Crazy Woman Freezer Cooking

Can I give you some tips when it comes to freezer cooking and/or cooking in general?

1. Don’t plan on a lot of cooking for the freezer on the day of your daughter’s birthday when you’ve promised her a beautiful fairy cake and a dress shopping trip. You will only stress yourself out because there are too many things on your plate, and it’s your fault that it’s like that.

2. Don’t make a list so long that no human being could do it on their own, let alone one who has help, aged 2 to 4. Moderation is good in all things, even freezer cooking.

3. Never ever bake an eggless chocolate cake with extra virgin olive oil. It won’t work. Trust me on that one.

I did all three things on my last freezer cooking day. And while the day started out all fine and dandy, I started to feel anxious right around lunchtime. Luckily, I was holding my list “loosely” and felt okay not to get it all done.

Recent Freezer Experiments Experiences

Stew Starters - I saw on Pinterest the idea of putting uncooked slowcooker stews in freezer bags and freezing them that way. The examples I saw included a lot of vegetables that I thought might be too vulnerable for freezing without blanching them first. So, I opted not to take that exact route. But, I did do some experiments by creating three different stew starters: bags filled with meats,seasonings, and aromatics that can be dumped in the slow cooker. I am excited to try these out this month.

Freezing Co-op Produce – We recently joined an organic produce co-op. Since I didn’t want to feel stressed about using everything up in a short amount of time, I made a point of processing the corn and beans to freeze. This was great because now we’ll have the tastes of summer a month or two down the road. Capturing summer in the freezer – who knew?

Baked Oatmeal Unbaked – I’m testing out my Raspberry Baked Oatmeal for the freezer. This time I used blueberries instead of raspberries and I froze the casseroles before baking.

My Overly Ambitious List

I don’t know what I was thinking! I ended up taking shortcuts, delegating things to kids, and changing plans midstream. The things that are crossed out are the things that actually happened.

  • corn to freezer
  • blanch green beans
  • bag mozzarella cheese
  • chop bell peppers and freeze
  • cook ground beef/make meatballs, changed this to: make meatsauce and hamburger patties
  • freeze bananas for smoothies (delegated this to a child)
  • make baked oatmeal and freeze
  • zucchini bread
  • zucchini cupcakes, changed this to: the fated chocolate cake with evoo
  • decorate cupcakes, changed this to: decorate cake
  • soak beans
  • carnitas in crockpot
  • instant oatmeal
  • pumpkin muffins
  • make stew in bags
  • pesto
  • roast, peel, and freeze chiles
  • cook chili
  • make mashed potatoes
  • bake hamburger buns

Overall, I’m pretty happy with the process and our freezer looks full again.

How did your recent freezer cooking go?

Curious about freezer cooking? Consider purchasing my cookbook, Not Your Mother’s Make-Ahead and Freeze Cookbook from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or your local bookstore. It’s chock full with over 200 freezer-friendly recipes, planning pages, shopping lists, cooking plans, and basic and advanced how-to’s to making freezer cooking work for any home, family, and lifestyle.

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Comments

  1. Mine was a bit different because it included more of cleaning out the fridge and grabbing the last usable produce from our ‘garden’ than it really did freezing lots of food.

    Froze individual chicken breasts bought in a larger package at a better price.

    Froze whole tomatoes for chili or pasta later.
    .
    Froze jalapenos and hot peppers for later.

    Used up the odds & ends in the fridge to make fresh salsa.

    Peeled and prepped two bags of carrots to eat for lunch/snacks this week.

    Making baked oatmeal for the freezer later today.

  2. I love the idea of having slow cooker meals packaged in the freezer to throw in the crock pot! I’m going to have to check into that.

  3. Here in West Texas, the heat finally broke and it was only about 80*, so I cranked up the oven and made some goodies for our back-to-school continental breakfasts…Pretty pleased with myself, as this is my first big cooking since baby #6 was born 4 weeks ago. Tomorrow we’re making breakfast cookies and bran muffins.
    2 loaves cinnamon raisin bread
    5 dozen mini banana chocolate chip muffins
    2 dozen pumpkin chocolate chip muffins
    1 dozen dairy/egg free banana muffins
    4 dozen persimmon cookies

  4. My freezer is still looking pretty empty- I’ve been focusing more on things to put in the kids lunches now that school has started. I’m really trying hard to avoid the prepackaged stuff, so we’ve been doing lots of muffins, granola bars, etc. And hard boiled eggs! :) Hopefully I’ll get back on track with my freezer stuff soon!

  5. I took advantage of a recent sale on chicken and ground beef to put several meals in our freezer. It took several hours over the course of a few days to get it all done, but it feels nice to know that I have some meals on hand. It also prompted me to get the freezer organized, clean out things that were freezer-burned (boo!), and find some things I didn’t know were in there. I’ll be able to use some of those “surprise” finds in muffins this week!

  6. I like the stew idea! What is your recipe for the Tex-Mex stew? D0 you freeze your pesto? If so, how?

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      I’ll be posted the stew recipe later this month. Just freeze the pesto as is. You can add a thin layer of olive oil if you want to prevent browning.

  7. how do you freeze fresh mozzarella cheese??

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      Well, it’s not “fresh” in the sense that buffalo mozzarella is fresh. This is just your standard aged mozzarella for pizza. I buy a huge bag from Costco and then repackage it in meal sized portions.

  8. I too had big aspirations for a freezer cooking plan. I took some time off from work. But, morning sickness got the best of me and I had to abandon some of my plans. Here’s what I did get done!

    - Pizza Dough (x3)
    - Hamburger Buns
    - Lasagna Roll-ups
    - Stuffed Shells
    - Roasted red peppers to freeze
    - Carmelized onions to freeze
    - Roasted, pureed & froze in-season veggies to “hide” in dinners to come (used in stuffed shells and lasagna, too)!

  9. I love the stew in a bag idea! Stew is a good freezer meal in that it can be stretched on the day of serving or transformed into a pot pie of sorts when served as leftovers. It just takes a lot of prep time. It would be great to reduce or cut out some of the prep time on the day I serve the meal.

  10. Jessica, I don’t know how you accomplished what you did! It sounds like it was a crazy day!!

    Here is my tally for the day:

    http://www.momsplans.com/2011/09/freezer-cooking-results/

    I found it better this time to just make a large quantity of a few meals. :)

  11. TwoDiffSocks says:

    oooo stew in a bag! would you please please post recipes….i need all the help i can going bach to work. thanks :)

  12. I blanched and froze 52 ears of corn this weekend. Super easy and fun!
    http://thewaywesave.com/index.php/freezing-sweet-corn-for-winter/

  13. Thanks for these tips, especially the crock pot bag one. Brilliant! I have got to get back into freezer cooking. Life has gotten crazy lately, and I find that if I’m not prepared, we just don’t eat! I am going to spend some time reading your tips this week. Thanks so much.

  14. I’ve done that crock pot bag thing a few times before. It works great.

    I’m going to cook this weekend. I’ll try to use this as my reminder not to plan too much! I’m thinking red sauce, eggplant parm, stuffed peppers and blanching or dehydrating some veggies.

  15. AllieZirkle says:

    This is the best title…

  16. I’m curious about the eggless cake. Do you have a recipe for that?

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      You can google “wacky cake” – it’s a pretty common chocolate cake recipe that has no eggs. Just don’t use evoo.

  17. I’m curious…why was the olive oil so gross? I mean, it sounds kind of…wrong to me, but olive oil cake IS a dessert…

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      Typically, light olive oil is fine in baking. I do it all the time. This was extra virgin olive oil which has a MUCH stronger flavor. I had heard that before, but didn’t believe it. Until now.

  18. Valerie says:

    Hi! Can you freeze ranch dressing? I want to freeze a sauce of 1/2 cup ranch dressing mixed with 1/4 cup teriyaki sauce but I am nervous about it freezing well and thawing well? Thanks!

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      You could try it. But, I’m a little skeptical that it would work. Is it homemade ranch dressing or bottled?

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