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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Freezer Cooking Part 1 - Just the Basics

Its amazing how you can set your mind out to do something and then life steps in the way! I was determined to get the first part of freezer cooking published Monday. And as my luck would have it some unforeseen events decided it was time to make an entrance! So without further a due, here is Freezer Cooking Part 1.

*This is gonna be a long post! Eventually I'll post more detailed recipes with more pictures. And as I do I'll shorten this post by adding links to recipes instead of having the entire recipe here!*

Freezer Cooking Part 1 - Just the Basics

This first part of freezer cooking is meant to familiarize you with freezer cooking. Hopefully this post will help you ease into the process and get ready for your first big cooking day!

What better place to start than with, "What is freezer cooking?" Well simply freezer cooking is meant to make cooking healthy meals easy and quick for you. The key phrase is "quick for you," because often freezer cooking is work for your crock pot! You simply prepare the meals and stick them in the freezer, then pull them out when you want to cook them. Its best if you pull them out the night before and stick them in the fridge, but its not the end of the world if you don't! Imagine how much money this can save! No more having to order dinner or go out if you forget to pull out something. And sometimes its just much easier, especially with a busy schedule!

Now I'm going to share one of the simplest and cheapest "freezer meals" out there. Part 1 is made to be simple so all of the recipes shared today are quick and require little work. Its a great step up to ease you in!

Practically Free Veggie Stock

Yes, I said practically free! This is not really a freezer meal, but it does have a home in your freezer. To make your veggie stock, start saving all of your veggie extras. Save those green onion ends, lemon rinds, onion peels, potato skins, squash skins, carrot peels, everything! Store these extras in a gallon freezer bag in your freezer. When it gets full you get to make stock. (As you can see below I saved everything! Squash ends, celery leaves and ends, lemon rinds, green onion roots, celery bottoms, extra red pepper potato peels and regular onion skins.)

Add the contents of your veggie bag into a large stock pot. Fill with water ensuring to cover all of the veggies. Let simmer for 1-2 hours, the longer the more flavor you will get into your stock. After cooking turn of the heat and allow to cool in pot. Strain out your liquid and throw away your veggies. Now you can freeze your stock. 

To Freeze: Pour into desired container. I like to use ice cube trays, muffin tins and snack baggies. The ice cubes of stock are great to add to skillet dishes and the muffin size are great when a soup or chili needs a little extra liquid.  When using freezer bags, lay them on a cookie sheet and place the whole sheet in the freezer. This will let your bags freeze flat for better storage. 

Crock Pot Sloppy Joe's

  • 1 lbs Lean Ground Beef
  • 1 lbs Lean Ground Turkey
  • 1 Large Onion, chopped 
  • 1 Small Can Tomato Paste
  • 2/3 Cup BBQ Sauce
  • 1/2 Cup Ketchup
  • 1/4 Cup Soy Sauce
  • 1/4 Cup Worcestershire Sauce
  • Pepper to taste
Split ground beef, ground turkey and onion evenly between two gallon size freezer bags. In a bowl combine tomato, BBQ sauce, ketchup, soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Divide between both bags. Close the tops of the bags and using your fingers mix everything together. Open and squeeze out any extra air. Place bags in freezer. To cook: place in a crock pot on low for 6-8 hours. You may feel the need to add stock if the mixture is not sloppy enough! 

Beef Burgundy 

  • 2 lbs Beef Stew Meat (Or you can cube your preferred choice of beef)
  • 2 Cans Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • 2 Cup Milk
  • 6 oz Mushrooms
  • 3/4 Cup Burgundy or Red Wine
  • 1 Pouch of Onion Soup Mix
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Dash of Worcestershire 
Add one lb beef to each of two freezer bags. Combine the remaining ingredients in a bowl. Separate between both bags, evenly as possible. Place in freezer on flat surface. To cook: Place in a crock pot on low for 6 to 8 hours. Serve over rice or noodles! 

  • 1 lb Ground Beef
  • 1 lb Ground Turkey
  • 1 lb Ground Chicken
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 Cup Breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 Medium Onion, chopped (or diced if you have picky eaters!)
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh Parsley (or 1 tbsp dried)
  • 2 Tbsp Salt
  • 2 Tbsp Pepper
Mix everything in a big bowl! Meatloaf is one of the easiest things you can make for the freezer, no need to cook before you freeze it! Shape your meat mixture into desired loaves. I like to make a big loaf (in case we have company), and then I love to make personal size meatloaves. For mini/personal loaves using a muffin tin is a great idea, or you can use a bar pan (like the ones you make Twinkies in).

*You can add whatever other spices and sauces you'd like! BBQ sauce is a great addition, just add 2 eggs and about a 1/2 cup bbq sauce. Or go for an Asian twist adding soy sauce, green onions, oyster sauce or yum yum sauce are all good. 

Crock-pot Beef and Broccoli
  • 2 lbs Beef (Such as chuck roast) sliced thin
  • 1 Large Onion, sliced
  • 1 & 1/2 Cup Beef Broth
  • 1/2 Cup Soy Sauce
  • 1/3 Cup Brown Sugar (Dark is better, but light will work!)
  • 1 Tbsp Oyster Sauce or Sesame Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp Cornstarch
  • 1 Bag Frozen Broccoli (You can use fresh too!)
In a bowl combine broth, soy sauce, brown sugar, oyster sauce, and garlic. Place your beef and onion in a large freezer bag (or two if your cooking for less). Add your sauce over the beef and onions. Place in the freezer until your ready to cook it. 

To Cook: Place bag in fridge the night before you wish to cook, this will allow a little time for the liquids to thaw. Empty freezer bags contents into your crock pot. Cook for 4-6 hours, remember to check every so often. As your beef cooks it will become more tender, you do not want it to shred. About 30 minutes before its done to your liking get a small bowl, mix cornstarch with 4 tbsp liquid from crock pot. Make sure to mix this well. Add back to your crock pot, also add the broccoli. I used 4 small heads of fresh broccoli for mine. Serve over white rice.

I used this Recipe as a started and adjusted to fit my family and freezer cooking needs.

That is it for this edition of freezer cooking. As I said I'll slowly start to add the recipes to the blog and switch out these for links. Who knows, maybe I'll even add a few recipes! I hope you all enjoy and I look forward to hearing about your freezer cooking experiences!

1 comment:

  1. Great post! My husband and I do this all the time--make meals in the crock pot and freeze what we can't eat. I love the muffin tin idea that's about the size of one serving for me.

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