Freezer Cooking

Freezer Series: Saving Money Freezing

by Beth Montgomery on September 17, 2009

in Frugal Series


Why am I so into freezing foods and freezer cooking? To be honest, some days I just don’t feel like cooking, so freezing saves me time and it saves me tons of money! And, obviously, saving money is something I’m definitely into.

5 MONEY SAVING REASONS TO FREEZE FOOD
1.) Instead of heading to a restaurant on days I just don’t feel like cooking, I can pull a ready-made and healthy meal out of my freezer to simply heat up.

2.) You can stock up on foods when they are at rock-bottom prices, and then freeze them to extend their shelf life. It will keep you from ever paying full price for food.

3.) Freezing foods like vegetables and fruits that are past their prime will stop you from throwing out food and wasting your hard earned money.

4.) By freezing fresh herbs from your garden (or even fresh fruits or vegetables), you can have them on hand all year long without paying more than the price of the seeds.

5.) Making your own breads and other baked goods from scratch can save you tons of money. Plus, if you buy the items when they are cheap and have a baking day, you can also save yourself tons of money on breads, pie crusts, cookies, and more by simply freezing them to have on hand.

Check out the entire Freezer Series HERE to see what you missed!

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20 Quick Pie Crusts Recipe

by Beth Montgomery on September 11, 2009 · 1 comment

in Dessert Recipes, Frugal Cooking, Recipes

INGREDIENTS
3 lbs Shortening
5 lb Flour
3 Cups Ice Water
2 TBSP Salt

In a very large mixing bowl, combine flower and salt.. Kneed with your hands and cut in shortening. Add ice water to form dough. Shape into 20 disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and place in freezer bags for long term storage. When ready, thaw in refrigerator. Place in pie pan and cook according to pie recipe directions.

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With the final post coming out next week, we’re wrapping up our Freezer Series with a fun event to help you have many meals on hand quickly.

While many of us have participated in a cookie exchange around Christmas time, the idea of a meal exchange has never crossed our mind. OAMC may sound appealing to you, but the work involved is an absolute turn off. Instead of doing it all yourself, try it with friends.

There are two options for cooking with your friends to split the load. If you have a large enough kitchen, invite your friends over to cook. Each of you prepare 1 or 2 meals for every family involved in the Cooking Party. Each person brings his/her own ingredients and spend the day cooking together. When you leave, grab one of each meal to take home and freeze.

If, like me, you’d never fit that many people in your kitchen or have the room for a Cooking Party, try a simple Meal Exchange. In this scenario, each family involved prepares 1 or 2 meals beforehand, then you meet and swap. It’s simple!

The greatest part of a Meal Exchange or Cooking Party is that you get to enjoy some meals that you wouldn’t necessarily have cooked yourself. It’s a chance for your family to try new things. Plus, it saves you money to buy items in bulk and prepare one meal for several families.

5 TIPS FOR A COOKING PARTY/ MEAL EXCHANGE
1) Set limits before hand so everyone is on the same page. For example, make sure everyone knows to prepare 2 meals per family participating. Also make sure they know that each meal should cost approximately $5 a meal and include 5 servings. This stops one family from preparing fillet mignon, while another makes sloppy joes, and evens up the costs.

2) Make sure everyone submits their recipe beforehand, so you don’t have two of the same meal. This creates variety.

3) Instead of making 2 different meals, have each family double the servings in a meal to create more food for everyone participating. For larger groups, only make 1 meal per participating family.

4) Make sure each family notifies the others of any allergies beforehand!

5) Keep is simple. If you overdo it or make it too complicated, no one will want to participate.

Check out the entire Freezer Series HERE to see what you missed!

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Easy Quesadilla Kit Recipe

by Beth Montgomery on September 4, 2009

in Frugal Cooking, Main Dish Recipes, Recipes

INGREDIENTS
2 lbs Chicken (cooked & diced or shredded, or canned)
1 Can Green Chilies
1 lbs Shredded Cheese (Mexican or other favorite)
12 Tortillas

Mix cheese, chilies, and chicken together and place in a freezer baggie. Place tortillas in a separate baggie and insert baggie of chicken mixture, before closing.

When ready, thaw in refrigerator. Rub butter on one side of tortillas and spoon chicken mixture between two tortillas with buttered side out. Place on a cookie sheet or baking pan and bake until cheese is melted (approximately 10-15 minutes). Serve with sour cream, salsa, and/or guacamole.

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For those of you who don’t enjoy cooking, OAMC can sound like a nightmare and a lifesaver all tied into one.

What is OAMC? It stands for Once-a-Month Cooking. The theory is that you spend one or two days a month and cook an entire month’s worth of meals, so you don’t have to cook every day.

Freezer cooking is similar, but could mean just cooking one meal to freeze or a week’s worth of meals instead of an entire month’s worth all at once.

The key to making OAMC manageable is organization! The more organized you are beforehand, the less stressful it will be for you.

Though I haven’t attempted OAMC for a while, I did when I worked away from home and it was honestly the greatest thing ever, because no matter how tired I was or how much I didn’t feel like cooking, I always had a delicious homemade meal on hand. Recruit your children to help you out, because it will not only teach them to cook, but also lessen the work for you!

5 TIPS FOR OAMC OR FREEZER COOKING
1) Plan your entire menu ahead of time and make sure you have all ingredients on hand.

2) Prepare ahead of time by chopping all your vegetables and making sure all your ingredients are ready to go into each recipe.

3) Multi-task by cooking meals that contain similar ingredients at the same time. For example, cook hamburger in a skillet for a spaghetti meal kit, sloppy joes, and a taco meal kit.

4) Don’t try to take on too much too quickly. If this is your first time, try making a week’s worth of dinners first. Or divide up the tasks to cover a few days – dinner day, side dish day, and baking day.

5) If you don’t want to cook an entire month’s worth of meals, just try cooking one now and then to store in your freezer. When making a casserole, soup, or dish, double up and make two, then freeze one for a later date.

Check out the entire Freezer Series HERE to see what you missed!

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Sometimes, it makes more sense to freeze a meal in parts, instead of freezing an entire meal. For example, pizzas, spaghetti, and tacos freeze better in a kit then after fully prepared.

An example of a taco kit would be:
-Pre-cooked seasoned hamburger or chicken
-Cheese
-Taco Shells

You could put each of these items into a separate freezer baggie, then put all of the individual baggies into one large baggie. When you’re ready to enjoy, pull out the kit and assemble. Don’t forget to have your favorite extras on hand like tomatoes, sour cream, and other ingredients that won’t thaw well for a kit.

In addition to meal kits, sometime it’s great to just freeze a single part of a meal, like meatballs. If you tray freeze meatballs and store in a freezer baggie long term, you can pull out a few to toss in spaghetti sauce or to make a meatball sandwich. Or make a partial spaghetti kit by putting sauce in one baggie and meatballs or seasoned cooked hamburger in another, and leaving your pasta in the pantry uncooked.

Meal Kit Ideas:

Spaghetti & Meatballs (or other pasta meals, keep pasta in pantry)
Tacos
Pizza
Sloppy Joes (or Pulled Pork/Chicken) & Buns
Burritos
Nachos
Stir Fry (keep rice in pantry)

Check out the entire Freezer Series HERE to see what you missed!

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