Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Freezer meals

Today Lindsey from Passionate Homemaking (a neat blog!) is holding a Nutritious freezer meal carnival. Though I don't always double (or triple plus) cook I do like to do it on a fairly regular basis to help use my time wisely in the kitchen. I also really appreciate having meals in the freezer for those busy times when it is hard to find time to cook.
Here are some of my favorites:
Pizza~ I rarely make homemade pizza without making an extra one to freeze. I like this crust recipe:
~6 cups flour ( I make around 1/2 of the flour whole wheat.)
~2 teaspoons salt
~ 3 teaspoons sugar
~2 Tablespoons yeast
~1/4 cup oil
~2 cups hot water
Mix dry ingredients and then add the wet ingredients and mix well. Let sit 8-10 minutes. Spread out on a greased cookie sheets. This recipe makes to 10 X 15 inch crusts.
For eating right away: Put on toppings (I like to use spaghetti sauce, browned hamburger, sausage or ham, sliced olives, mushrooms and cheese) and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
For freezing: Bake crust at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Let cool and then put on toppings (usually the crust cools while we are eating the other pizza for supper), cover with aluminum foil and I also put it in a plastic grocery bag and put in the freezer. To get ready for eating I stick it from the freezer into the oven while it is preheating to 350 degrees and cook it until the cheese is all melted.
For 2 loaf pans:
~2 lbs hamburger
~ 1 onion chopped small
~2 eggs
~2 cups oatmeal
~Salt and pepper to taste
~enough moisture to make it all stick together nicely. I use a variety of things for this, I might choose any of the following: Milk, tomato sauce, salsa, pureed pumpkin or squash, pureed greens or water.
Put in pans and spread ketchup or BBQ sauce on top. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour. I bake the one for the freezer completely and then just wrap in in tin foil and freeze. When we want to eat it I let it thaw and then warm it in the microwave.
The above recipe can also be used for meatballs, I just make it into little balls and put on a jelly roll pan and bake for a while and then turn over and then bake until done.
Tuna pasta hotdish~
~8 ounces pasta
~1/2 cup salad dressing
~1/2 cup milk
~1 can cream soup (I make my own by sauteing some mushrooms, onions or celery in 1 tablespoon butter, adding 1 tablespoon flour and then adding 1 1/2 cups milk and cooking and stirring like you would gravy.)
~1 c. cheese (I use whatever type I have on hand.)
~1/2 teaspoon dry mustard or dill weed.
~1 can tuna, drained
Cook pasta and drain it. Then put all ingredients in a casserole dish and stir together. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. The recipe above is for just one dish, I just double it (or you could triple or whatever) to make extra. I bake it almost completely, let it cool and then freeze it.
Chicken Rice Burritos are another meal that is very simple to make extra of and freeze.
We like to eat homemade bread and the way I have found that works best for me is to have a baking day once a week in which I bake our bread and other things that we might be wanting. I then freeze all but one loaf. As you may have noticed homemade bread (without all the extra preservatives!) molds much faster than the stuff from the store so freezing the extra helps a lot.
I have just started in the last couple of years freezing pies. We enjoy pies but I think they take quite a bit of work with the rolling out of crusts and all. So when I make crusts I like to do it in bulk. You can get an apple pie (or zucchini and apple pie) all ready for baking and then freeze it and bake it when you take it out of the freezer. You can also freeze just the crusts and then add the pumpkin filling or something like that just before baking.
Other things that I like to freeze are:
  • Soups (some cream soups don't do so well but pretty much everything else does fine.)
  • Cookies.
  • Quick breads and muffins.
  • Spanish Rice.
  • Lasagna

What things do you find freezes well? I encourage you to go check out all the different ideas at Passionate Homemaking.


martha said...

Hey, I can actually start doing this!!!! Derek bought me a small deep freeze freezer so I have more space now! thanks for the reminder.

Bridgett said...

Wow, look at your perfect pies!

Abbi said...

Martha, Mom told me you got a freezer. How nice!

Bridgett, thanks! Unfortunately they don't always turn out that nice.

Dear Abbi said...

Oooh, what beautiful pies!!

It is so nice to meet another like-minded "Abbi"!! Thanks for your comment...I think we are a lot like. :)


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