September Freezer Cooking

Thursday, September 18, 2014


This month I had my first experience with freezer cooking. It was a bit of a process, but one that I think will get easier, the more I do it! And I can. not. tell. you. how awesome it feels to have 21 meals in the freezer ready to be cooked. Yes, 21 meals in one day! Here is how I did it.

The first thing of course, was finding the meals I wanted to make. This took lots of looking around the internet for freezer meals. What I found that I thought would be easiest for my first time are what some avid freezer cookers call "dump" meals. Meaning nothing is cooked, it is all "dumped" into a freezer bag uncooked and then on cook day, just pour it into the crock pot to cook for the day. Below is the list of meals I chose. Click on the link and it will bring you to the recipe!

**Breaded chicken tenders are not from a recipe. I just throw various things in bread crumbs such as garlic powder, parmesan cheese, dry ranch seasoning, etc. Whatever we have on hand. Dip the tenders in egg whites, then in the bread crumbs and bake in the oven.

***We have already tried the Honey Garlic Chicken and it was delicious! To see a picture of it all cooked, click here.

Chicken
Breaded Chicken Tenders x3
 
Pork
Pork Tenderloin in Teriyaki sauce
 
Beef
 
 
 

Once I chose the meals, I then printed all the recipes to start making a grocery list. I made a list of everything I needed grouping together items so that I could see how much of each item I would need.


 Then I made a final list. Many of the ingrediants were the same for a bunch of different recipes so I added them up to make an easier to read list to use to go through my cupboards to see what I already had. I did manage to mess up my calculations (fraction math is clearly not a strong point for me) and didn't buy enough of some things. oops!


 The day before I planned to do my freezer cooking I went to the store to get ingrediants. I got some at BJ's and some at Hannaford. Here is what I came home with.


 
Now, I am ready to go! One thing I didn't think to do before I started was write on the bags before putting anything in them. I will definitely do that next time because it was a pain to write on them after.

 First I rinsed and cut the fat off the chicken and pork. This first step took about an hour, it was tedious and gross. I absolutely despise raw meat. As much as I hated working with it for an hour, the thought of not having to touch it again for a month, made it better!



Once all the meat was divided up and put into bags and the counters disinfected, I started making the marinades. I went one recipe at a time. I made the marinade in my stainless steel bowl. After I mixed it all I put it into the Ziploc with the meat.
 
Apple BBQ Sauce

 
If I doubled the recipe, I poured it first into my 4 cup measuring cup and put half in one ziploc and the rest in the other.
Honey Garlic Chicken
 
 
I then rinsed the bowls and measuring cups and would start on the next recipe, until they were done. I did have to take a break to pick up Owen and have lunch with him. Then I continued. While he was in school, I made 14 meals in 2.5 hours. When he had a rest, I made 4 more meals and chicken tenders in 45 minutes. Then I cleaned up which took 30 minutes, but included wiping down the fronts of my cupboards and cleaning my stainless appliances because that needed to be done badly, even before I started this cooking craze!
 
Totals
21 meals in 3 hours and 15 minutes!
30 minutes of clean up
 
Not bad for my first time!
 
 
Any freezer cookers out there?? Tips or Suggestions for me?? I would love to hear from you! 
 
Today I am thinking up with Krista at A Handful of Everything.


2 comments :

  1. Congratulations on your debut to the freezer prep world of cooking. Believe me, you will become extremely efficient very quickly. Dump recipes are a favorite of mine. Even if I forget to take them out of the freezer--they cook in about 35 min in my covered Dutch oven on the stove (I even top the dump with frozen broccoli spears or snap peas & it all cooks). I defrost pre-cooked rice or homemade rolls (for sliders); then just shred the meat before serving. I call it my emergency dinner.
    Here are three sites I use all the time for make ahead.
    For great tasting freezer meals: http://happymoneysaver.com/category/recipes/freezer-meals/
    Hamburger Helper--Freeze cooked meat & make up canning jars of the dry ingredients so everything is pre measured: http://myfoodstoragecookbook.com/2013/04/04/homemade-hamburger-helper-9-varieties/
    And lots of DIY mixes to bag up ahead of time from: http://chickensintheroad.com/cooking/archives/homemade-mixes/
    This approach to cooking takes the most of the stress out of cooking and once you get a stockpile it prevents "Same Old Dinner Rut Syndrome"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! It has been a lifesaver to my family already! I should have started years ago! Thanks for the sites, I will definitely be checking those out for more new ideas! Have a great Monday!

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