I Was sitting here thinking how awesome it would be to do a saturday cooking day to make some freezer meals, but I would need to incorporate what's in my freezers already into my menus. Most of what's in my freezers already (yes I did say freezers) is veggies and fruit , and not very much meat at all, except deer of course. It's going to require alot of planning I guess. veggies I have frozen are purple hull peas, baby lima beans, already cooked mustard greens, zuchinni, (shredded) black berries, raspberries, strawberries. some home made pork sausage,
I'm not even sure where to begin with this endeavor.
But I do know , I need to empty some freezer space in order to do this, so I have to eat what's there first or incorporate it all into my menu somehow.
has anybody else ever done a make ahead freezer meal plan for a month or so? what kinds of containers would you use ( would think i'd have to buy some foil containers or plastic ones.
I'm also interested in making some bread dough for the freezer, and maybe a couple of desserts.
I'd love to hear your feedback and ideas, recipes, tips, or encouragement :)
The lima beans and sausage would go to a good soup recipe. Zucchini bread freezes well. Not sure what to do with the already cooked mustard greens...someone will be along that can speak to that I'm sure. The fruits I'd use in smoothies. and for packaging, I really like quart size, freezer grade zip loc baggies. Allow the food to cool, spoon into baggie, carefully lay the baggie on the counter, turning the zip up at a 90 degree angle and gently squeeze out air. Lays flat to freeze and store.
Good luck, I'm the queen of make ahead freezer food. :-))
I'd get some angel food cake and use the fruits to make a psuedo trifle, using fruit juice in place of custard, and freeze again in meal-size portions. Get some gelatin and make a fresh fruit terrine for a dinner or lunch dessert the day you tackle this project.
I second what Mary said, any liquids would do really well in zip-lock bags, laid flat. That's how I do my tomato sauces and it saves tons of room in the freezers. (yes, I have more than one as well... three, to be exact).
I go through frozen fruit very quickly from my freezer. I make a fruit smoothie with kefir & yogurt every day for lunch. You can also use any kind of milk - regular, almond/coconut etc. I use an immersion blender and a little stevia & cinnamon. Its like having a healthy milkshake or ice cream for lunch every day.
I make my dad frozen meals. I think even the mustard greens would work in a hardy soup. A word of caution - potatoes don't freeze well (though I often add them anyway for my DH who loves them, even a little mushy from freezing). You can add those when its defrosted and you are ready to eat the soup if they are a "must have" for your soup.
Frozen zucchini would also be good in a zucchini pie. (I posted the recipe on a recipe thread a few years back I believe. Probably a zucchini thread. LMK if you can't find it & I'll type it out here).
I make a lot of liquid things like beef stew, potato soup, chili, tomato sauce, chicken stock, etc., cool, put in 1 cup (or 2 cup for stock) ziplock containers, leave a little room, cover top with film like saran or press and seal, add lid, label with freezer tape, and freeze. I take them out, remove lid and film, replace cap loosely, place on paper plate (may get messy) and thaw in microwave at 50% for 3 minutes, stir, then 1 plus minutes at full heat.
I also make large amounts of more solid foods like winter squash, enchiladas, rotisserie chicken minus bones (bones for stock later), etc. cool, freeze in small ziplock bags. Same reheat instructions. Saves a lot of money and time. Usually faster to reheat than a freezer meal from the store.
I usually only fix one thing at a time, then partition it. No big mess. Also, my freezer is fairly full all the time and I need to keep eating from it before I keep adding a lot to it. I do garden and like to freeze a lot of things. I currently have a lot of home produce in the freezer - raw and cooked. If you cook a large amount, cool in refrig, freeze - and do this every day or every other day - you will fill freezer fast. Whatever you do - keep an inventory and eat oldest first. I use a spreadsheet for the freezer, refrig, and pantry. It keeps you from buying what you do not need and saves you a lot of money and time later.