I really discovered the art of freezer meals after I got pregnant with my second child. I knew what I was in for this time around (or so I thought!) and I wanted to be prepared. I cooked and I froze…from casseroles to cookies, cakes and bread I was SURE to be prepared! Let’s suffice it to say I learned a LOT about how to, and how NOT to freeze food for my family that year.
Now I freeze food on a fairly regular basis. Meals that prepare a 9 x 13 casserole can most often be split into two servings and one saved for later, cookie dough in the freezer will save ANY rainy day in a house full of toddlers and breakfast on the go is super easy when you can pull muffins or waffles out of the freezer. I’m a big fan of sharing food with my pregnant and “new mom” friends…having a small stock pile in the freezer can make that any easy way for me to help them out as well.
Here are a couple of tips I picked up in my experimenting:
- “Flash Freeze” items that might stick together like cookie dough. Put them on a lined cookie sheet in the freezer for 8-12 hours uncovered then move them into your storage container or freezer bag. This way they won’t stick together and you can still avoid freezer burn.
- Whenever possible freezer items flat. Soups and stews can be frozen in a bag lying flat on a cookie sheet then stacked later. This makes them easier to store in your freezer and quicker to thaw when you are ready to use them. (This works for breast milk, too!)
- Always wrap your food in waxed paper or cling wrap first…then tin foil. I found out the hard way that if you put the foil on first you will have one heck of a time unwrapping it later!
- When possible, add items like cheese and sauce when you take the food out to prepare it. This just helps your meal to retain its texture a little more.
- I like to prepare meals in a glass square pan lined with plastic wrap. I fill the pan as I would if I were baking it then “flash freeze” it for 8-12 hours. Wrap it up the plastic wrap, then remove it from the pan and wrap it in foil and stick it in a gallon freezer bag and label with cooking directions. When I’m ready to prepare it I take it out and stick it back in the square glass pan. This saves me from losing my dishes to the freezer.
This is my newest favorite freezer recipe: Quiche in a Bag! This is also a great recipe to use when you are taking meals to others because it is a little more creative than your average pasta or chicken dish! It is so variable, it can be vegetarian, dairy-free and gluten free! We’ve made a few adjustments but the original recipe is from The Freezer Cooking Manual
Quiche in a Bag
1 c. Cooked meat (any meat diced or browned and crumbled)
3/4 c. Vegetable (any raw, blanched; thawed frozen; or canned, drained)
1 c. shredded cheese (you can exclude this or just add feta)
1/4 c. diced onion
1 c. milk (can sub dry milk and water, soy milk or rice milk)
1/8 t. Tabasco Sauce
1/2 c. flour (may substitute rice flour)
2 t. baking powder
Combine ingredients through Tabasco Sauce. Just throw it all in a gallon ziplock bag. Mix dry ingredients and add them to the bag. Seal bag. Squish to mix.
Seal, label and freeze. This works best if you freeze it flat on a cookie sheet first and then stack like I mentioned above.
To serve, thaw completely (take it out in the a.m. for supper). Shake and squish bag well. Pour into a spray-treated pan. (This is a crust=less quiche!) Sprinkle with paprika if desired. Bake at 375 for about 40 minutes until lightly browned on top and well set in the center. Cool about 5 minutes. If you are looking for a quicker cooking time you can make these in sprayed muffin or mini muffin tins as well.
This Guest Post is by Jenn of Super Jenn and one of the founders of the Wii Mommies. She is the sweetest person and a very good friend of mine. I hope you enjoy this recipe and tips she has shared. Thank you so much for your help, tips and recipe, Jenn!
Stay tuned for more recipes and info on how to get started on Freezer Cooking! And in case you missed it, you can read my first posting on Freezer Cooking Methods and Resources.