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Cook ahead meals?



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SHAKEUPTAMPA
SparkPoints: (9,500)
Fitness Minutes: (4,545)
Posts: 925
10/22/12 5:24 P

I second the take away containers! Love them. A friend also advised me that when I separate and package my meat into portions for the freezer, put them in the marinade first then freeze so when I go to cook it the marinade is already with it. She does this for chicken and steaks.



MISSRUTH
Posts: 3,311
10/22/12 5:03 P

The main thing to remember when freezing food, is that air is the enemy. That's where freezer burn comes from.

Soups, stews, casseroles, chili-- all are good choices that make a lot and then can be frozen in "single serving" packages. Also you can buy a whole family size pack of chicken breasts, cook all of them when you're not busy, and then freeze them individually (for this, I'd wrap them individually in foil and then put them all in a ziplock labelled "chicken breasts").

The one really important thing I'd suggest (and this one comes from personal experience) is to label everything you freeze. So you don't take a container that you think has chili in it, to work for lunch-- only to discover at noon that it's actually spaghetti sauce.



YOJULEZ
SparkPoints: (15,605)
Fitness Minutes: (120)
Posts: 2,171
10/22/12 4:07 P

To making freezing better, first cool off the food in the refrigerator. Once it's completely cool, then put in the freezer. If you put it in the freezer before it's totally cooled off, it creates steam which will then freeze and crystallize, leaving ice crystals on your food. Another thing to do is once you put the food in the container (I would do glass/plastic containers versus bags for solid foods), put a layer of saran wrap right on the top of the food, then put the lid on. The saran wrap helps "seal" in the food from the air. If you're freezing soups or other liquidy things, put them in a freezer zipper bag, and lay them flat to freeze. They will freeze faster and more evenly, and it makes them easier to store once they're frozen.

For actual foods, soups are easy, as are things like casseroles. To be honest though, I don't do a ton of whole freezer meals, more just freezing individual portions of leftovers. I've frozen some "taco" stuffed shells, manicotti, mini meatloaf, and just last night, a chicken pot pie soup.

Also here's a link to some helpful freezing hints/ideas: www.thekitchn.com/25-freezer-tips-and-do-n
ot-freeze-foods-more-freezer-tips-1777
64


www.thekitchn.com/20-time-saving-freezer-t
ips-175622


happymoneysaver.com/making-50-freezer-meal
s-in-one-day/





MISSSVJS
Posts: 466
10/22/12 3:32 P

Soups, chili, stews, spaghetti sauce, meatloaf, roasted chicken or turkey are all easy to make ahead of time and portion into individual servings and freeze.



TACDGB
Posts: 6,041
10/21/12 9:34 P

I do understand where you are coming from. If my crockpot died I would be a mess until I got a new one. Crockpots make excellent meals and you can freeze the left overs. Check the internet for some good ideas. Crockpots can be cooking away while you are gone and when you get home there is your meal.



DIETITIANBECKY
Posts: 26,453
10/21/12 3:03 P

There are many sites and cookbooks on this topic.
I suggest searching, using terms such as:
bulk cooking
freezer cooking
batch cooking

I think you'll find ideas, recipes, and all the tips you need
Dietitian Becky

Edited by: DIETITIANBECKY at: 10/21/2012 (15:04)


-POOKIE-
Posts: 11,848
10/21/12 2:20 P

I use tubs, like take-away plastic boxes, to freeze individual portions of things, protects far better than just bagging it up.



SIXDANDELIONS
SparkPoints: (262)
Fitness Minutes: (180)
Posts: 10
10/21/12 1:25 P

I'm a single person who has previously been the sort of person that would die if her microwave went kaput since I was the Queen of Frozen Dinners.

Obviously, that can't continue - and I'm open to starting to cook but with work and working out, I don't have time to cook when I get home unless I want dinner at 10pm. Not good.

So - what are good foods to cook in advance - and cook in bulk and freeze? What is the best way to store things in the freezer so they don't get freezer burn?

Thanks for any advice, all! :)



 
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