Why plan menus and freeze meals? How about saving money on your food bill! It will also cut back on those last minute, "I don't know what to cook so let's go get fast food" moments. Instead you can pull out a (fill in the blank here) from the freezer and add bread and a salad to go with it.
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• Make and Freeze BABY FOOD
Making your own baby food is much easier than you think. Besides being easy to make, the food is much healthier, tastier and saves you money.
• Food Safety at a Glance
Whether putting food in the refrigerator, the freezer, or the cupboard, you have plenty of opportunities to prevent foodborne illnesses. Minimim cooking temperatures, how long to keep it and more.
• Defrosting Foods Safely
Unfortunately, improperly handling frozen foods can pose a potential health risk. It is important that potentially hazardous foods are thawed properly. To safely defrost foods, use one of the following methods.
Our favorite freezer cooking method is to just double or triple a recipe every now and then. We figure if we're making a batch of spaghetti and meatballs or a pan of macaroni and cheese, we might as well make two or three and freeze for another day.
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Protect your freezer meals. Invest in multiple same-sized freezer/oven-safe casserole dishes.
Coat the dishes with cooking spray, and line with a sheet of foil long enough to wrap completely around the food. Spray the foil, too, then pour in the food. Gently tuck the foil up over the food.
Freeze overnight, then release the foil from the pan. Wrap, label and freeze in freezer bags. To cook, pop a frozen, foil-wrapped entree back into the casserole dish, thaw and bake.
Our Favorite Freezer Rules
• Label what your freezer meal is. Attach directions or keep them easily accessible.
• Date and rotate your freezer meals. New goes on the bottom of the stack and older gets moved to the front of the freezer.
• Don't place your hot food directly in the freezer. Let it cool slightly, at least 30-45 minutes on the kitchen counter.
• Whenever possible, defrost in your fridge overnight.
• Remember if your meal is frozen, you will need to increase the baking time.
• If you are including pasta, rice or noodles in a freezer meal, leave them out and add before cooking. Or under cook them slightly and make sure they're included in a sauce before freezing.
• Freeze now, thicken later. You probably could freeze thickened stews, soups and sauces but should you? Cornstarch, cream, and flour-based gravies can separate after freezing, and never seem to have quite the right texture. Instead, freeze the meal first and add thickening after thawing and warming.
• Store or freeze the individual ingredients rather than the entire meal. Some frozen foods don't satisfy when they are re-heated, for example, mushy vegetables, gritty stock and stringy meat. Freeze components first (chicken broth, shredded chicken, meatballs, chopped onions, etc.) then assemble and heat the entire meal when needed.
Freezables from The Oven Light