Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Something More than Restaurant Meals!

My friend, Kate, at Cooking during Stolen Moments posted her top 10 freezer recipes today so I thought I would explain and share what I have done in the past to help my grandmother and my parents have healthy meals in the freezer to eat rather than eating nothing or eating out at restaurants every day.

I make sure that I had some freezer containers that are acceptable for the freezer and could be used in the microwave. My best bet is getting some Rubbermaid type containers because those probably will last longer than getting just Gladware or Ziploc brand plastic containers. I get various sizes and types of containers, so that you can have some for soups, and some for a full meal(maybe look into getting one that is divided into compartments). I also get some quart size freezer bags for those food items that don't need to go into a plastic container. I get enough so that I can do a week's worth of dinner meals. Now I have my containers I can fill them!!

What are good things to put in those containers?:

Things with a cream or milk based, I have not had good success with freezing them. Also anything with noodles in it, I don't cook the noodles all the way. That way the dish doesn't end up with mushy, broken down noodles.

Other items that could be put together...

For sloppy joes, and BBQ pork or beef, I put these into individual serving type containers. Then I put the container and a hamburger bun in a ziploc bag so that the person I am making the meals for would know that the two things go together.

For the meatloaf, I make them into individual mini loaves and cook them and then once cooled wrap in foil or plastic wrap and then stick in a freezer bag labeled "meatloaf". That way they could take out the individual loaves and heat up rather than a big loaf. I would also do up some burgers by cooking them and then individually wrapping them and placing them into a quart size ziploc bag.

As for other meals, like breakfast type things, I do up pancakes, french toast, breakfast sandwiches(english muffin or biscuit, cheese, eggs, and a meat), and breakfast burritos. Wrap the sandwiches individually and place in the ziploc bags. For the pancakes and french toast, I would just put wax paper between the layers or flash freeze them and place them in a freezer bag.

Don't forget to add some baked goods to your meals! Homemade breads, quick breads, cookies, coffee cakes, and cakes freeze very well! I even take the time to slice and wrap the breads and cakes into individual servings. Then I put them in a ziploc bag with a label.

The main thing to remember with doing freezer type cooking is that some meals will have a bit of texture change with being frozen compared to being fresh. So I do not make up too many meals ahead of time. Also make sure that you get your containers back so that you can do "refills" for your loved ones!

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Lori.... said...

Really great ideas!!! I'm bookmarking!

Jen said...

I recently found your site and think it's great. Full of tons of info! Thanks for these tips.