Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Freezer Cooking

Here is the link for this Ham and Potato soup!

I have not done much freezer cooking, but when I have, it is so productive. There was one day in particular that I planned about a dozen things to make and freeze, and it was so nice over the next couple of weeks to have things already prepared in the freezer that I could just pull out, thaw, and cook. Here is a list of the things (that I can remember!) from that day, and some other suggestions of things to make and freeze:

Italian Pasta Bake
Gluten Free cupcakes
Meat mixture for Meat-Stuffed Potatoes
Spaghetti Sauce
Easy Breakfast Casserole
Apple Bread (Or any kind of bread or batter, really!)
Yogurt Pops - There are more fancy ways to do it, but we just froze vanilla yogurt, or a mix of strawberry and vanilla yogurt for an easy, healthy snack in the summer for the kids (and the parents, too!)
Sloppy Joes
Apple Butter
Cookie Batter
Muffin Batter
Mexican Pizza

Here is the link for this breakfast casserole, which is different from the one mentioned above.

Another idea, is the idea of cook once, eat twice. Which basically means you cook a double portion of a meal, and freeze the other half, since you are already going to the trouble of making it, and prepping everything, you may as well make more and have another meal already made. And to avoid getting sick of stuff, just stick it in the freezer and eat it a few weeks later. No one will remember :)

On Tuesdays when I teach for Classical Conversations, and then we have swim lessons that night, and I am super exhausted and always have to grab a nap...those are days when I never have the energy to cook. So I always try to have something planned for those days, whether it be in the crockpot, or something that is already in the fridge, ready to be cooked. Because if I don't have something planned, then there is the tendency to go out for dinner, or I end up waiting until the last minute to figure out what to make, and then it is too stressful.

Here are some links to websites that have blog posts about freezer cooking, or whole sections of their blog dedicated to freezer cooking!

Heavenly Homemakers: I love this website right now! She provides tons of recipes and lots of her blog has posts about how to make things and freeze them, how to work ahead in the kitchen, how to plan ahead for breakfasts, meal planning, and healthy recipes. She also has a blog post about freezing muffin batter so that breakfasts can be easy and premade, but the cooked muffins don't dry out in the freezer. She also has cookbooks available for purchase! I frequent her blog often!
Pioneer Woman: Of course, my beloved Pioneer Woman. She had a whole episode on her show about freezer cooking, and how she uses all the stuff she packs into her freezers. Check out the link for her blog post!
Food Network: Check out this link for some options from the Food Network on different kinds of food to cook ahead, and freeze, including Christmas cookies!!
Allrecipes: They don't have much on this website, but a few recipes and videos for some freezer options.
Organized Home: Has a whole section dedicated to Freezer Cooking and how to cook once, and eat for a month!
Money Saving Mom: Has a lot on how to do freezer cooking as well as crockpot freezer recipes!! Now that I will have to check out!!
Once a Month Meals: Their whole website is dedicated to freezer cooking, they have gluten-free options, and you can pick which ingredients you want to use!! Including no-cooking prep days!!

Well, I hope these links and recipes give you some ideas and get you thinking of how you can make things easier and more practical in the kitchen! I love to cook, but I know not everyone does, and even though I do, I don't always feel like it. Or life is just busy for that season, and I don't have the time or energy to get in there every night to prepare a meal from scratch. So this method of freezer cooking lets me decide when I have free time, and then use it to make my life easier during the hectic times. And as always, leave other (kind!) suggestions or other links in the comments section! Happy cooking!!