***Give Away Alert! I will be giving away four copies of my freezer cooking cookbooks The What’s for Dinner Solution A winner everyday Tuesday through Friday. PLUS – a Freezer Cooking Prize Pack including The What’s for Dinner Solution and $25 Amazon Gift Card to buy all the Ziploc bags and 8×8 pans you need to get started! Just leave a comment on the blog sometime this week and I will pick four book winners and one grand prize winner – the more comments, the more chances to win! (One comment per person, per day, please!) ***
Over the next four days, I will be giving you step by step instructions on how to have great, tasty meals for you and your family, every night. To make sure you don’t miss a post, subscribe to the blog!
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 three different categories:
Soups, Stews, Chilli
Let the soup, stew or chili cool for a bit before pouring your portion into a labeled Ziploc bag and get out as much air as you can before speaking.. Bag again with the zipper part going the opposite way of the first bag.. Freeze lying down so it will lie as flat as possible. For soups, stews and chili, I put my bags on a large cookie sheet before freezing so that the bags will not sink down between the grates of the freezer, therefore making them hard to pry off once frozen.If you are making soups, stews or chili and want to freeze them in single serve portions, you can pour them into small plastic containers (Rubbermaid, Ziploc, etc.) leaving some room at the top for when the liquid freezes and expands. Let them cool down, cover with lids and freeze.
Just put the meat and the marinade in a Ziploc bag and then put that Ziploc bag in another Ziploc bag with the zipper part going the opposite way. Label your inner bag so the otter bag can be reused.
For casserole freezing, I have used the foil pans pictured below for years.
I think my addiction to foil cake pans started 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 out the booklet on my Facebook Page.) 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. (I don’t know why it would be trees dying, but I’m sure the trees would somehow be affected.)
So I finally broke down and bought a dozen of these inexpensive (OK, cheap,) steel pans from Target. Love ‘em.
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 on the bottom
OK – so here is the money/environment 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!
For today’s free download, go to my Facebook Page this week (through September 1. 2013) and get our new Freezer Inventory Sheet.
Tell me below – do you have a favorite freezer trick? You could win a copy of The What’s for Dinner Solution or the grand prize of The What’s for Dinner Solution and a $25 Amazon Gift Card.
Want more freezer recipes? Did you know you can get a free ecopy of Six Chicks Freeze and Fix: How to Start a Freezer Meal Co-op just by liking my Facebook Page. Once you hit “Like” just go to the tabs and download the booklet. It’s that easy. Over 20 great family-pleasing recipes!
We’ll have a free freezer download every day this week. Stay tuned!
She and her husband Roger are the parents of four young adults in San Jose, CA. When she’s not dating her husband or hanging out with her puggle Jake, Kathi is speaking at retreats, conferences and women’s events across the US.