Author Topic: Freezer Cooking Recipes and Tips  (Read 4280 times)

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still in va

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Re: Freezer Cooking Recipes and Tips
« Reply #15 on: April 06, 2012, 10:31:56 PM »
I do a lot of freezer cooking and prefer the kind of cooking where you assemble, then freeze, then thaw, then cook.  I don't much care for reheated foods, but that's a personal preference.  I mostly do batch cooking where I triple or quadruple a recipe and throw the extras in the freezer because it's usually not much more effort to make four times the recipe than it is to make one.  I like to do this especially when there's a particular kind of meat that's on special.

this is what i do as well.  there's no way i'd be able to devote two days a month to cook mass quantities of edibles to eat for a month.  but putting a couple of meals in the freezer when i cook something?  that i can, and do, do regularly.  and honestly, if one plans to do this at least once a week, it doesn't take long to have a good assortment of meals, ready to go, in the freezer.

i never stopped cooking for four, even after the kids grew up and moved out.  i just had the leftovers for another meal.  depending upon what the meal was, they were either reheated later in the week, or frozen for a month or so down the road.

blarg314

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Re: Freezer Cooking Recipes and Tips
« Reply #16 on: April 07, 2012, 10:11:36 PM »

From a chemical perspective, freezing tends to break down the structure of the food, making it mushy. As water freezes, the ice crystals expand, which tends to break down cell walls. So crispy vegetables or delicate fruit will tend to come out soggy - think of the difference between a fresh strawberry and a thawed one.

When I freeze sauces and soups, I tend to chop things like celery and mushrooms fairly finely, so the difference in texture doesn't matter much. Pureed and roasted vegetables freeze well. I will often make pureed vegetable soups and they freeze and thaw beautifully (broccoli, carrot, cauliflower, asparagus, pumpkin, squash, etc).  I don't generally freeze milk based soups (like chowders), because the texture goes downhill. 

I avoid freezing potatoes, and I don't freeze pasta unless it's filled (it's so easy to cook the pasta while I thaw the other stuff). I do batch make and freeze lasagna, tortellini, ravioli and gyoza.  Rice and beans freeze beautifully, although I don't freeze Chinese fried rice with egg.

Spaghetti sauce freezes well, as does chili and stews (without potatoes). Pesto freezes well - it's usually recommended that you add the cheese after thawing. A lot of curries freezes well, particularly tomato based ones.  I've frozen coconut milk based curries (Thai, for example) with good effect, although the oil tends to separate out a bit. Shredded pork type dishes freeze well too.

One trick I used a lot when single was to pre-freeze meat.   You can saute whole chicken breasts, freeze them, and use them thawed to toss on pasta, or in a salad, or sliced in a sandwich. You can also pre-cook things like ham (or simply slice smoked hams into single serving packages). When I make things like sausage patties or crab cakes, it's easy to make extra and freeze the rest.  I also pre-cook and freeze beef shanks, because they take two hours to cook but are great in stews and curries.

Simple steamed vegetables can freeze well, though at that point it's easier and cheaper just to buy frozen vegetables.

MacadamiaNut

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Re: Freezer Cooking Recipes and Tips
« Reply #17 on: April 07, 2012, 10:30:34 PM »
Finally, on Macademia Nut's comment about freezing bread...Yes!!  It took me forever to learn this, and now I'm trying to teach my roomie, who is one of those people who keeps it refrigerated.  This does nothing to preserve freshness.  Keep it in a cupboard and then put directly in freezer.  There's almost no bread that suffers from this.

That's totally what I do.  Except I put a bit aside in a sealed bag if I *know* I'll eat it in the next few days and then I freeze the rest right away or at latest the next day.  So much less wasted food and the bread is just fine once it defrosts. I have found that the sooner you freeze it, the better (FYI). :)
Paperweights, for instance - has anyone ever established what, when, and why
paper has to be weighed down? ::) ~Don Aslett

cicero

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Re: Freezer Cooking Recipes and Tips
« Reply #18 on: April 08, 2012, 03:15:48 AM »
like a lot of the PPs - i do both big batches of soups/stews/chicken etc that i freeze AND i also freeze what i call 'from scratch raw igredients' like soaked and/or soaked and cooked beans, chicken breast marinated and frozen uncooked, prepared hamburgers (uncooked), etc.

cooked foods that freeze well:
soups - chicken stock, bean soup, lentil soup
stews etc - beef stew, meatballs (both baked plain or cooked in tomato sauce)
chicken - i often grill up a batch of chicken breaast then freeze in individual bags. I take these to work - make up a big salad, slice up the chicken, mix.
baked beans.

prep foods:
beans - i soak and sometimes even precook (plain, no spices) 1/2 lb worth of different types of beans, then freeze in individual portions.
dump chicken - marinade chicken in a bag, freeze. the night before you want to use, put in fridge to defrost. next day - dump into a pan and bake till ready.

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Outdoor Girl

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Re: Freezer Cooking Recipes and Tips
« Reply #19 on: April 08, 2012, 04:21:10 PM »
I make my own TV dinners.  I'll cook some sort of meat and a couple of different vegetables to go with it.  If it is beef, I'll undercook it so that when I reheat it in the microwave, it cooks to what I like and doesn't get tough.  For pork and chicken, I dont' like to take that chance.  I'll undercook the non-root veggies just a bit so they don't get mushy.  Beets, carrots and turnip freeze well.  Beans from the garden tend to get a bit rubbery but the flavour is still good.  Broccoli freezes OK but cauliflower and asparagus get mushy.  The only kind of potatoes I'll freeze are mashed or scalloped.  Any other way and they are awful.  Even the mashed and scalloped aren't the best but they are palatable.

Rice and pasta freeze well but like the veggies, undercook them just a bit.

I'll freeze just about anything that could be considered liquid rather than solid, like sauces, chilli, soups.  And my favourite casserole to make and freeze right now is lazy cabbage rolls - I think I posted the recipe.

For packaging my dinners, I have some plates with lids that are vented so I cover the plate with some plastic wrap and use the vented lid to hold the wrap in place.  I also have some Tupperware and other brand containers that are air tight.  For my dinners, I put them in the fridge freezer and take them for lunch, eating my biggest meal then.  Then I'll grab my soup or chilli for dinner and have my smaller meal in the evening.
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twiggy

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Re: Freezer Cooking Recipes and Tips
« Reply #20 on: May 29, 2012, 07:13:18 PM »
I like to buy those huge pork shoulder roasts when they're on sale and throw them in the crock pot. I usually cut the roast into 4 pieces and I do

1. http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/2010/02/slow-cooker-carnitas-recipe.html
2. plain, then shred for when I need a protein, or for tacos/quesadillas
3. with BBQ sauce for pulled pork sandwiches
4. with a packet of McCormick Fajita seasoning for fajitas. I also saute some onion/peppers/mushroom and freeze them separately from the meat. Then on Fajita night, I just need tortillas and sour cream

All 4 freeze well. 
In the United States today, there is a pervasive tendency to treat children as adults, and adults as children.  The options of children are thus steadily expanded, while those of adults are progressively constricted.  The result is unruly children and childish adults.  ~Thomas Szasz

twiggy

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Re: Freezer Cooking Recipes and Tips
« Reply #21 on: May 29, 2012, 07:20:48 PM »
I also used this recipe as the basis for my Party Pasta http://www.myonceamonthcooking.com/2010/03/12/pasta-primavera-alfredo-oamc-recipe/ I use whatever veggies I have on hand, or feel like grabbing. I've used asparagus, eggplant, onion, green beans and corn in addition to the veggies she uses. It's always turned out well. Her recipe is veg, but DH prefers to have some kind of meat, so I've thrown in cooked: shredded chicken/pork, cubed BL/SL chicken, ground beef/pork/turkey. I have made it with both alfredo sauce and with tomato sauce. I also add in either ricotta or shredded mozerella/parm before I freeze it. On serving day, I still sprinkle the top with fresh parm as well.
In the United States today, there is a pervasive tendency to treat children as adults, and adults as children.  The options of children are thus steadily expanded, while those of adults are progressively constricted.  The result is unruly children and childish adults.  ~Thomas Szasz

Isometric

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Re: Freezer Cooking Recipes and Tips
« Reply #22 on: May 30, 2012, 11:45:36 PM »
I don't set aside days for mass cooking especially for the freezer, but every meal I make, I always allow extra so there is a serving or two left over. The PP who mentioned about the consistancy changing is spot on - the food will never be as tasty as fresh made, (soup seems to be the exception, and I'm sure there's a few others) but it's a small price to pay for a convenient, healthy meal after a long day!

I also agree with the idea of adding an easy fresh component after thawing, like sprinkled cheese, or making the rice fresh to go with frozen stirfry vegies.

AustenFan

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Re: Freezer Cooking Recipes and Tips
« Reply #23 on: May 31, 2012, 01:14:03 AM »
I buy the cheap store brand freezer bags that come in different sizes.

I put the freezer bags into a casserole dish, then pop it in the freezer. When its frozen remove the dish, the meal will be frozen in the shape of the container I'm rehating and serving it in. When I'm ready to cook/reheat I run some hot water over the bag to loosen it and pop it back into the dish I froze it in to cook.

It requires a bit more work in the beginning, but works better for me than individual portions or freezer bags in random shapes since I cook for 5.

MacadamiaNut

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Re: Freezer Cooking Recipes and Tips
« Reply #24 on: May 31, 2012, 09:32:31 AM »
I buy the cheap store brand freezer bags that come in different sizes.

I put the freezer bags into a casserole dish, then pop it in the freezer. When its frozen remove the dish, the meal will be frozen in the shape of the container I'm rehating and serving it in. When I'm ready to cook/reheat I run some hot water over the bag to loosen it and pop it back into the dish I froze it in to cook.

It requires a bit more work in the beginning, but works better for me than individual portions or freezer bags in random shapes since I cook for 5.

That's a really nifty idea, AF!
Paperweights, for instance - has anyone ever established what, when, and why
paper has to be weighed down? ::) ~Don Aslett

Nika

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Re: Freezer Cooking Recipes and Tips
« Reply #25 on: June 15, 2012, 01:21:09 PM »
Whenever I have fondue, I like to make a beef broth for it. I use pretty strong flavors; lots of broth, red wine, garlic, onion, bay leaf, etc. Anyway, then I put it in the fondue pot and eat as normal.

Here's where the freezer comes into play: when I'm done eating, there's always some broth left in the pot that has reduced down almost to a syrup from all the heat. I put the broth in a baggie in the freezer, and then when I go to make soup or stew I can throw the frozen broth in to make the base. Because it is so flavorful from being reduced, it pretty much just needs water and then there you go! You have ready made broth.
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