Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Freezer Cooking 101



This is actually my second attempt at doing some freezer meals.  We are  going to pretend the first one didn't happen though because after about 5 hours in the kitchen and nothing much to show for it *except for a huge mess and some chopped veggies and some twice baked potatoes* I was d.o.n.e!  

This go-round was much MUCH better and I actually had a GREAT time doing it! Many thanks to my sweet friend, Lori, who shared some great resources with me (see below).
Total, I spent about two hours cooking (maybe a little more because I was also trying to keep up with RG some of the time).  In those two hours I ended up with 2 dozen mini corn dog muffins, 6 meals and only one mess!! :) I was quite proud of myself!

Here, I am going to give you a little step-by-step on how to make your life easier by Freezer Cooking:

(1)Make a list of recipes (I used crock pot ones so I could just throw the whole meal and cook it without turning on the oven- trying to keep the house as cool as I can in this summer heat!)
(2)Make a grocery list of all the ingredients you don't have and go shopping (don't forget freezer bags!)
(3)get all your ingredients together for the meals you will be cooking
(4)chop all of your veggies and mince your garlic
(5)label all of your bag's with directions
(6)add meats (if it calls for chicken breast's I use two or three tenders instead of one breast)
(7)add veggies
(8)add other ingredients
(9)let air out, seal the bag and lay it flat (I lay bags in cookie sheet then when they are frozen stand them up vertically to save room)
(10)FREEZE :)

Here are the meals that I made:
-Teriyaki Chicken
-Savory Chicken
-Cilantro/Lime Chicken with black beans and corn
-Mini Corn Dog Muffins (toddler friendly)

I wish that I could take credit for all of these awesome tips, but really, I didn't come up with all of it.  I am just as "new" to this as some of you...
These steps and recipes I used are from the blog: Ring around the Rosies.  Check out her post on Freezer Cooking {here}.  She has tons of great recipes (and tons of toddler friendly meals that I am sure we will be using soon) that are all in a easy format to read and print too (you can download them in pdf too!).

Each recipe I used made enough to split into TWO freezer bags and easily fed our family (of two adults and a toddler) dinner and at least one lunch.  Like Jaima (the autor of Ring around the Rosies) said, I loved cooking this way because I made more than a weeks worth of food in a couple of hourse, plus you can choose all healthy natural ingredients to put into your meals.

Now, for the recipes I used:

Teriyaki Chicken:


Medium to Large bag of carrots
Red Onion cut into large chunks
4 Garlic cloves (minced)
4 Chicken breasts or 8-10 tenders
1 cup of Teriyaki sauce 

Split between two bags, seal, mix, lay flat, freeze

Directions for bags: 
add additional 1/4 cup of Teriyaki sauce to crock pot. cook low 6-7 hours. serve over hot rice

Savory Chicken: 


4-6 chicken breasts (8-12 tenders)
2 cans stewed tomatoes
4 tablespoons of white wine (or extra broth) 
1 large onion
4 garlic cloves minced
1 cup of chicken broth (see how I made mine below or choose a bpa/msg free one)
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 bay leafs
4 cups of broccoli (add while cooking)

split between two bags, seal, mix, lay flat, freeze

Directions for bags: 
cook on low 6-7 hrs. add broccoli during last 3o minutes. remove bay leaves before serving

Cilantro/Lime Chicken (with black beans and corn)


6 chicken breasts
3 Tbs olive oil
2 limes, juiced
2 cups cilantro
1 large bag of frozen corn (or two smaller bags)
4 minced garlic cloves
1 finely chopped red onion
2 cans of black beans, rinsed
2 tsp cumin or chipotle powder
salt/pepper to taste
 

split between two bags, seal, mix, lay flat, freeze

Directions for bags: 
cook on low 8 hours or high 4 hours, serve with hot tortillas or tostitos. Dress with sour cream, guacamole, and/or cheese

Mini Corn Dog Muffins

3 cups AP flour (I used Gluten Free)
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon salt
2 cups of milk
1/2 cup of melted butter
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
8 hot dogs (I purchased all natural, you could use chicken ones too)
2 cups corn meal
2 Tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
4 eggs
1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

split between two bags, seal, mix, lay flat, freze

Directions:
Cut hot dogs to toddler size pieces (I decided to just cut hot dogs into thirds and put one part in each muffin- it turned out waaay too much bread and not enough meat- next time I'll follow directions ha)! In a LARGE bowl, mix dry ingredients together and slowly add wet in order listed. Fold in diced hot dogs. Line 2 muffin tin's with wrappers. Scoop mixture into wrappers. Bake at 400 for about 15 minutes. (Mine made exactly 24 muffins)
Once cooled can be frozen for up to two weeks. Remove, thaw, re-heat.

Shreeded Chicken and Chicken Stock
(I choose to cook this on the stove top while I am preparing all of the other meals)
4 large chicken breasts
2 large onions- sliced
3-4 large carrots
4-5 stalks of celery
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper (or other seasonings) as desired

Directions:
Put all ingredients into a pot of boiling water and cook until chicken is cooked throughout (30ish minutes). Remove all veggies and bay leaf and discard. Remove chicken and let cool completely. Using a fork shred the chicken and put in freezer bags.  
Directions to write on freezer bag: add to sandwiches, chicken salad, quesadillas, tacos, salads, etc!
Pour your broth into ice cube trays and freeze (I didn't do this the first go-round and I realllly wish I had- my stock takes up so much space in large containers!) Once the cubes are frozen, remove and place in freezer bags. Use as needed in soups, casseroles, stews and other recipes!

and an after picture of my freezer :)
Do you freezer cook? If so what are your favorite recipes?

6 comments:

  1. I am horrible about planning ahead. I do, however, make and freeze meatballs, marinara, and chocolate chip cookie dough. You know, the basics.

    Great post!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am definitely flagging this post so I can come back to it and try out some of these tips!!

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  3. WOW! I totally thought freezer meals were different than this! I pictured having to actually COOK a ton of meals. Love that you have crock pot meals frozen! You've inspired me!

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  4. I have to share my stock methods for you, you get so many more minerals and it's cheap and easy! I love the little collage pictures you made, you're so techy! Also a freezer meals tip that it looks like you followed but I usually forget is write the directions on the bags before you fill them!! Oh, there it is, number 5, see I would have missed it again!

    ReplyDelete
  5. the corndog muffins look great. You said you used too much flour - did you fix it in the recipe?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Do you put the meal in the crock pot still frozen or defrost first?

    ReplyDelete

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