Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Freezer Cooking with some of our favorite Recipes

Freezer Cooking with some of our favorite Recipes

I have decided that it just takes way too much time to make dinner most days. By the time I get off work, run errands, and do homework with the kids its past bedtime and dinner is still up in the air. So I did some research into freezer meals, I couldn't find meals similar to which we eat now. The solution take my own recipes and make them a freezer meal. I am sure its going to be trial and error but I thought I would post a couple recipes a week to share. 

Figuring out how much to make

The first thing I found with freezer cooking is figuring out how many meals you want to have done per week. I am a private nanny and we get 3 dinners from that, I go to my parents every Wednesday and eat there, so I only need 3 meals a week. I decided to do a 4 month allotment since most recipes are easier in even numbers.  With all the holidays coming I want more time with my family, to bake sweets, sew, and make cute decorations. You also need to decide how much food can fit in your freezer. When looking at freezer room included others things you normally have but are out of stock right now such as ice cream, frozen pizza, juice, etc...

For my recipes I decided we would only want a recipe once a month (so we don't get burnt out) that means for my 3 meals a week I would need 12 a month and 48 for 4 months. It sounds like a lot and well it is but I am going to love having it all bought* and prepared. 


I did this completely wrong and what a disaster. Be prepared take a good list and a buddy! I ended up spending hours in the store and only getting three fourth of what I needed. For that reason as I made each recipe for the freezer I made a shopping list. Next time I go I will take my newly made binder with my prepped lists so shopping will be shorter and easier. I will included the lists for your sanity. 

Choosing a store is also key to making to economical  I spent roughly $400 for my 48 meals. I did have a little left over ingredients that we will use over time and made some extra meals to eat this week. I would rather have some left then running to the store in the middle of prepping. It breaks down to about $8.50 a meal, I consider that pretty good for feeding my family of 4 with at least 2 left over portions. I don't skimp on my ingredients either, taste is key if we wont eat it why make it. I did most my shopping at Winco, they are close and have good prices. I probably would have went to Sam's or Costco but we don't have a membership. 

Take a buddy! The grocery cart will get heavy and so will loading them into the car. I found this our the hard way as I bagged my own groceries and couldn't keep up. I felt pretty embarrassed when the other side of the conveyor belt had 2 customers finish in the time it took me to bag mine, if you have been to Winco you know what I am talking about.  As I struggled to push my cart to my car I wished someone was there so I could have put it in 2 carts and saved my legs, at least I got a work out.  The second reason to have a buddy is that it would have gone much faster to break down the list into 2  or have one person navigate and the other grab items. 

About the recipes I used 

 I choose recipes that we eat commonly and some that my mom taught me growing up. I don't know where some of them came from and they have almost all been altered, I will try and document where they are from originally.  My son is allergic to wheat and so most my recipes are easily made gluten free, that is a great bonus. 

I recommend you get a binder to print and put all your recipes and grocery lists in, this way when you go to plan your next set you already have a ton of recipes to choose from and the grocery lists. It is also helpful if you don't want to label everything with the cooking directions. I would also recommend a pencil in the binder in case you want to write changes to the recipes and a sharpie to label your bags with. 

When you eat the meal keep the freezer bag or tin (if reusable) you can wash them and reuse them a couple times this saves you money, plus the bags are already labeled. 

First 2 Recipes:

Roasted Tomatoes, Asparagus, and Shrimp Pasta

5 roma tomatoes
1 med sized zucchini (peeled or unpeeled)
4 TB olive oil
1/8 tsp. paprika
1/2lb. shrimp 61/70
1/2lb. thin asparagus
2 tsp. lemon juice
1TB fresh oregano
1TB fresh Basil
12oz pasta of choice (we like rotini or bowtie)
Shredded Romano Cheese Blend (optional for topping)
1 9” Close-able pie tin
1 Gallon Freezer Bag
1 Small Freezer Bag

1.   In the pie tin cut the tomatoes and zucchini into 1-2” pieces. Mix in salt, pepper, paprika, and 2TB olive oil. Label the pie tin lid with name and number 1-4.
2. Label gallon bag with name and number 1-4. Fill with shrimp and asparagus trimmed and cut in half.
3.    Label the small bag with the heat directions: Pie tin 450° for 20 min, add shrimp 10 min. more, and then mix sauce pasta and veggies.  Fill this bag with the sauce 2TB olive oil, oregano, basil, and lemon juice. Place this bag inside the gallon bag and freeze flat along with the covered pie tin.

*When your ready to eat it take it out an hour before or thaw in the fridge over night. Simply follow the directions on the bag to assemble. 

For Gluten Free Just use gluten free pasta!

Link to the printable recipe and grocery list:
Freezer Roaster Tomato, Asparagus, and Shrimp Pasta

Berry, Apple, or Peach French Toast
1/2loaf  Texas Toast
1 (8oz) Cream Cheese
1 cup fresh, frozen, or pie filling berries, apples, or peaches
6 Eggs
1 cup Milk
2 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup maple syrup
Steam table pan half size med. w/lid

For Syrup (optional):
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup fresh, frozen, or pie filling berries, apples, or peaches
1 TB butter
1 Quart freezer bag

1.                  In the tin place half the bread cut into 1” squares. Place 1 cup fruit of choice and cream cheese cut into 1” squares. Put the rest of the bread squares on top.
2.                  In a large bowl mix eggs, milk, cinnamon, vanilla, and syrup. Pour over cubes and put the lid on. Label with name and directions: 350° covered 30 min. uncovered 25-30min.
3.                  In a med. Sauce pan mix the sugar, cornstarch, and water. Bring to boil stir continuously for 2-3 min. Next add the fruit, it may need to be blended first. Simmer about 1o min on reduced heat till the fruit bursts.  Stir in the butter last.  Freeze with tin.

*When your ready to eat it take it out an hour before or thaw in the fridge over night. It will cook better if after thawing it sits out of the fridge 30 minutes.  Simply follow the directions to cook and top with syrup. 

For Gluten Free use Gluten free Bread, if you have just one person gluten free make it in a small personalized sized tin. It makes the little gluten free guy feel special too.  

A Raspberry pan before the top layer
A Blueberry pan before the top layer

This is what is should look like before you put the lid on and put it in the freezer. 

The link to print the reciepe and Grocery List:
Berry, Apple, or Peach Stuffed French Toast