Freezer Sessions 2020...

Discussion in 'Holiday Cooking' started by AuntJamelle, Jan 2, 2020.

  1. AuntJamelle

    AuntJamelle Well-Known Member

    Happy New Year to all!!! It’s time to start a new thread for this years efforts to fill our freezers!

    Share all of your plans, progress, tips and tricks! :)

    Anything new you want to try stocking the freezer with this year?

    How do you keep track of what you’ve got on “ice”?

    Can’t wait to hear about everyone’s plans and progress!

    Minta and girlsinmo like this.
  2. AuntJamelle

    AuntJamelle Well-Known Member

    Here is a Fun Freezer Tip to get us started!

    Many of you may know this trick, but just in case! I think we all know that if you choose to line your baking dishes with aluminum foil before filling and freezing you can pop the frozen block of food out and store it in a freezer bag while returning your dish to the cupboard.

    In order to get the foil to fit down in any pan/dish perfectly you can simply turn the pan over, place sheet of foil over the bottom and press with hands to shape the foil around the sides of the pan. Gently lift up and foil will hold perfect shape of pan. Turn pan over, gently snug foil down in place.

    No more futzing with the corners, etc. Easy peasy!!!
  3. sweetpumkinpye

    sweetpumkinpye Well-Known Member

    WOW, AJ what a great tip, I never thought of doing it like that.

    I will be doing several meal prep days again this year. Maybe 2-3 in all. One just before Winter and definitely in the Spring. I need to be more prepared with meals for the busy times of year especially around Christmas and New Years. I will admit though it is so hot here at the moment we are not eating much. My freezers are very full so really need to pick a quiet day put on my gloves and give them both a jolly good tidy up and inventory. I am sure that there are things lurking in there that I have forgotten.

    AJ, thanks for keeping us on track throughout 2019 and best wishes to you for 2020
    girlsinmo, Minta and AuntJamelle like this.
  4. Holiday_Mom

    Holiday_Mom Well-Known Member

    Tips - I have college, high school and middle school aged children who help with dinner prep. Some nights they are on their own for cooking. I've learned to label each freezer bag with the type of meat and if it is for a youth group dinner or a party. I've also had to start labeling food in general if I am planning on cooking a meal with it that week. If the item says "Mom" on it, hands off. LOL! I can't tell you how many times I was going to put a meal together and ingredients were already eaten.

    Another tip that I learned from my mom - any container labeled "Liver" will not be touched. Thus, that was how Christmas cookies baked and frozen in November made it to December 25th at my house growing up.

    Something to try this Winter - My dd made an appetizer on Christmas Eve for the 7 of us. It was really good but time consuming for her. I'd like to try making it and then freezing it. If it bakes well after defrosting, then I'd make those appetizers again.

    Future Plans in the Spring - We'll be having a confirmation party in March, an Easter meal in April and then graduation parties in May. We usually do all the cooking and baking for the gatherings but dh suggested getting the meats pre-cooked from the grocery store since we will be in track season with day long meets. I will have to think about the menus for each event and see what the costs are for pre-cooked grocery meals.

    Future Plans in the Summer - I will be prepping and freezing meals for our vacation in June and July. After a day of being outdoors, the last thing I want to do is cook. Having meals ready to go on vacation helps as does having everyone pitch in.

    Future plans in the Autumn - I will be prepping for Thanksgiving dinner, meals for busy December evenings, brunch and Christmas Eve.
    Minta, girlsinmo and AuntJamelle like this.
  5. sweetpumkinpye

    sweetpumkinpye Well-Known Member

    Mary, great plans. I always feel better when I have even loose plans in place
    Doesn't this sound so far away?
  6. AuntJamelle

    AuntJamelle Well-Known Member

    It does sound far away!!!! Lots of time to plan and prep!!! :D

    Katrina - I always keep a pair of gloves near my freezer for those times when you need to be "in" the freezer longer!

    Mary - I can't label anything "Liver" because my family knows we never buy it! LOL I'll have to think of something else!

    Another Freezer Tip for lining pans...

    If you prefer not to use aluminum foil for whatever reason, you can also line a pan with parchment paper although it is not quite as easy. I tear off or cut narrower strips that are about twice as tall as pan sides. I fold them over the sides so that paper comes down and into the pan/dish bottom just slightly. I use wooden clothespins (the kind with springs) to hold the paper in place. Then I tear off or cut a piece to fit the bottom and snug it into place. You can fill and freeze with clothespins still in place. Then once frozen solid wrap in extra paper or freezer paper or whatever. You could use a large 2 gallon size freezer bag depending on how big your dish was.
    Holiday_Mom and Minta like this.
  7. Holiday_Mom

    Holiday_Mom Well-Known Member

    I did my first bulk cooking today. I made up a 6 qt. crockpot batch of chicken chili for youth group dinner tonight and then I took some for our dinner. ;) I made up 4 lbs. of meatballs and put them into the freezer. I've not made meatballs for a long time but I wanted to try it again. I made one batch using my go to recipe and then I tried a batch using a new recipe. We'll see in the next month or so which one the family requests me to make again.
    girlsinmo, luludou and AuntJamelle like this.
  8. AuntJamelle

    AuntJamelle Well-Known Member

    That is awesome, Mary!

    I went through all the freezers this weekend and did a quick inventory - will update my spreadsheet this week.

    I've been getting a strong urge to do some canning too - haven't in over a year and it's time!!! I have lots of fruit in the freezer that I plan to turn into jams, etc. over the next few months. Planning on canning in late summer/August has not been working for me in recent years.

    I'm just too busy with birthdays, back to school, HGP, Christmas Prep, vacations, etc.

    SO I am going to do it when the weather is cold and I won't mind having a piping hot kitchen!!!!

    Freezer Tip: If you have a chest freezer one thing that can help keep it organized is to use fabric shopping bags, various sizes, to keep like items together. I use one for all the small bags of chicken stock I have frozen. They may have been frozen flat, but they slide around like nobodys business if you try to stack them. It's nice to have bags of the different meats - no more digging for ground beef - all in the same bag! If I am really on my game I staple an index card to the bag - with the contents written on it in sharpie marker.
    girlsinmo, Holiday_Mom and luludou like this.
  9. AuntJamelle

    AuntJamelle Well-Known Member

    So while browsing for Easter recipes I was reminded of something I've been wanting to try for years - and I think I can make it so it can be frozen ahead. It's just a filled puff pastry type of thing - and the recipe calls for flash freezing 10 minutes before baking - I don't see why I couldn't just transfer to freezer bags until baking time.

    The mixture for the filling calls for shredded chicken, curry powder, chutney or orange marmalade, onions, mozz or pepperjack.

    I think I can sub some onion powder for the fresh - and I think BOTH types of cheeses are called for. More cheese is always better in our house!

    Finally, I am tempted to sub Apricot Preserves for the orange marmalade - and that would help use up the jar I'll open when I test making Rugelach cookies.

    My wheels are turning now!!!!
    girlsinmo and Holiday_Mom like this.
  10. PamelaG

    PamelaG Moderator Staff Member

    You are all amazing! Our fridge/freezer combo has a ridiculously small freezer so just putting a few things in for a few weeks ahead fills it to the brim. I am looking forward to the day I have a large freezer and can put some of these great tips to work.
    girlsinmo and AuntJamelle like this.
  11. Minta

    Minta Administrator Staff Member

    I will be big into freezer meals this year. I come home from work the other day and my son who is in 8th grade goes Guess What ..... I have been recruited to join the HS track team next year. He is all :D and I am all :eek:. The HS and middle are right next to each other and the gym classes at both schools share the track field, apparently he caught the attention of the track coach during his gym time. We already have marching band from Aug to Nov so now I have to add in winter and spring track. So our plan this spring is to buy a stand up freezer to use in addition to our chest freezer and small refrigerator to keep in the garage. The only problem is the last time we had a refrigerator in the garage during the summer it kept tripping the gfi so we are going to hire an electrician to come in and add a new gfi line to its own breaker in the electrical box. Now I need to go through all my PW cookbooks and mark off the meals I want to use as freezer meals :D
  12. sweetpumkinpye

    sweetpumkinpye Well-Known Member

    Minta, congratulations to DS, it sure does make a busy year for you.
    Glad that you had the heads up so that you can get a good start on prep.
    girlsinmo, Minta and Holiday_Mom like this.
  13. Holiday_Mom

    Holiday_Mom Well-Known Member

    ROFLOL! Oh, I have tears from laughing. I can relate to that feeling... Hang in there! My dc keep reminding me that I will look back on these days fondly as I am looking at the calendar for the next few months.
    jampss, girlsinmo and Minta like this.
  14. Minta

    Minta Administrator Staff Member

    Thanks ... Nice to know I an not alone LOL ..
  15. Minta

    Minta Administrator Staff Member

    I am looking to get a food saver type of system but there are so many out there. Do any of you use one? Looking for recommendations please .. thanks
    girlsinmo likes this.
  16. Ahorsesoul

    Ahorsesoul Santa's Elves

    I have a FoodSaver but have not used another brand. My last one stopped working after the move. It had been less than a year old so they sent me a brand new one after I mailed the other back. I love them.

    FoodSaver 4800 2-in-1 v4840
    Minta likes this.
  17. Myron's Mom

    Myron's Mom Well-Known Member

    I have a FoodSaver too. Mine is about 10 years old. I think my husband bought it from QVC. I love it and use it for everything. My son and cousin have them too and have been very happy with them. I bought my sons at kohl’s. I generally buy the foodsaver brand bags at kohl’s with all my coupons. I’ve used bags from Cabella’s and can’t say I see any difference. My cousin buys the cheaper bags from amazon and says they work fine.
    Minta, AuntJamelle and Ahorsesoul like this.
  18. AuntJamelle

    AuntJamelle Well-Known Member

    I've been on the fence about getting a FoodSaver for years - I should probably look into it!!!

    Baked double batch of chocolate chip cookies (my new recipe) and got those in the freezer yesterday - will be for goody bags at DS's party in a few weeks...

    Baked a couple pies too - but those went home with a friend!;)
    Holiday_Mom and Minta like this.
  19. Holiday_Mom

    Holiday_Mom Well-Known Member

    Over the course of the last few days, I made a big batch of vegetable stock, chicken stock, and about 7 lbs of shredded chicken.
    AuntJamelle and Miss JoDee like this.
  20. AuntJamelle

    AuntJamelle Well-Known Member

    Nothing much to report - froze a whole chicken I bought - that is it! LOL
    Holiday_Mom likes this.

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