It’s summer time which means right now afternoon and dinner times are a bit more relaxed. I’ve still been cooking with the crockpot, but it’s so I can enjoy a day at the pool with the kids and come home to a home cooked meal.
However, school starts in less then a month and then afternoons aren’t quite so relaxed. Between homework, activities and a baby they can be down right stressful. So I’ve been looking into freezer cooking now so that I’ll have some meals on hand come those really busy afternoons.
When I recently stocked up on ground round, instead of just separating it into meal size portions and freezing, I decided to take a go at Freezer Cooking. The baby was sleeping so I figured I had about an hour. In that time, I managed to make 5 meals. One that got eaten that night and 4 to put in the Freezer for the Fall.
Now these are not gourmet meals since I am just starting My Adventures in Freezer Cooking, but they are meals none the less.
To get started I put on a pot with boiling water to make 3 pounds of penne and zitti noodles and in another pan started browning 2 pounds of the hamburger. While that cooked I cut up green pepper for all three dishes.
- 3 Baked Ziti (2 for the Freezer and one that night)
Here’s the recipe for 18 servings of Baked Ziti (divided between 3 meals)
3 pounds Zit or Penne Pasta
Thaw and serve instructions:
1. Spread Pasta Mixture in Baking Pan
Recipe adapted from Frozen Assets Book by Deborah Taylor-Hough
- Meatloaf — Used LifeAsMom’s Meatloaf Recipe — just changes out garlic cloves for 3 tsp garlic powder and used Onion Flakes instead of chopped onions since I was out of onion. I used half the mixture for meat loaf and the other half for Salisbury Steaks
- Salisbury Steaks – with the other half of the meat loaf mixture, I made eight 1/2 inch think patties. I cooked them over medium heat for about 10 minutes, turning once. I let them cool and placed in freezer bags.
When it comes time to eat, I plan on thawing and then warming them with a can of cream of mushroom soup and serving with rice.
Tips and Comments from My First Adventure in Freezer cooking:
- Be ready to Multi Task. For example, I cut my veggies and mixed the meatloaf mixture while the hamburger was browning and noodles were cooking. I used my oven timer to keep on track and not forget about items. It came in handy with the pasta and browning of the salisbury steak
- Have proper storage contatiners on hand with a Sharpie pen to label.
- While reading about Freezer cooking, it always mentions a shopping trip ahead. I did not do this. Instead I planned my recipes from what I had in my stockpile and the meat loss-leaders for the week. I had gotten the Pasta and Cheese for a great price at a Shop N Save sale. This is a way to Freezer Cook on a budget.
Do you have any great tips when it comes to Freezer Cooking? Stay tuned for more Adventures in Freezer Cooking. Next time, I’ll be making a meal for the crock-pot.