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Freezer meals!

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Freezer meals!

Post  cheyannarach on 10/7/2012, 12:42 am

Hi all, since winter is fast approaching and I am not doing much in the garden I have moved on to my latest pinterest project which is freezer meals. I was curious if anyone else does something similar? When I saw this idea a light when off in my head, it's perfect for me, I like cooking but don't always have time so I have a major cookfest and prepare several meals, throw them in the freezer and when the time comes just thaw and cook in the crock pot or oven. If any one does this I would love to get recipes for freezer friendly meals. Yesterday was my first time and I made beef stew, sausage potato broccoli casserole, and turkey sloppy joes while cooking pot roast for dinner. Tomorrow I am going to make some bags of bread ingredients for the bread machine so I have them ready to go whenever I want!

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Re: Freezer meals!

Post  FamilyGardening on 10/7/2012, 2:28 am

last month we started to do they same thing Very Happy

we canned some beaf stew and chicken soup
we also canned lots of pasta sauce

we cooked and froze 2 chicken noodle with carrots, peas and corn meals

we also cooked and froze 2 taco meats and 2 seasoned beef meals to add to tortias, mac & cheese or rice or other kinds of pasta or as a pizza topping

we also cooked and froze 4 pork with onions & mushrooms meals...we had one of these tonight for dinner.....hubby made some potatoes with gravy with some frozen peas from the garden......

we want to do this each month.....find what meat is on sale....cook it up for quick easy home made meals.....

i look forward to see what others do Very Happy

love the idea of putting together the fixings for the bread machine!

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Re: Freezer meals!

Post  Patty from Yorktown on 10/7/2012, 8:44 am

I do this type of cooking all of the time. It is the only way our family can survive with so many busy schedules. There are a number of cookbooks out there called "cook once eat all month" or a variant on that. I found several in our local library. I am not up to the long cooking marathons that the books set up, however I can do small bits at a time. One easy way to get your freezer stocked is cook double meals, then freeze one right away. I freeze a lot of soup, chicken pot pies and casseroles.
I also made my own cookbook which has some cook ahead meals, some crock-pot and some cook in 20 minutes or less meals. It is a blend of all of these methods that I use. Good luck on your adventures. I will look for some of our favorites and get back.

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Re: Freezer meals!

Post  Mamachibi on 10/7/2012, 9:36 am

I've tried this approach, but I'm kinda physically limited and it darned near killed me to have a one-day marathon cookfest. I do cook double portions of what I'm cooking three meals a week and stick the extra in the freezer. It's been wonderful to have food on hand to give a sick friend or new neighbor! And we eat out a lot less often because of poor planning.

Now I just need to get a second freezer. Laughing

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Re: Freezer meals!

Post  Kelejan on 10/7/2012, 11:22 am

A couple of years ago I did a marathon preparation of about 100 meals. Chicken, beef, etc., crockpot, stir fry, and so on. I naturally bought meat on sale and worked around that. I used the FlyLady site, Leane's recipes. I found it very useful and this winter I will have another session, maybe not 100 meals, but for e.g., five different meals in a crockpot, or five different meals using chicken.
There are many different ways to cut the workload by preparing several meals at once.
Just because I am now a singleton, I don't have to shop for one or prepare one item at a time. I buy family packs and split them into two-person portions. If I have company, I just double up as necessary.
I do precook things like pulled-pork and roasts and package them in single portions.

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Re: Freezer meals!

Post  CindiLou on 10/7/2012, 12:34 pm

@Kelejan wrote:I naturally bought meat on sale and worked around that. I used the FlyLady site, Leane's recipes.
I do precook things like pulled-pork and roasts and package them in single portions.

I have several of Leane's meals I love to freeze! But the recipe I use the most is my own meatloaf recipe. I just make to meatloafs and put one in the freezer uncooked! I am always cooking several portions of boiled chick for example, seperate and freeze. And I do chop and freeze the extra onions, peppers, ext.

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Re: Freezer meals!

Post  cheyannarach on 10/7/2012, 2:30 pm

Thanks for all the responses, I will deffinately have to look into some of these cookbooks and check out the fly lady.
I also have a quick question about freezing potatoes. A lot of people from different sites I used for recipes complained about their potatoes turning black in the freezer. I went ahead and froze them anyway but I used the ball blue book for blanching instructions and so far they look good in the freezer, anyone else have a problem with taters or other veggies that I should be aware of?

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Re: Freezer meals!

Post  Kelejan on 10/7/2012, 3:56 pm

@cheyannarach wrote:. . .
I also have a quick question about freezing potatoes. A lot of people from different sites I used for recipes complained about their potatoes turning black in the freezer. I went ahead and froze them anyway but I used the ball blue book for blanching instructions and so far they look good in the freezer, anyone else have a problem with taters or other veggies that I should be aware of?

So far I have had success with mashed potatoes. I lost too many poatoes in the past by not using them in time, so I prepared mashed potatoes and divvied them up into single portions, so now I take out a portion as I need it, heat, then add the salt and other stuff and they taste just like freshly made.

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Re: Freezer meals!

Post  cheyannarach on 10/8/2012, 12:53 am

OH Good to know, I hadn't even thought of doing mashed potatoes yet. I did see a recipe for twice bakes that freeze well too! I love me some taters!

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Re: Freezer meals!

Post  plantoid on 10/8/2012, 8:44 pm

We try and not do a complete frozen meal
we tend to freeze veg separately and bulk cook a 15 pound joint of beef in the slow cooker along with onions, celery , carrots , a can of chopped tomatoes and a lump of turnip .

Cook for 8 hrs on low then leave to cool over night . Remove the joint and make 2 gallons of redwine and onion gravy .
Thin cold slice the beef into 3 people sized portions and bag it , adding 1 & 1/2 cups of the gravy then freeze upright and once frozen vac pack it and label.

We just microwave the spuds once washed clean ..( .leave the skins on ) after pricking them with a fork . Occasionally part microwave them and finish off in a hot oven for 12 minutes or so whilst the rest of the meal is getting built/cooked.

The blanched veg gets vac packed & frozen in 3 person amounts and we usually nuke in the peirced bag if it is greens or steam it if it is roots .

We stopped using premade mashed spuds for we found out from the diabetis team who look after me .....that me eating precooked spuds was one of the worst kind of ways of getting excess carbs quickly & a blood sugar high .
They are one of the highest carbohydrate foods with a high glycemic index around , if you add butter & milk then it is even worse for my health .

Though if you must freeze mashed spuds Laughing , add a knob of butter and a splash of milk them , you may as well as add a generous sprinkle of nutmeg before you mash the spuds up , for the nutmeg flavour permeates the mash well when you freeze it.
Thawed & reheated they can be stirred & eaten as is , added to fish for fish cakes ... painted in beaten egg and dusted with crushed cornflakes or bread crumbs or left just plain then pan fried both sides till golden brown .

Or
Pan fried in a smidgeon of olive oil to a golden brown after adding ... sweated fine chopped onions and cooked chopped greens to make " Bubble & squeak " .

We also do several chickens at a time in the big slow cooker .
slice off the breasts first and the legs then break the carcases in halves add the veg and some red wine .
The breasts are vac packed raw , so are the by now skinless legs .
Some of the breasts are " kiev'd " by me and are stuffed with all sorts of filings .

Occasionally we do a big slowcooker of turkey or other meat and veg's and again make gravy enhanced packs up .

I've made about 15 gallons of soups this year & frozen it . Most are a simple all garden produced veg bases with a can of toms and a pint or less of of tom juice & a decent spoon full of mild cury powder that has been fried in a decen knob of butter with an equal part of flour. Occasionally if the chicken carcass has been cooked out there will be the stripped off chicken meat that was left on the carcass
added to the soups before freezing them

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Re: Freezer meals!

Post  Nonna.PapaVino on 10/8/2012, 9:47 pm

Plantoid, great breakdown of pre-made, ready to heat and serve meals. Thank you for the ideas. Only thing I would add is that potatoes cooked fresh, with skins on, isn't the killer portrayed by lots of "diabetes educators." Yes, potatoes are easily digested, but with their skins and a goodly dose of other vegetables (like in your soups), guarantees the 'taters don't digest so fast that you get a huge "sugar" high like you'd get from commercial, processed mashed potatoes. My experience? I'm a Type 1 diabetic, totally insulin-dependent and very careful about sudden sugar spikes. Potatoes are to be used in moderation, but not avoided. Besides, I'd rather have a serving of potato than an equal carb. count from white bread, and know I'm getting more nutrition.

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Re: Freezer meals!

Post  cheyannarach on 10/9/2012, 8:49 am

Wow, great read Plantoid! Thanks so much for the info. I will deffinately have to give your red wine gravy a shot! I want to have a variety of frozen meals that need little of nothing added to them for the times I work late and hubby is home with the kids, he's a pretty good cook when he wants to be but is also famous for putting dinner off when he's not in the mood. Or for those busy days we just don't have time. We are getting half a beef in a month so I want to get some ideas for the meat by then too! Thank you for the great recipes plantiod the Bubble and Squeak sounds yummy too! I haven't done any mashed potatoes for the freezer yet, just blanched some diced taters and added to beef stew and a broccoli sausage potato casserole for now Very Happy . And Nonna I am not diabetic but would agree I'd rather take the tater than the bread Very Happy

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Re: Freezer meals!

Post  Nonna.PapaVino on 10/11/2012, 8:12 pm

This evening I took a container of lentil/kale/potato soup out of the freezer and was amazed that the potato actually kept its original texture--it was a Rose Finn potato. Past experiences with freezing potatoes gave a consistence of watery mashed 'taters. Didn't know a good waxy potato could freeze so well. Wonder what they use in the frozen breakfast hash found at, say, Costco, etc.? Nonna

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Re: Freezer meals!

Post  quiltbea on 10/12/2012, 11:48 am

Lots of great suggestions here for make-ahead meals. Thanks everyone.
As for mashed taters, they take less than a half hour from peel to done so having them fresh doesn't take much time even in a hurry and they taste best. When I want a fast tater for the family, its always fresh-mashed. Some folks even like them mashed with the peels on. While the taters are boiling, you can prep the rest of the meal.

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Re: Freezer meals!

Post  FamilyGardening on 10/12/2012, 12:29 pm

last night we cooked down 23 pounds of tomatoes to make pasta sauce.....from the garden Shocked thanks to those who suggested to freeze the tomatoes as we go in order to have enough ripe tomatoes to do something with....it really worked out well..... cheers

we were going to hot water bath the sauce and can it....but at the last min decided to put some ground turkey meat into some of the sauce to make some freezer meals instead..... Very Happy

since we are so new to pressure canning we will only can the approved receipes from the Ball canning book....so last min change turned into 4 Qts zip lock bags of pasta sauce with meat and 3 Qts zip lock bags of seasoned tomato sauce......

love these freezer meals.... :drunken: ...even though its only sauce.....it makes it so much easier for our family to have home cooked meals that hubby and my 12 year old daughter can pitch in to help make dinner on nights im not feeling well....(suffer with migraines and an old back injury)

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Re: Freezer meals!

Post  plantoid on 10/12/2012, 12:45 pm

@Nonna.PapaVino wrote:Plantoid, great breakdown of pre-made, ready to heat and serve meals. Thank you for the ideas. Only thing I would add is that potatoes cooked fresh, with skins on, isn't the killer portrayed by lots of "diabetes educators." Yes, potatoes are easily digested, but with their skins and a goodly dose of other vegetables (like in your soups), guarantees the 'taters don't digest so fast that you get a huge "sugar" high like you'd get from commercial, processed mashed potatoes. My experience? I'm a Type 1 diabetic, totally insulin-dependent and very careful about sudden sugar spikes. Potatoes are to be used in moderation, but not avoided. Besides, I'd rather have a serving of potato than an equal carb. count from white bread, and know I'm getting more nutrition.

I'm a type two and am into the fourth week of " The Diabetic Expert course " offered by our National Health Service ... it's all about learning to live with it & minimise its effects .

Spuds are high in carbohydrates and as I'm trying to get some dietary control over the disease cutting down spuds is an easy way of achieving it .
They are of a high glycemic index with or without the skins which means they turn up the blood sugar levels very quickly and to a blood sugar high which makes things worse for anyone who is diabetic type two & on medication for it .

The pre cooked spuds are pure carbohydrate there is little or no vitamin or trace elements left after they are reheated . Same with frozen baked pootatoes or oven baked spuds that have been cooked for over 1/2 hr & standing under a heated display shelf light .

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Re: Freezer meals!

Post  cheyannarach on 10/13/2012, 12:57 pm

So I just had an AHA moment last night at work. Meatballs, I am going to make a bunch of meatballs and seperate them into different batches of meal sized portions, individual sized portions, and different kinds like barbeque, sweedish meatballs, spaghetti and meatballs. Just have to wait now until I get the beef.

Plantiod, do you ever use cinnamon with meals/drinks, I read the other day that it helps prevents spikes and keeps blood sugar stabalized. I am sure you already know this.

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Re: Freezer meals!

Post  FamilyGardening on 10/13/2012, 4:03 pm

i love this youtube channel.....thought this was an awesome idea!making up a large batch of bread doe to make into rolls and freeze the doe to use later to bake....love this idea Very Happy

* Homemade Rolls Everyday for a Week Out of One Recipe *

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxZAqo06yaA&feature=channel&list=UL

*Making different Breads from One Recipe*

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j07N2gFjRQM&feature=channel&list=UL

in this video she shows you how to make the bread doe....she is too funny! Razz

*Making Bread and Rolls*

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ob-Y3GdVN98&feature=plcp

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Re: Freezer meals!

Post  donnainzone5 on 10/13/2012, 9:39 pm

Will the doe fit into your freezer? Do you skin her before mixing with other ingredients? Doe + dough might make an interesting piroshki! (LOL)

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Re: Freezer meals!

Post  cheyannarach on 10/14/2012, 12:10 am

Thanks for the links Rose! I made a loaf of white bread for the first time yesterday and called my mom and asked her if I could bribe her with a fresh loaf of bread to watch the kids while I was at work. She said she would rather have wheat bread with millet, and to her suprise I had an herbed millet bread waiting on her arrival, she didn't even think I knew what millet was let alone know I would have it on hand. She called today and said it was the best bread she ever had.

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Re: Freezer meals!

Post  FamilyGardening on 10/14/2012, 1:43 am

donnainzone10 wrote:Will the doe fit into your freezer? Do you skin her before mixing with other ingredients? Doe + dough might make an interesting piroshki! (LOL)

Embarassed rofl rofl

oh well.....im sure we could find room for a buck

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Re: Freezer meals!

Post  nycquilter on 10/14/2012, 8:14 am

Freezing ahead has been a mainstay in my home for decades--especially since I returned to school and had even less time. We make about 3 gallons of chicken stock every few months and freeze it in pint and/or quart containers. Ditto for any soups--especially Italian wedding, beef/mushroom/barley, and given our zucchini harvest this summer, zucchini soup. I have cabbage and meatballs, beef stew, fabada, paella, pulled pork, and can't remember what else in there now. I also love to prepare breaded and sauteed cutlets--pork, chicken, eggplant--basically anything that can be pounded flat or sliced thin--and keep those in the freezer. Add a salad and a carb and dinner is ready quickly.

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Re: Freezer meals!

Post  cheyannarach on 10/14/2012, 1:37 pm

Yum, cutlets sound like an excellent idea! Thanks, your soups sound fabulous do you have a recipe or do you just toss things in like I do?

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Re: Freezer meals!

Post  nycquilter on 10/14/2012, 1:45 pm

I have a recipe (somewhere) for the zucchini soup--likely in the country house and I'm not there now. If you want, PM me and I'll remember to get it to you. The other two, we sort of free-ball it--chicken stock, meatballs and Israeli couscous are the main ingredients for the Italian wedding. For the beef/etc soup, it's flanken (don't know the English translation), beef ribs, carrots, onion, garlic, mushrooms (all kinds), celery. Cook til yummy, cool, pull meat off bone, return to pot, add barley and cook until done.

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Re: Freezer meals!

Post  plantoid on 10/14/2012, 5:05 pm

@cheyannarach wrote:So I just had an AHA moment last night at work. Meatballs, I am going to make a bunch of meatballs and seperate them into different batches of meal sized portions, individual sized portions, and different kinds like barbeque, sweedish meatballs, spaghetti and meatballs. Just have to wait now until I get the beef.

Plantiod, do you ever use cinnamon with meals/drinks, I read the other day that it helps prevents spikes and keeps blood sugar stabalized. I am sure you already know this.

Thanks .. Yes ...
I love it but when you have it in strong sweet tea or instant coffee that has a good dose of fully condensed cream or evaporated milk in it ..... it kind of defeats the object .
I like it in a curried sort of meat , in home made sticky ribs or chicken BBQ sauces and love it in chewing gum.

I also like it in bagels which are now apparently off the menu due to the very high carb content ( despite them having holes in the middle ).

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Re: Freezer meals!

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