Freezer Cooking

My favorite way to freeze foods is to freeze entire meals. Often, I get in the “I just don’t want to cook” mood. More often than I care to admit! To avoid spending money at a restaurant or feeding my kids something less than stellar, I have a freezer with a few meals prepared just for these days!

Most meals, like casseroles, soups, entrees, and stews freezer perfectly after completely preparing. Just allow them to chill before placing them in the freezer. Remember to seal tightly in freezer baggies or air tight containers for long term storage.

Another pro to freezing entire meals is that it helps my cooking-challenged husband get credit for some delicious meals when I’m not around.

Because I’m not a morning person and since I’m just exhausted by the end of the day, my favorite meals to freeze are breakfasts and dinners, but you can even freeze items for lunch!

Not all meals freeze ideally though. Keep in mind that spices, onions, and other potent foods become more flavorful the longer they are left in the freezer, so add less than your recipe calls for to avoid a too-spicy dish. Also, pastas and rices continue to absorb water while frozen, so undercook them slightly before freezing, so they won’t be mush when served.

Unfortunately, some recipes, such as potato casseroles or Au Gratin, just shouldn’t be frozen. Potatoes become black when frozen (unless mashed) and look completely unappetizing when thawed.

Don’t forget to label each meal throughoughly with the date you made it, date you froze it, anticipated expiration date, and preparation directions.

Even frozen meals go bad, so use the following guide to help you know when to expect your frozen meal to expire:

Casseroles 2-3 mths
Dinners & Entrees 3-4 mths
Soups & Stews: 2-3 mths
Gravy: 2-3 mths

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

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INGREDIENTS
24 Large Shrimp
1/2 Cup Cornstarch
1 tsp Sal
1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper
3 Egg Whites
2 1/2 Cups Sweet Coconut Flakes
Dipping Sauce (Marmalade or other sweet flavor)

Clean and peel each shrimp, but leave the tails on. Slit each shrimp half-way through along the inside curve. Open and flatten.

In another dish, combine cornstarch, salt, and cayenne pepper. In a separate bowl, beat whites until stiff. And finally, place coconut in yet another dish. Dip each shrimp in the cornstarch, then egg whites, then coat with coconut.

Tray freeze before placing in a freezer baggie for long term storage. To thaw, deep fry in oil at 375 for approximately 2 minutes or until golden brown. Set on a paper towel to drain and serve with dip.

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Freezer Series: Extra Hints & Foods

by Beth Montgomery on August 13, 2009 · 0 comments

in Frugal Cooking, Frugal Series


10 BONUS HINTS & FOODS
1) Homemade baby foods can be frozen easily in individual portions using muffin tins or ice cube trays. Once frozen, remove from the tin or tray and place in a freezer baggie for long term storage. Remove one serving at a time and thaw!

2) Freeze bread crumbs as they gather when you make sandwiches or finish off a bag of croutons or crackers. Toss the crumbs into a freezer bag for recipes that require crumbs and never buy bread crumbs again! Plus, if you toss in seasoned cracker crumbs or crouton crumbs, they’ll already be seasoned for use.

3) Coffee stays fresher when stored in the freezer.

4) You can store brown sugar in the freezer. It will be soft when thawed.

5) Jams and jellies freezer perfectly in store packaging for later use.

6) Marshmallows, dried fruits, and many other foods, are easier to cut when frozen.

7) Freezing oils that have been used for deep frying for reuse prevents it from going bad. Though the color changes when frozen, it clears when thawed.

8) Foods like sauerkraut can be frozen up to 12 months to prevent fermentation.

9) Seafood freezes easily when raw, just like meat, for 9-12 months.

10) Once you open store bought ice cream, cover it in plastic wrap to avoid freezer burn!

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

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Lemon Rice Recipe

by Beth Montgomery on August 7, 2009 · 0 comments

in Frugal Cooking, Recipes, Side Dish Recipes

INGREDIENTS
1 Cup Rice
1 tsp Butter
1 tsp Garlic (minced if fresh)
1 tsp Lemon Peel, grated
1/4 tsp Pepper
2 Cups Chicken Broth
2 tsp Parsley (dried flakes or tray frozen)

In a medium sauce pan, combine rice, butter, garlic, lemon, pepper, and broth. Boil and reduce heat. Cover and simmer approximately 15 minutes until the rice is tender and liquid is absorbed. Stir in parsley.

Cool and store in freezer baggies. To serve, heat stove top or in microwave and fluff with a fork.

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Freezer Series: Herbs

by Beth Montgomery on August 6, 2009 · 0 comments

in Frugal Cooking, Frugal Series


While drying is the traditional method of preserving fresh herbs, freezing is becoming more popular. Most herbs freeze best on the stalk without much hassel or preparation. Even better, herbs cut easily when frozen without being thawed first, so you can easily drop them into stews, casseroles, and other meals.

Freezing fresh herbs makes me more likely to use them, since it’s simple to pull them out and toss in a recipe quickly.

Herbs can be frozen using two different 2 methods. Either will work just fine with different results.

TRAY FREEZING
You can tray freeze herbs very easily and quickly. Wash first and pat dry, then spread out on a tray and put in the freezer. Once the individual pieces are frozen, drop them in a freezer baggie to store long term. Pull out what you need as you need it and toss it in your favorite dish.

ICE CUBE FREEZING
For fresher herbs, divide into individual servings (e.g., 2-3 leaves or 1 tablespoon). Fill an ice cube tray half way with water. Drop in one serving of herbs onto each ice cube and put in the freezer. When frozen, fill the remainder with water, trapping the herbs in the center of the cube. Once completely frozen, remove the cubes from the tray and place in a freezer baggie for long term storage. When ready to use, toss the entire ice cube into your favorite dish.

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

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1 Banana (frozen or fresh)
2 Cups Carrots (chopped or baby, fresh)
1 Cup Apple Juice (thawed or fresh)
1 Cup Yogurt (thawed or fresh)

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Serve.

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