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Freezer Cooking Q & A

Posted By Jessica Fisher On June 3, 2010 @ 12:29 pm In Freezer Cooking,Good Eats | 22 Comments

[4]Who knew so many years ago when I bought a copy of Once-a-Month Cooking [5] that the techniques described in that book would have such an impact on my life? Then I was pregnant with my first child and had no clue how vital a well-stocked freezer and OAMC (Once-a-Month-Cooking) would someday be to my life as MOM.

While I haven’t cooked up 30 meals at a time every month for the last thirteen years, it has been a regular practice for quite some time. Increasingly so as our family life becomes fuller and more complex.

There can be a lot of confusion about freezer cooking [6], especially if you’ve never tried it. Many misconceptions are afloat…. Isn’t it expensive [7]? Don’t you get sick of casseroles every day [8]? Doesn’t it taste funky [9]?

Recently, I asked the crowd on Facebook [10] to throw me their questions. They are listed here with my answers. I hope this helps you to understand a little bit more about this wonderful, tasty phenomenon called freezer cooking [6].

[11]

What is a freezer meal?

Freezer cooking [6] is the practice of preparing several batches of multiple meals at one time and then freezing them for use later in the month. Preparing three lasagnas [12] doesn’t take much longer than making one. So, you can save a lot of time with assembly-line cooking.

A freezer meal is just a collective term for a meal that you’ve made — either partially or entirely — ahead of time. A homemade frozen lasagna [12] would be considered a freezer meal. But, so could a bag of marinated chicken breasts [13]. A freezer meal doesn’t have to be a casserole. Think about the most time consuming parts of your favorite meals and see if you can make them ahead of time [14] and freeze them.

Do you basically just cook a meal then freeze it?

It depends on what it is. Many things that I prepare for the freezer are not precooked. This would include casseroles, meats and chicken in marinades, meatloaf, and hamburger patties. I prefer to cook those on the day of serving. However, I do precook taco meat as well as shredded chicken, beef, and pork. Chili and pinto beans are other things that I cook, cool, and then freeze.

Do you have a list of recipes for the freezer?

At the moment the closest thing I have to an online “list” are the OAMC [15] or Freezer Friendly [16] categories on my two blogs.

[17]
What have you found to be the most space saving option for freezing a casserole….freeze it in a disposable aluminum pan? or line 9×13 with parchment and freeze the casserole first and then take it out of the 9×13 and put it in a large ziplock?

I prefer to store casseroles in glass pyrex dishes with foil or plastic lids [9]. I don’t have experience with lining the pan, but my friend Katie loves to save space in her freezer that way [18].

Do you have a list of how long you can keep certain things frozen?

We generally eat things up within a month of preparation, but sometimes items carry over into the next month. You can safely store frozen food indefinitely. Reference this chart from the USDA [19] for more information.

[20]

You mentioned some baking mixes that you put together and I was wondering where I could get those recipes?

I love my mixes! Oh my! I find that I am lost without a stash of mixes each month. They are great for quick breakfasts and I can tailor them to fit our food preferences. Here are some of our favorites:

Got a question about freezer cooking? I may not be able to answer it today, but I will sometime soon.


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[3] my free seasonal newsletter: http://eepurl.com/q47Vb

[4] Image: http://lifeasmom.com/2010/03/preparing-for-freezer-cooking.html/freezer-cooking-button

[5] Once-a-Month Cooking: http://astore.amazon.com/lifeasmom-20/detail/0312366256

[6] freezer cooking: http://lifeasmom.com/2010/03/preparing-for-freezer-cooking.html

[7] Isn’t it expensive: http://lifeasmom.com/2009/11/frugal-friday-freezer-cooking-on-cheap.html

[8] sick of casseroles every day: http://moneysavingmom.com/2010/02/make-freezer-cooking-work.html

[9] Doesn’t it taste funky: http://lifeasmom.com/2010/05/freezer-cooking-storage-length-and-methods-of-packaging.html

[10] the crowd on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LifeasMOM

[11] Image: http://lifeasmom.com/2010/01/meal-planning-pantry-challenge-week-three.html/carnitas-tacos

[12] lasagnas: http://lifeasmom.com/2009/01/recipe-swap-in-kitchen-with-kids.html

[13] a bag of marinated chicken breasts: http://lifeasmom.com/2010/04/chicken-in-marinades.html

[14] see if you can make them ahead of time: http://lifeasmom.com/2009/11/freezer-cooking-what-can-you-freeze.html

[15] OAMC: http://lifeasmom.com/category/good-eats/oamc

[16] Freezer Friendly: http://goodcheapeats.com/category/freezer-friendly/

[17] Image: http://lifeasmom.com/2010/05/freezer-cooking-storage-length-and-methods-of-packaging.html/freezer-2

[18] my friend Katie loves to save space in her freezer that way: http://lifeasmom.com/2010/05/foil-wrapped-freezer-meals-a-guest-post.html

[19] this chart from the USDA: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/FactSheets/Focus_On_Freezing/index.asp#19

[20] Image: http://lifeasmom.com/2010/01/meal-planning-whats-left-in-the-freezer.html/blog-944

[21] Brownies: http://www.goodcheapeats.com/2009/12/cocoa-brownies.html

[22] Biscuits: http://www.goodcheapeats.com/2010/01/drop-biscuits.html

[23] Mix and Match Muffins: http://www.goodcheapeats.com/2009/11/mix-and-match-muffins.html

[24] Basic Pancakes: http://www.goodcheapeats.com/2010/01/pancakes-easy-pantry-staple.html

[25] Scones: http://lifeasmom.com/2009/02/maple-oat-heart-scones-they-work-for-me.html

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