MASTER Freezer Cooking Thread - All Plans!

Discussion in 'Holiday Cooking' started by AuntJamelle, Sep 3, 2015.

  1. AuntJamelle

    AuntJamelle Well-Known Member

    Since the concept of making ahead meals for the freezer is part of all three plans followed by many of our members, this thread is a place for all to share their tips, tricks and recipes as we try to "feed our freezers" in the run up to the holidays!

    This link found under the Christmas Countdown Plan has a lot of good information:

    http://organizedhome.com/freezer-cooking/guide-once-month-cooking

    There are many styles of freezer cooking.

    1.) The above link seems to trend more towards OAMC or Once a Month Cooking - which is doing a WHOLE LOT of meals all at once.

    2.) There is also something called Batch Cooking, where you might do a handful of meals at a time.

    3.) Then there are those that simply cook extra - if lasagna is for dinner they make 2 - one for dinner and one to freeze. Or they may tend towards browning up large batches of ground beef or cooking/shredding chicken - all with an eye to jump starting meals later.

    Whether you fall into category 1, 2 or 3 or even a blending - please jump in and contribute your know how!

    A big hang up for many is knowing whether or not a particular recipe or even food item will stand up to freezing. If you've made a freezer recipe and had it come out great after thawing and cooking - we want to know about it!

    Tips or tricks on packaging, storing items in the freezer or even how far ahead you feel things can be successfully made/frozen are great too!

    As we work our way towards the holidays it would be great to see posts from those who are filling their freezers - what you are trying, etc.

    :snowman:
     
  2. AuntJamelle

    AuntJamelle Well-Known Member

    I'll kick things off with one of my favorite recipes discovered last Fall, this one requires no cooking on the day you prep it for the freezer and is cooked in a crock pot the day of serving - WIN WIN! :)

    Crock Pot Beef and Mushrooms

    http://fabulesslyfrugal.com/freezer-meal-recipes-crock-pot-beef-and-mushrooms/

    This can be made with either the cooking wine called for or you can sub apple juice. I have always served it over mashed potatoes but it would also go well over rice, buttered egg noodles, riced cauliflower or cooked spaghetti squash.

    It does call for cream of mushroom soup and I intend to try making this with a DIY version of said soup at some point - maybe not this Fall though.

    The one gotcha about this recipe is the thaw time - it really does need to thaw a FULL 24 hours before cooking. And it takes a long time in the crock pot too so planning ahead on those two points is key. But as long as you do this is a very simple and yummy meal!
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2015
  3. piratemamaof3boys

    piratemamaof3boys Well-Known Member

  4. AuntJamelle

    AuntJamelle Well-Known Member

    Great recipe, piratemama! Totally pinned that one!!! :)

    I am definitely a blend of #2 and #3 myself - I have never attempted to cook a month's worth of meals at once. Maybe someday!

    Here are a few more recipes we've had that turned out great after being frozen:

    Pioneer Woman's Chicken Spaghetti - Comfort food for sure!

    http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2007/06/chicken_spaghet/

    Chicken Alfredo Stuffed Shells

    http://centercutcook.com/cheesy-chicken-alfredo-stuffed-shells/

    UPDATE! I made these for freezer this weekend and realized I forgot to note the changes I make to recipe. I substitute Ricotta Cheese for the Cottage Cheese she calls for. I also add a couple of cans of mushrooms as well. I also triple the Alfredo sauce recipe. Since I'm dividing between two 8x8 pans I find this works better - and we love extra sauce!

    This one is SO good! Discovered it last Fall. I've made it with store bought Alfredo (still good) and I've made it with her recipe for the sauce (DIVINE!)...

    Broccoli Cheddar Soup

    http://organizerbyday.blogspot.com/2013/12/broccoli-cheddar-soup.html

    This made a large enough amount that we had some for dinner and I froze the rest in a big ziplock laid flat in an oval shaped dish. The thought being that I could pop the oval shape into the crock pot when the time came. I needn't have bothered because once it sits in fridge overnight it is pliable enough to slide right out into crock pot. :)

    I was initially leery of this one as a freezer recipe - how can that creamy cheesy soup possibly reheat from frozen okay? Well, I was happy to be wrong! It was awesome!
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2015
  5. luludou

    luludou Well-Known Member

    Thanks for all the great recipes and tips. The spaghetti is the same as my rice & chicken casserole except substitute the rice for the spaghetti and yes it freezes very well. The beef & mushroom recipes I have to try for sure!

    Love all the others but have to limit my cheese intake :( so makes for boring dishes!
     
  6. AuntJamelle

    AuntJamelle Well-Known Member

    luludou - Here is a freezer recipe that no cheese :)

    Shredded Chicken with Mexican Spices

    http://www.food.com/recipe/shredded-chicken-for-enchiladas-tostadas-tacos-169500

    It is so flavorful and reheats beautifully either a little bit at a time "broken" out of the bag and reheated in microwave or altogether in a crock-pot. I've served this as part of a Mexican theme buffet at a party to rave reviews.

    I'm a cheese lover but this stuff is good enough that cheese isn't absolutely necessary.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2015
  7. luludou

    luludou Well-Known Member

    Thanks AJ! will try it out :)
     
  8. CheeryChick

    CheeryChick Member

  9. Ahorsesoul

    Ahorsesoul Santa's Elves

  10. sweetpumkinpye

    sweetpumkinpye Well-Known Member

    Love the taco lasagne. That will be great for the upcoming summer. I can serve that hot with a lovely fresh salad. YUM!
     
  11. AuntJamelle

    AuntJamelle Well-Known Member

    I'm all OVER that board you posted CheeryChick! :) Can't wait to browse it all!

    Here are a few more recipes that are tested and AuntJamelle Family approved for yumminess post time in the freezer!

    Creamy Chicken Taquitos

    http://fabulesslyfrugal.com/freezer-meal-creamy-chicken-taquitos/

    The freezer friendly part of this is that the meat mixture is made ahead of time and frozen. I freeze flat in a small ziplock bag. Then just thaw overnight in fridge (or last minute in microwave - I just peel the bag off and put frozen slab on plate to defrost) and use to fill your shells.

    We prefer to fill less shells with more mixture - making each one a more hearty serving. And it uses less shells/carbs :)

    Instead of cooking spray we brush with oil and use our NuWave oven to air "fry" them. Very, very good and such a quick easy meal for me to pull together on week nights!

    Creamy Beef Taquitos

    Same recipe as above but instead of shredded chicken I use shredded beef made by cooking the roast part of this recipe here:

    http://www.heatherlikesfood.com/beef-and-blue-sliders/

    From a 2 lb roast I have enough for a double batch of taquito filling plus another 3 cups or so that I just freeze plain. Can use for many different things including as a jumpstart to the beef and blue slides recipe itself!

    Focaccia

    http://cooking-from-scratch.blogspot.com/2010/11/focaccia.html

    Just tried this one this weekend and it was a HIT! Made it, cooled it, sliced it, froze it in zip locks. Then we decided we wanted bread with our pizza last night and pulled some slices out, thawed for a few seconds on each side on defrost in microwave and had warm yeasty goodness!

    DH was very impressed and we decided this was a keeper! Split in half it will make great paninis and I think it will make outstanding cheesy garlic bread too. More on that later!
     
  12. AuntJamelle

    AuntJamelle Well-Known Member

    Here is a recipe for Ricotta Cheese Meatballs that I've made and flash frozen unbaked before transferring to a ziplock for longer storage.

    http://www.cinnamonspiceandeverythingnice.com/ricotta-cheese-meatballs/

    These make an easy weeknight meal if I pop a tray in the oven to bake while I cook the noodles for spaghetti and warm a jar of sauce on the stove. When meatballs are done, I add them to the pot of sauce.

    If I have garlic bread in the freezer that also makes a nice addition to round out the meal.
     
  13. AuntJamelle

    AuntJamelle Well-Known Member

    Here is a recipe I've made and frozen several times...

    Cheesy Garlic Bread

    1 stick butter, softened
    1/2 cup mayo
    24 oz shredded cheese, cheddar, colbby, parmesan,etc. Fresh shredded is better if you can
    Garlic Powder, to taste
    Onion Powder, to taste
    Dried Italian Seasoning, to taste
    Basil, to taste (optional)
    Oregano, to taste (optional)

    Mix all ingredients and spread of bakery style bread, halved horizontally, of choice. I often buy the thicker loaves of Italian bread from the grocery store bakery for this. However, my most recent addition to the freezer used the Focaccia bread I posted earlier in this thread.

    Halving that large 11x17 loaf horizontally (in pieces to make it more manageable and to make it fit into large ziplocks) wasn't too hard. Spread it generously with the cheese mixture and have it sitting on cookie sheets in the freezer now, getting hard. Once frozen I'll slip into ziplock bags for easy additions to Italian style meals.

    This can be cooked from frozen. 400 degrees until cheese is good and melted and starting to brown!

    The cooked, cooled bread can be frozen as well and reheated quickly in the microwave. I usually cut into individual size pieces when I do it this way.
     
  14. Ahorsesoul

    Ahorsesoul Santa's Elves

    Shredded Pork Salad

    This is one recipe I almost always have in the freezer. I do have to remember to buy shredded lettuce because it is something I do not usually have in the refrig. This recipe take a full 24 hours to make using the crock pot but well worth the time.

    I do not eat pork so I make it with beef. And yes, make the Salad dressing. It is very good. I do use chopped green chiles instead of Salsa Verde sometimes. Ranch dressing can be used as a substitute. Dh and DD never notice if I do not make the dressing but I do.

    http://recipequeens.blogspot.com/2007/12/cafe-rio-shredded-pork-salad-with-ranch.html
     
  15. HouseElf

    HouseElf Well-Known Member

    I do a little of several plans.
    I cook an extra family size serving and put in freezer, sometimes (like today) I plan on making several batches of a type of food to freeze (today is quick breads/muffins) and when we receive our fresh meat orders I prep meals for the crockpot in one go.

    I started a board on Pinterest for "weekday crockpot" meals - as that is often the time I really need to have dinner take less time to get on the table once I arrive home. This is a timely thread :) as this is my new focus with school/football starting and a real need to be more organized with meal prep and menu planning!
     
  16. CheeryChick

    CheeryChick Member

    Those look amazing! I added them to my Pinterest... :D
     
  17. sweetpumkinpye

    sweetpumkinpye Well-Known Member

    there are so many great recipes on here so far. I think I need to set aside some time to really look through and make notes.
     
  18. CheeryChick

    CheeryChick Member

    Mississippi Roast (roast beef with a kick!)
    It can be served on its own with a side of mashed potatoes, or shredded and served on a hearty sandwich roll (perhaps with some good melty cheese?). It's absolutely delicious!

    http://www.tablefortwoblog.com/mississippi-roast/#recipe
     
  19. Ahorsesoul

    Ahorsesoul Santa's Elves

    I have three dishes of this recipe in my freezer right now. Excellent
     
  20. AuntJamelle

    AuntJamelle Well-Known Member

    Ahorsesoul – That Shredded Pork (or Beef) Salad looks amazing!!! Adding that to my Pinterest board!

    Just a side note – many probably already know this but whenever I shred any meats, chicken, beef roasts like this, etc. I use my Kitchen Aid Mixer with the paddle attachment to do it quickly. Takes seconds! The meat just has to be good and hot! And I cover the mixer with a clean dishtowel while mixing so tiny bits of hot meat don’t fly out of bowl onto the floor – or onto me! I just have to be careful and check under the towel frequently so I don’t over shred and end up with mush!

    HouseElf – Love the weekday crockpot meals idea! I usually do crockpot recipes on the weekend because I am paranoid I’ll come home to a burned meal because my crockpots always seem to finish things early. Maybe I’m not filling them enough? But if I run home for an early lunch on a weekday, I could start a crockpot meal…I’ve been mulling that over so your board is timely for me! 

    CheeryChick – LOVE, LOVE, LO-OVE Mississippi Roast! Have one meal’s worth in freezer right now! Had it for the first time last Halloween. We camp with friends that weekend each year and she had it made in the crockpot – boy did that hit the spot in the chilly weather!
     

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