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Freezer Cooking Wrap Up

So, how did you do? Was this your first time freezer cooking? Did you survive?

Perhaps this is old hat to you and you whipped through your list lickety split. Did you try any new recipes or streamline some of your cooking techniques?

Or maybe you were reading these freezer cooking posts wondering what kind of crazy people you had encountered.

Hopefully, if it was the latter, we’ve encouraged you to give freezer cooking a try.

But, I like to cook every night….

Just so you know, I love to cook. I love to eat. But I love having evenings where I don’t have to do anything if I don’t want to. That’s how freezer cooking can benefit foodies as well.

Despite my freezer cooking efforts, there is always something to prepare. And that is where the foodie in me gets daily creative exercise. If the main dish is already taken care of, I can prepare a nicer salad or side dishes, experiment with artisan breads, set a prettier table, or just have a calmer, more joyful disposition.

Freezer Cooking Produces Results

These chicken tacos are a snap to prepare if the chicken is already cooked, seasoned and shredded — and waiting in the freezer. Just add tortillas and your favorite toppings.

This past week I set out to tackle four mini-cooking plans. They didn’t all go according to plan, but my family and I have plenty of meals and meal components to draw from over the next for weeks.

Round One featured ground beef and turkey:

  • 12 Hamburgers – uncooked, seasoned patties
  • 6 quarts Meat Sauce – a variation on my red sauce
  • 2 Lawnmower Taco – a casserole my kids love
  • 44 Chimichangas – actually frozen burritos that we can microwave or crisp on the griddle at serving time

Round Two continued with more ground beef freezer meals:

  • 2 dinners Seasoned Taco Meat – this makes for an easy dinner, just add toppings and tortillas or taco shells
  • 3+ dinners Chili – quick to reheat later and serve “as is” or use to top hot dogs
  • 2 dinners Meatballs – so versatile, we use them on pasta in a red sauce or with gravy over mashed potatoes
  • 2 dinners Meatloaf – same mixture as the meatballs, just in a different shape

Round Three made use of lots of bone-in chicken breast:

  • lots of Shredded Chicken – love this for easy sandwich filling, pizza topping, or to add protein to a salad
  • 3 dinners Chicken and Bacon Subs – an experiment from last month that worked out well. I found decent priced breads to make two dinners worth and then made a kit with the fillings in separate bags and a bag of homemade buns.
  • 2 dinners Chicken Taquitos – yummy and quick to reheat
  • 3 dinners Tortilla Bake w/ Chicken and Poblanos – an experiment that I’ll let you know about later.
  • Garlic Bread – a super big hit around here

Round Four saw some altering of plans:

  • 2 dinners Queso Fundido – a not so healthy, but totally yummy taco dish
  • Pizza Kits – Usually, I just do sauce and toppings, but this time I did everything. Aimee has made me rethink it as a do-able option. I made one batch of her dough and one batch of mine. I’ll let you know how the experiment turns out.
  • I had also planned on stuffed chicken breast and chicken in marinades. But, the grocery sales did not cooperate with me. I do not pay more than $2 a pound on boneless, skinless chicken. So, I’ll wait for a sale and do a mini cooking session later in the month.

If I did my math right, I have the makings of at least 33 meals in the freezer, enough to lighten my load come dinner time.

So, how did you do?

Share your freezer cooking successes in the comments or in Mr. Linky below. Got a question? Post it in the comment section.

Photo Source: GoodLifeEats

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Comments

  1. I had a bit of a difficult time coming up with a plan this month because I don’t want to run my oven in the summer months. I know you live in Cal., so how do you handle the oven issue in the warm months? Doesn’t it heat up your whole house?

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      @Melissa, many of my meals don’t have to use the oven. They are nuke, grill, or crockpot. But…. it also hasn’t gotten hot yet here in San Diego.

  2. Will you be posting a taquito recipe? This is something I’m really curious about…

  3. I use the easy pizza dough recipe from Tammy’s Recipes and I actually like how it turns out better when I freeze the dough (in balls) ahead and then on the day of baking the pizza I let it defrost on the counter most of the day then prepare as usual. I’m not sure what it is but it turns out great this way!

  4. My bulk-cooking weekend started on Tuesday of last week. I had a breast biopsy scheduled for Friday but still wanted to participate.

    It took me three full days, but I got it done. It was great to have some food in the freezer for the weekend and beyond, so that I would have time to recover.

    thanks for including me!!!

  5. Melissa says:

    I still haven’t managed to do a whole freezer cooking session, but I did prepare lasagnas…one to eat last night, plus three more to feed our family and one larger one for guests some night. It is really nice knowing those meals are ready! I would like to give your Garlic Bread a try, then the meal would just about be covered!

  6. I’m crazy curious about your taquito recipe too! Love those frozen from the store, but would rather not put all that processed-ness into me and my family.
    Great inspiration, thanks!

  7. I would love your taquito recipe! You and your freezer cooking ways are such an inspiration to me!

  8. Heather says:

    I have enjoyed reading about your freezer meals, hope to try it out soon! Thank you for the recipes, they are frugal and unique.

  9. Christa says:

    I also did mine in a matter of days…

    baked oatmeal – banana, peanut butter/choc. chip, blueberrry
    oven french toast
    frozen fruit cups
    make ahead garlic bread
    taco meat
    carnitas taquitos
    beans
    red sauce
    southwest rolls – chicken and ground beef
    meat loaf minis 3 ways – american, mexican, italian
    chicken kabobs
    pineapple chicken marinade
    wonton beef firecrackers

  10. My mom, two sisters and I had a blast cooking together on Friday. I’m already planning what I want to cook next time. :-)

  11. I couldn’t do it this month. At almost 39 weeks pregnant, I just don’t have the energy or the motivation. I am thanking the Lord for the meals I have in the freezer and the wonderful family and friends who are bringing meals as soon as the baby is born! But I love a lot of your ideas and recipes and I plan to use some of them to adjust my freezer cooking day in July (hopefully there will be both a baby and more energy at that point!)

  12. I cooked up 4 pounds hamburger meat yesterday for Tacos…I think this freezer cooking may work for me! I read that you freeze your cheese…do you freeze cheese already shredded in the package or do you shred it and then freeze it? I am wondering how defrosted chesse will turn out… Thanks!

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      I freeze grated cheese in plastic bags and it always turns out great. If you freeze a block of cheese, it doesn’t do as well. It crumbles when you try to slice or shred.

      • @Jessica Fisher,

        Put a frozen block of cheese on top of your frig for 24 hours. It will then be soft and warm. Chill in the frig, and voila! perfect texture restored!

        I have done this MANY times, and none of us have died yet, nor have I noticed it spoiling quicker.

        • Jessica Fisher says:

          @Rachel, hmmm, well, let’s just say that the Food Safety commission wouldn’t necessarily agree. ;) I’m a food safety stickler. But, I’m glad you haven’t died.

        • @Rachel,

          Hee hee! I guess someone should send you a copy of Sally Fallon’s book “Nourishing Traditions” . . . what with all the fermenting of foods that she recommends, just leaving a sealed block of cheese out sounds pretty tame! :)

          It’s taken me a long time to drop even part of my safety fears, but honestly, how did the human race survive thousands of years without refrigeration, or the Food Safety Commission? When I think of it that way, it helps me to not be so paranoid about things.

          I’m not criticizing you at all! I’ve been there, and I’m still half there! :)

        • Jessica Fisher says:

          @Rachel, no offense taken. ;)

      • @Jessica Fisher,

        And while I’m at it, are you planning to post the recipe for those Chicken Bacon Subs? That’s what I was looking for on this post anyhow . . .

  13. I completed my freezer cooking today…Life was a little crazy this weekend. It took me 2 days (including some housework I needed to do) and I completed…
    3 rolls of Chocolate cookie dough
    30 corn dog muffins
    23 brown bag burritos
    3 lasagnas
    3 calzones
    24 butterhorns
    30 M&M mix and match muffins
    4 bags of shredded chicken (to use for soup or whatever)
    30 sausage, egg, and cheese muffins
    2 cups chicken broth
    2 jars salsa

    I also chopped the onions & peppers for the jambalay for the party on Saturday.

    Overall, I think it was a success. I REALLY like the sausage, egg, and cheese muffins, but the corn dog muffins came out a little dry for me, so I may try to tweak that recipe a bit for next time.

    I have a family of 3 (my husband, 4-year-old daughter, and myself), so this will last us a while.

  14. Well, I am a few weeks behind the rest of you ladies but I have finally begun my first freezer cooking weekend. My poor little deep freeze isn’t sure what to think.

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