than cream base work well. Dairy, as you see is a real culprit for acting funky when thawed.

    I used to freeze meals and food items quite a bit, so have learned the hard way which ones to avoid!

    It won't help right now, but next summer when you are swimming in those beautiful NY tomatoes (think of me) you can blanch them in hot water, drop them into ice water, peel (the blanching will pop the skin and make them easy to peel) chop and put into pint sized freezer bags (or quart bags if you like). You'll have the makings for sauces and tomatoes as an ingredient for any number of dishes. (PLEASE don't tell me you don't like tomatoes)! :lipwobble:

    Meat needs to be very well wrapped or it will freezer burn quickly. Seafood freezes beautifully.

    We always have frozen shrimp (raw) and a small variety of other seafood in our freezer.

    Making hamburger or sausage patties and then freezing them makes it easy to do portion control. If you end up needing more than a patty per person you can always take out as many as you need (to make meatballs for instance). The meat will thaw much more quickly that way.

    Speaking of which, when packaging ground meat, flatten it into square (ish) bundles (I use freezer ziplocks). They stack better, freeze quicker and thaw faster.

    Get a good quality packaging material. You'll want to write on it so get a dark sharpie. ALWAYS put the date and name of ingredient on the package. You'll be amazed how quickly you forget what and when you've frozen something.

    Eggs don't freeze well, cooked or uncooked, by the way.

    If you have left over tomato paste, freeze it in tablespoon portions then you can quickly drop the frozen tablespoon portions into whatever dish you need a bit of tomato paste for.

    I used to keep a bag of vegetable bits. Small amounts of vegetables that were not enough to serve, and were in danger of spoiling. Blanch and toss into a bag. When you have enough, you can use them for soup or stew.

    Same thing for meat bones. The butcher (is Village Market still good?) will often have inexpensive beef and other bones for sale. You can freeze those until you want them for soup or stew base (always roast your bones before using in soup or stew, they will taste so much better).

    Meatballs (cooked) freeze very well and are one of the most versatile things to have on hand. You can make any number of meals from a good bundle of meatballs. :yes:

    Bread and muffins and the like freeze quite well as do most cookies. :D Cannoli do not freeze well. :(

    Ricotta and mozzarella freeze very well, but again be certain to thaw completely before using. Many cheeses will freeze well, but some are not so great. Good, sharp cheddar doesn't like the freezer. Brie, camembert, and other cheeses along those lines aren't happy with being frozen either.

    Keeping your baking powder in the freezer is a good idea. It's activated in two ways, liquid and heat. If you protect it from the heat, you will not run the risk of having poor acting baking powder (more of an issue here than in NY).

    I've had more luck with freezing ingredients. I find them more versatile than freezing the entire dish, generally speaking.

    Hope that helps a bit!
     
  12. foreverducky
    Offline

    foreverducky Addicted to Mickey

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2008
    Messages:
    8,327
    Likes Received:
    23
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    United States
    I have sealed lasagna a bunch of times and have just thrown the serving in boiling water. I have also unwrapped it and stuck it in the oven. It works well either way, at least for me. I think moz. cheese reheats better than chedder.
     
  13. Tink
    Offline

    Tink Cead Mille Failte! Staff Member Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2008
    Messages:
    27,062
    Likes Received:
    692
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    15 minutes (or so) North of WDW
    It absolutely does!! I've often wondered if those vacuum sealers work well. They do then, Foreverducky?
     
  14. Shellyamc
    Offline

    Shellyamc Serious Forum Regular

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    Messages:
    3,801
    Likes Received:
    57
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Upstate New York
    Wow!! That is tons of good information!! I think I might be getting the basic idea of this now. It seems like even if I froze the meals in pieces, it would still take the hard and long parts of cooking out of the way and I could just toss everything together. Very good!!

    Yes, I do like tomatoes:yes: Dh got me a gardening 101 book for Christmas, so I hope to be growing some of my own this spring. I hope :unsure: Oh and yes, the Village Market is still very good and one of the best in the area! Lucky for us some things don't change.
     
  15. Tink
    Offline

    Tink Cead Mille Failte! Staff Member Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2008
    Messages:
    27,062
    Likes Received:
    692
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    15 minutes (or so) North of WDW
    You can get great beef bones (sometimes veal too) from there.

    Like I said, I used to do quite a bit of freezing (and canning! :D ). Have a look around and see if you can find a good book on the topic. I used to have one, put out by Ball (the maker of the canning jars). It was really comprehensive and covered nearly every topic.

    Oh, if you like fresh herbs, you can chop or mince them, and freeze them in a ice cube tray.

    Berries freeze best by putting them single layer on a cookie sheet until frozen, then put them in a freezer bag. They'll stay separate, and be easily poured from the bag for measuring. :yes:

    I freeze bananas when they get too spotted to eat. I use them for banana bread. They need to thaw (and will be the perfect consistency when they do) before using them in a recipe.
     
  16. Johnie
    Offline

    Johnie Budget Queen Forum Host

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2008
    Messages:
    16,355
    Likes Received:
    294
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    Virginia
    I did some google searching and it seems that cooking once a month is a HUGE deal on the net. I found this site http://www.cookofthemonth.com/ which will give you recipes and portion sizes so you can meal plan.
     
  17. Tink
    Offline

    Tink Cead Mille Failte! Staff Member Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2008
    Messages:
    27,062
    Likes Received:
    692
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    15 minutes (or so) North of WDW
    You have to do "the math" to determine if bulk cooking, and freezing is really a cost saver (and time saver).

    By the time you've cooked a month's worth of food, and used the energy to freeze it all at once, you can end up spending more than you would if you simply cooked the meal when you needed it.

    I used to shop on a monthly basis, and supplement that only with purchases of milk during the month. I would then do much of the cooking and prep work and freeze it. I actually had my electric bill go down when I stopped doing that! (Electric freezer and stove at the time). I started to "investigate" and learned that bulk prep and freezing was not always cost effective. I can be a time saver though, but not always.
     
  18. Shellyamc
    Offline

    Shellyamc Serious Forum Regular

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    Messages:
    3,801
    Likes Received:
    57
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Upstate New York
    Wow you guys are just amazing!! All kinds of info to look at :)

    Honestly I was not looking into this as a way of life, but more to get us through the first few months of being a Mommy of 2. I don't want to get into the rut of eating out and getting junk, so I wanted to make sure I had some quick and homemade meals on hand that wouldn't take a lot of time or energy to get on the table.

    Now if everyone on the board wanted to make us one meal (and Johnie could make some rock cookies :D ), then I think that would be enough to get us through :lol:
     
  19. foreverducky
    Offline

    foreverducky Addicted to Mickey

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2008
    Messages:
    8,327
    Likes Received:
    23
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    United States
    You betcha, I have a Foodsaver and it works fabulous! I like that I can put the bags in boiling water. I don't have any freezer burn on anything anymore.
     
  20. Johnie
    Offline

    Johnie Budget Queen Forum Host

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2008
    Messages:
    16,355
    Likes Received:
    294
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    Virginia
    Well I figured the ones who are making it a way of life would be the best ones to ask :tongue: I'd actually like to be able to plan ahead like that but I swear that is just not my personality.
     

Share This Page