Freezer Cooking and an Unfinished List

I told you on Friday about my recent, and albeit, ambitious plan for freezer cooking. It all started with a trip to Costco in which I bought more than my refrigerator could hold. Apparently, my cup runneth over. It was a rather impromptu plan that I put together on my return home.

Once I had cleaned the kitchen and donned the apron, I got the main components ready, namely the spice mixes I would be using for the taco meat and the pulled pork. I buy spices in bulk and that makes it easy and economical to mix up my own blends.

I got the pork cooking in the crockpot and started some of the ground beef to cook for taco meat. On a whim, I mixed the rest of the ground beef into meatballs. I had found several containers of gravy in the freezer when I inventoried, so I knew that would be a good way to add variety to our meals this month without a lot of extra work.

I also enlisted some help. FishBoy9 helped me form the meatballs which was nice on the work end, but also nice for the companionship. He wants to be a chef when he grows up, so I am looking forward to more help in meal prep.

That first day I did cooking which resulted in at least ten meals for the freezer. A few years ago this might have been 30 meals. But, it would appear that my family’s appetites have grown. I’m going to need to step things up a bit.

 

That night I went to bed contented that there was a growing stockpile in the freezer that I would add to the next day. However, I was awoken at 5 am by a piercing beep. The freezer alarm. Apparently things were getting warm in the deep freeze. Bleary eyed, I crammed the most valuable frozen foods into the side-by-side refrigerator freezer and hoped for the best.

We think that someone placed a box of muffins too close to the top of the freezer, preventing it from sealing completely and allowing warm air in (or cold air out). As you can imagine, I was a little gunshy to tackle more freezer cooking and have it go to waste. So, we’ve been slowly eating what we already had in the refrigerator as well as researching our options for a replacement freezer. It is still running, and the alarm has gone off once or twice, only after the door was opened. So, we think the alarm just might be really sensitive.

I’ve been freezer shopping and quite frankly disappointed in the price points. I know, Craigslist, but I don’t want to do used and then end up in the same boat, with an older freezer on its way out. Our current Frigidaire is 12 years old and certainly served our family well. Not counting electricity costs, it has averaged now about $15 a year. I’d like to know how my $400 investment would pencil out.

You can be sure that I’ll update you on what I decide! In the meantime, this is how my cooking session ended:

My plan v. my results:

  • Aunt Sandy’s Broccoli and Cauliflower Soup – didn’t happen until Soup Night a few days later.
  • Chicken Enchiladas – never happened
  • Taco Meat – 3 dinners worth
  • Taco Seasoning – big batch with some leftover
  • Brats to repackage from a bulk package – 3 dinners worth
  • Pulled Pork – 3 dinners worth
  • Applesauce – never happened
  • Apple Pies – never happened
  • Muffins – one batch of Zucchini-Cranberry muffins
  • Eggplant-Squash Casserole – never happened
  • Baking mixes – never happened
  • Pumpkin custards – baked these a few days later
  • Crumb-topped cod kits – never happened
  • Added: Meatballs
  • Added: homemade BBQ Sauce
  • Added: sauteed vegetables to add to soups and stews

How did YOUR freezer cooking go?



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Comments

  1. I suggest contacting your local trade school. Students enrolled in the refrigeration(HVAC) program need something to practice on! I was able to get my fridge repaired very inexpensively going that route.

  2. I’m sorry about your freezer; I think I’d cry. I don’t do a lot of organized freezer cooking, just, most times I cook, I make at least a double batch. Chili, casseroles, soups and stews, muffins and quick breads. By the time I get my freezer about half full of meals we can go 2-2 1/2 weeks with me doing no more than heating up. I only buy meat on clearance, so I try to cook it immediately upon arriving home too :)

  3. Eeek! I would CRY…..

    I didn’t do a lot last week. With a six week old, I have decided it is easier to double or triple up one or two recipes during the week as I prepare dinners and then freeze those. Much easier (with a nursing baby than an all day session).

    I ended up freezing pumpkin chili, carnitas, and broke up a package of chicken thighs into three meals.

    Today I am making my crockpot marinara and will be freezing it later tonight!

  4. Okay, I am just so sad for you… I can’t imagine all that hard work {and $$$} going to waste. :-( I’ve never been successful in the freezer cooking department. But I know it would come in so helpful especially on crazy busy nights of homework and athletic practice.

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      Well, so far we haven’t lost anything. The freezer alarm has been steady. But, I’m on notice, so to speak.

  5. I haven’t been doing any freezer cooking…just freezer eating because my 13-year-old, 24-cu-ft upright freezer decided to stop working. The day I discovered it, I crammed as much as possible into our fridge freezer and planned 6 days’ of meals around the thawing stuff in my fridge. I continue to think very carefully about what I will buy, what I’ll cook ahead, and how I can use up some space-eater in the freezer.

    Do you mind if I continue? I’m not shopping for a freezer right now because we’re having a professional re-grout two 35-year-old bathrooms this week . I’m very excited about that, but not spending any other multi-hundred amounts for a little while.

  6. I’ve had to step it up a bit on the shopping and prep lately too. I have me, my husband, 14 yr old, 12 year old, 4 year old and I am pregnant. A year ago a casserole/bake dish would do dinner and lunch for my husband and school age children in soup containers the next day. Now, it does dinner. I have found myself buying lunch meat to supplement, which is not frugal since I buy the low sodium stuff from the deli. I also feel like I have to stay on top of having muffins, cookies, cut up veggies, so much more now. I am running out of breakfast food, for the first time in years.

  7. how did my freezer cooking go, you ask? well, i got ONE extra shepherd’s pie made for the future. yay, me!

  8. Our 1- 1/2 year old Kenmore freezer crashed on us earlier this year. Luckily, we found it before anything was ruined, but I did the shuffle/dance from garage to house. It was a massive pain. I can’t remember what was broken, but I watched him take the freezer apart and when the new part came in, my husband installed it and we canceled the repeat repair visit and saved $130! The repairman said 75% of his service calls are on “new” appliances. They are not made as well as they used to be, apparently! Hope you figure it out soon!

    Anyhow, I was super busy getting my freezer stocked and canning this past month. I’m pretty happy with the end results but would love to get more non-beef freezer meals. Ground beef always seems to be the easier thing for me to batch cook. Here are my results: http://www.simplifylivelove.com/2011/10/september-freezer-cooking-wrap-up.html

  9. kitchenwise there’s little worse than losing your freezer stash!
    Sigh – sorry – good luck finding a new one – I’m currently holding my garage freezer closed by wedging it in LOL – and trying to eat it empty so I can get rid of it – oy!

  10. We are in the market for a Freezer as well. It’s so overwhelming…would love to know what you end up with!

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      I’m just not that impressed with what you can get for $400. It’s like you have to pay a thousand dollars to have any “extras.” And for $1000, it better cook my food for me, too.

  11. Tori Palmer says:

    Last night I made homemade granola bars & froze them for future snacks for hubby & boys. This week I plan to bake Banana bread, punpkin bread, homemade biscuits, mini pot pies, sandwich bread and tortillas.

  12. I love to make an extra entree when cooking for my family. I have some regulars that I do this with and actually posted something on my blog just recently about the chicken enchiladas that I make and linked to two other recipes that are easy to make and freeze.
    This month I’ve written it into my menu planning to “make it for two”. I’m going to have a chicken and sun-dried tomato recipe this week that makes two and later in the month I’ve planned to make two chicken pot pies. Each time I will serve one and freeze the other.
    It is nice to have these to pull out next month OR to give to a friend that needs some help with dinner due to health, stress, or just needs a break!

    I’m not a pro on freezing. What do you like to freeze your meals in? I used to use the Gladware casserole pans but they seem to not be in the stores (and I worried about the plastic). I’m going to use tin foil pans and cover with foil this time.
    I would love to hear what you have found to work for you.
    Thanks. I’m glad to have found your blog!

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      I love the glass pans that come with plastic lids. Those are my favorites. But I also use aluminum with aluminum lids as well as ziploc freezer bags.

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