***Give Away Alert! I will be giving away three copies of my freezer cooking cookbooks The Frozen Gourmet Just leave a comment on the blog sometime this week and I will pick three winners – the more comments, the more chances to win!***
Wrapping it Up – Everything You Need to Know About Freezing Your Food
First – here is a quick list of things that could have problems freezing:
? Cake icing made with egg whites
? Cream filling and soft frostings
? Pies made with custard or cream fillings
? Cooked egg whites
? Fried foods
? Fruit jelly
? Soft cheese (unless mixed into a recipe)
? Mayonnaise (unless mixed into a recipe)
? Sour cream (unless mixed into a recipe)
? Potatoes (you can do potatoes, but it is a bit complicated for the blog and they can sometimes turn a weird color…)
Freezing your food falls into two different catagories:
2. Soups, Stews, Chilli’s and Marinades
For casserole freezing, I have used the foil pans pictured below for years.
I think my addiction to foil cake pans strated when I was doing our freezer cooking swap with a bunch of other girls (to find out more about our group, Six Chicks Freeze and Fix, check back on the blog on Monday.) We would each make our dinners at home, and then bring them to a predetermined location, and swap. We didn’t want the hassle of returning dishes, so the cake pans worked for our needs.
But it was a little silly that I was still doing it once I was only cooking for my family. Besides the cost, all I could picture was trees dying in the rain forest because of my wastefulness.
So I finally broke down and bought a dozen of these inexpensive (OK, cheap,) steel pans from Target.
Here are my instructions for packaging the casseroles:
- Spray the bottom of the serving pan with Pam or some other non-fat cooking spray
- Put your casserole in the pan
- Cover the casserole with foil
Label the foil with the name and date of the casserole (I’ll tell you why this is bold in a second.)
Slip into a Ziploc bag with the printing on the bag facing down
OK – so here is the money/enviroment tip of the day: If you label the foil instead of the Ziploc (which is just keeping your food from freezer burn and is not actually touching any food) you can reuse your Ziploc bag for protecting other meals. If you bag your food with a label on the foil, and you put the Ziploc imprint on the bottom of the casserole, you will clearly be able to see what is in your meal.
You see, those baggies are expensive, and it is my goal to make them last as long as possible!
If you don’t have all the pans that you need, here is a great suggestion from one of my commenters Deanna:
To save more $ may I suggest lining a casserole dish in aluminum foil and then preparing the meal in it. Freeze it, lift the meal out, wrap it again in foil, label and stick it in the freezer! When you go to cook it just unwrap the outer layer of foil, pop back in the original dish and cook. Makes clean up a breeze too! HTH!!!
Monday – I will be sharing about bagging your marinades and how to start a freezer cooking group!