MENU

Freezer Meal Q&A: What Kind of Dishes to Use?

Last month y’all gave great advice to Jennifer who wrote in asking how a new mom could start the freezer cooking journey.

This month, we hear from Heather, who asks,

What type of dish do you recommend for putting the freezer meals in so that they can take the freezer temps to oven temps?

I’m sure there are as many different answers as there are baking pans on the market. But, what has worked for me may not work for others. I’ve tried lots of different methods for packaging food for the freezer, but I’ve settled on the following:

  • Ziploc or Rubbermaid plastic containers with lids – They can’t go in the oven, obviously, but I either reheat food on the stove or in the microwave.
  • Aluminum pans with lids that crimp closed – These are super convenient and disposable. However, there is the issue of aluminum touching your foil which some people don’t like. I bought a dozen and reuse them. But, if I take a meal to a friend, I’m not concerned with getting the pan back. They nest very well within one another, thereby not taking up too much room in the cupboard.
  • Pyrex baking pans with plastic lids – These are my favorite choice, but they are expensive and take up lots of space. Of all the choices, I think these are probably the most environmentally sound.

There are still other ways of packaging your food, like wrapping freezer meals in foil and then stuffing it in a freezer bag, using freezer bags, and using canning jars.

What about YOU?

What type of packaging would you recommend to Heather?

Would you rather subscribe by RSS?
Read Newer Post
Read Older Post

Comments

  1. When I freeze casseroles, I like to line my 6 cup Pyrex dishes with plastic wrap and freeze them. When they are frozen, I pop them out of the dish and wrap the whole thing in foil or use my vacuum sealer to keep it fresh. Then, my dish can still ne used while my casserole is in the freezer.

    I also use glass jars to freeze spaghetti sauce that I make in large batches.

  2. My rubbermaid containers have withstood faaaaaaar more freezing and thawing than my gladware or ziploc ones. If you’re going the plastic route (and possibly small meals, like our 2-person family), that’s what I’d recommend.

  3. I line my pan with foil and then freeze. After frozen I pop the frozen food out of the pan and then put the foil wrapped food in a plastic bag or plastic wrap. It doesn’t take up as much room in the freezer. When I take it out of the freezer it fits perfectly back into the pan. Another plus – I reuse the plastic and recycle the aluminum foil.

  4. Atsquared says:

    My favourite are glass Pyrex with plastic lids, but I only have so many, of course. We recenly tried lining a pan with parchment paper to freeze a veg lasagna and then pop out and wrap, but we couldn’t get it out of the pan, so we had to leave the pan in the freezer. Any tips? I was using parchment because it is compostable in our curbside organics program and because I’m trying to avoid plastic where possible. Any tips for freezing homemade stock, too? I’ve tried canning jars and had a few break in the freezer… perhaps I need wide-mouth straight-sided ones? Love this blog!! :)

    • @Atsquared, I freeze my stock in all my sour cream, cottage cheese or large yogurt containers. Works great.

    • @Atsquared, I also freeze homemade broth and soups in 32-oz yogurt containers. (I know they’re plastic, but many are #5, and you’re not cooking in them… :) ) The reason I love these is that to thaw/reheat the contents, I just run warm tap water over them for a minute, and that loosens the liquid inside enough to dump it out into my saucepan. Glass containers do not have this advantage :)

    • For freezing stock I have found two ways that are easy peasy. First, freezing in ice cube trays for smaller uses works wonders, after they freeze, put them in a ziplock. You can aslo freeze tomato juice, or paste or crushed tomatoes this way so you can save $$ by buying the BIG cans!! Another way to freeze stock is in plastic containers, or ziplock bags. Just make sure you put a bown under them while thawing, there is ususally a home somewhere! I prefer the plastic containers. leave about a 1/4 in of space at the top for expansion.

  5. I freeze casseroles in my Pyrex pans then once frozen pop them out and usually seal with my vacuum sealer or you could wrap in whatever way you prefer. I love this because they are all a uniform size so they pack well in the freezer. They also will pop right back into the pan to thaw and cook when ready to use.

  6. Because I cook a lot for ministry, I buy a thirty pack of aluminum pans at Sams for 6.88. It’s the most economical route to give away food. I wrap in heavy duty foil and stack a cooling rack or flexible chopping board in between while it freezes solid and then remove. For a pic, go to http://cookandplay.wordpress.com/2011/02/23/helping-others-in-need/

  7. I use a variety of items but something I really like is Tupperware Freezer Mates. They aren’t meant for reheating but they are flexible so your frozen food just pops right out. They also stack nicely so they don’t take up a ton of room in the freezer. My favorite use for them is to store breakfast foods such as muffins and pancakes and I also like them for marinated meat.

  8. This has some very useful information – so thank you very much. Off the subject (kinda) do you have a posted recipe for your pepper steak stir-fry? It looks fantastic!!!!

  9. This has been on my mind a lot lately. I’d like to use glass because of the concerns about plastic and aluminum, but I’m afraid since you can’t get the air out with a glass dish that the food won’t keep as long!

  10. Our Mom’s In Touch prayer group has started once a month freezer main dish swap. I don’t know what cookbook that we use, but it has been a huge blessing to all of us and others that we can bless with an extra meal we have and use it as a ministry to those outside our group as well.
    We use ziplock baggies for most of our meals. It’s challenging, but with my husband’s help of extra hands you can even freeze soup in them. then they’re flatter and take up less space.

  11. My favorite containers are the ones made by Glad – I think they are called “ovenware.” They can go in the freezer, fridge, and dishwasher and you can bake in them up to 350 or 400 degrees. I reuse them with no problems.. they seem much sturdier than aluminum pans. I also use freezer bags for non-casserole type meals.

  12. I have some tupperware freezer-mate containers that I use, but once that is used up, I would do the mold technique. I would line my pyrex dish with parchment paper and put my food in the lined dish. Then after it had frozen, I would pop it out of the dish and put it in a ziploc freezer bag. This worked perfectly for us when we were freezer cooking for the baby coming. I didn’t have any problems with this method.

  13. Danielle L. Zecher says:

    When you freeze in the Pyrex pans (the ones that come with their own plastic lid), do you have to put those pans in a freezer bag to prevent freezer burn? Or is the pan/lid alone good enough?

    Thanks!

Thanks so much for participating in this conversation about "a mom's life."

This is a place where moms can be themselves. Remember that each mother's path looks a little different. Please keep your comments respectful and kind. Reasonable minds will disagree in a nice way.

So let's talk about it, using "our big girl words."

Share Your Thoughts

*