Fitness Minutes: (4,545)
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.
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.
Fitness Minutes: (120)
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.
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.
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