Thursday, March 6, 2014

H2C: Mrs. Freeze

This post is part of a series called: How to Cook Supper When it's Already Time to Eat, cheesily referred to as H2C.

In addition to the wealth of freezer cooking recipes you can find online, there are a lot of ways to use your freezer to make meal time a breeze. Consider these ideas:
When you make a casserole, double the recipe, cook one now and freeze one for later. Smaller families could split a single recipe into two smaller pans and save themselves from having to eat lasagna six nights in a row.

Search "Crock-pot freezer meals" on Pinterest and prepare to be amazed! I don't cook a months worth like so many bloggers do, but I will put together two or three similar recipes in gallon bags when I'm already chopping onions and I have a little extra time. If you take the blade out of your blender, it makes a perfect container to prop open the gallon bags while you pour in liquids.

Brown two or three pounds of burger with onions, peppers, and shredded carrots. Bag it and freeze it. Now when a recipe calls for browned hamburger, you just have to grab a bag and you’ve already got veggies added in. I’ve started doing this to cut down on the amount of meat we eat, too. I brown 2 lb of deer burger with veggies, use 1/3 for that night’s meal and split the remaining meat into two freezer bags. Now I’m reducing the meat in recipes by 1/3 pound and prepping ahead. I also cook up a bunch of chicken at one time, shred it, and freeze it in small containers.

When you make waffles, french toast or pancakes, make extra and freeze. All you have to do is pop them in the toaster the next morning!
Make burritos and freeze individually wrapped in foil. Bag the bunch in the tortilla bag and get out only what you need.

Cut up peppers or onions, shred zucchini, or puree’ sweet potatoes and freeze in small containers, like baby food jars. You’ve just saved yourself some prep work for a future meal. This works great when you have an abundance of produce or need to use something up before it spoils.
Do you have more leftovers than you can handle? Freeze em’ and you have a bonus meal - or at least a side. If you freeze a little bit of soup, just add sandwiches another night for a beefier meal.

Reed’s favorite meal (from a friend, neighbor, and former coworker - thanks, Tina!) is one you can make and freeze partially. We eat it for supper, but it also works great for breakfast when you have company and want to look like a super hostess, but don’t want to get up at the butt crack of dawn to do it.

Breakfast Casserole

- cooked, crumbled bacon and/or sausage
- can of biscuits or crescent rolls
- shredded cheese (about 2 c)
- 4-8 eggs
- 3/4 c milk
- salt/pepper
- butter

1) Butter a 9x13 pan. Mush biscuits into a crust.
2) Sprinkle meat and cheese on top of biscuits.
3) Freeze at this point (or not). Put in fridge to thaw the night before you want to use.
4) Whisk eggs, milk, salt, and pepper in a bowl and pour over biscuits.
5) Cook 15 mn (or until eggs are done) at 425 degrees.

For 7 more tips, follow the links at How to Cook When it's Already Time to Eat.


Sharon Simmers said...

Any time you feel the need to feed two Empty Nesters, you just give us a yell! That casserole looks yummy!!!

Erin said...

I love reading about how other people do their meal prep! I don't know why I find other people's routines so fascinating but I do. I started cooking extra hamburger to freeze about a year ago. I really don't know why it took me so long to figure that's a huge time saver! I cook a whole chicken and then use it for a few meals too but it never makes it to the freezer. I guess we eat a lot!