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Old 11-04-2004, 04:13 PM   #1
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Freezer Meals?

Does anyone do this? I'm a little reluctant because I'm afraid of freezer burn. I don't have very good luck with freezing things......I'm putting one of those vaccum sealer things on my Christmas wishlist....along with my Hobart Kitchen Aid 5 qt Mixer :D .

Anyway.......care to share your recipe and any tips you have?

What doesn't freeze well?

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Old 11-04-2004, 04:39 PM   #2
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Wait until you get your vacuum saver. Then you will want to make freezer meals all the time. Freezer burn will be a thing of the past. I actually just end up freezing my leftovers, but things like lasagna do very well as freezer meals. I think potatoes and cream based things don't do as well.
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Old 11-04-2004, 05:01 PM   #3
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I love freezing meals - I even asked for a forum for it.

There are 3 women who wrote a cookbook and then traveled around, promoting it to church groups, etc. They came to my MOPS(Mothers of pre-schoolers) group about 7 years ago and I've been doing it ever since.
The book is called "Don't panic! It's in the freezer"
The book gives you good tips, and some pretty decent recipes too.
It's become such a way of life for me that I've always got something to rely on when I don't have time to cook.

There are so many I do: manicotti, cranberry chicken, french dips, chicken cacciatore, beef flauta meat, soups, chilis, etc...

Here's a fun freezer meal - it's not hard at all, and makes a beautiful
presentation without work on the day you serve it:

Chicken Breasts in Phyllo

1 c cream cheese
1 c. chopped green onion
1/3 c. lemon juice
2 cloves minced garlic
2 tsp dried tarragon
12 chicken breast halves (boned & skinned)
salt & pepper to taste
1 c. butter, melted
24 sheets phyllo dough
1/3 c. parmesan cheese (freshly grated)

Cooking day instructions:
Combine first five ingredients to make sauce. Lightly sprinkle chicken breasts with salt & pepper. Place 2 sheets of phyllo on working surface. Quickly brush each sheet w/ melted butter (about 2 tsp). Spread about 1 T. of sauce on each side of chicken. Place breast in one corner of buttered phyllo sheets. Fold corner over breast, then fold sides over and roll breast up in the sheet to form a package.
Place in a greased baking dish (or put foil on pan for best results). Repeat with remaining chicken breasts and phyllo sheets. Brush packets with remaining butter and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Freeze by method below:

- Line your baking dish with aluminum foil first and then with a layer of plastic wrap (make sure that both are large enough to cover the bottom, sides and top of the dish). Fill the dish with your prepared meal. Seal the plastic wrap, removing as much air as possible. Then seal the outer aluminum foil layer. With the packaged meal still in the pan, place it in the freezer. Once the item has been flash frozen, slip the meal out of the pan and into a freezer bag.

Serving Day instructions:
Thaw completely before baking. Bake @ 375 degrees for 45-50 minutes, or until golden. Serve immediately.
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Old 11-04-2004, 05:48 PM   #4
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No recipe, just some info about what I do.

If it's something that goes in the oven, I make a lot. I at least double the recipe. So long as I can fit it on the rack, I make that much. Eat one and freeze the rest. I figure if I'm going to heat the oven, why heat it for one single small dish?

I don't get freezer burn if I use the dish in a month. I use the cheapest bags available. Vegetable bags work for short term freezing. I save my FoodSaver for freezing things I'll use in a year.
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Old 11-04-2004, 07:57 PM   #5
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For years I have used a cookbook by Mimi Wilson - Cooking for a Month ( I think that's the name - it's in storage...] There are month and 2 week plans that you can follow and use their step by step instructions [chop 4 pounds of onions, cook 4 whole chickens and debone etc] or pick a few recipes and cook them up on one day - I've been using this since before I knew foodsavers existed and have never had a problem with storage for ~60 days. I stored most in freezer ziplock bags, with as much air as possible pushed out; some foods suggested freezing in a baking pan, but for those I generally froze in an aluminum foil lined pan then popped it out and put it in a zip lock. The most I"ve frozen in one day is probably 25 meals...all of them excellent frozen entrees, probably better after freezing than if eaten the same day.
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Old 11-04-2004, 09:15 PM   #6
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These are good to freeze. I usually make them & put 2 or 3 in plastic containers without the spaghetti sauce & parmesan sprinkled on top. When I get ready for them I just thaw them & place them in a baking dish with the spaghetti sauce & sprinkle them with the parmesan cheese & bake as directed. I also keep containers of spaghetti sauce in the freezer.


Spinach Stuffed Lasagna Ruffles

1(8oz.)pkg lasagna noodles, uncooked
1(8oz)pkg cream cheese, softened
2(10oz.)pkgs frozen chopped spinach, thawed & drained
1(15oz)carton ricotta cheese
2C(8oz)grated mozzarella cheese
1 1/2C freshly grated parmesan cheese, divided
1 1/2tsp Italian seasoning
1/4tsp. salt
1(32oz)jar spaghetti sauce
Garnishes:fresh basil, freshly grated parmesan cheese

Cook noodles according to package directions & drain. Place noodles on layers of wax paper or plastic wrap.

Beat cream cheese at medium speed of electric mixer until smooth. Stir in spinach, ricotta, mozzarella. 1C. of parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, & salt. Spread 1/2C cheese mixture evenly over each cooked noodle. Roll up, jellyroll fashion, starting at narrow end. Cut lasagna rolls in half crosswise using a sharp knife.

Pour spaghetti sauce into a lightly greased 13x9x2 inch baking disk. Place lasagna ruffles, cut side down, over spaghetti sauce. Sprinkle top with remaining 1/2C parmesan cheese.

Cover & bake at 350F for 25 minutes or until lasagna ruffles are throughly heated. Garnish if desired. Yield 6-10 servings.

From Southern Living Our Best Five Star Recipes.
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Old 11-06-2004, 02:35 PM   #7
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So the secret is DONT BAKE THE PASTA DISH before you freeze it? I never really learned how to freeze, I only freeze herbs from the garden and prepared tomatoes from my garden. I would like to learn more on what NOT TO freeze.
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Old 11-06-2004, 03:57 PM   #8
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My freezer looks like the frozen food section in a market!! There are only the 2 of us...stews, soups, lasagna, meatballs w/sauce.... its usually hearty type food nothing creamy. I always make at least enough for a 2nd meal...on those days I want something home cooked but may not have the time..I just go to my freezer.
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Old 11-06-2004, 10:11 PM   #9
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Wow...........thanks everyone! This will surely help me out. My waking hours are starting to become quite hectic time wise, so this will def. help me out.
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Old 11-06-2004, 10:34 PM   #10
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i've found fresh pasta, uncooked, freezes well, and cooks up in 5 minutes or so. to go with it, make a big pot of sausages and meatballs in gravy, and put into quart containers, dividing up the meat into each container. it will freeze into a big block, so you don't have to worry about burn.
to reheat, while norgeskog isn't watching, pop it in the nuker for 10 minutes, then into a covered sauce pan for another 10.
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Old 11-06-2004, 11:08 PM   #11
 
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Agree absolutely Buckytom; pasta recipes are freezable but the pasta itself should be cooked a bit, in my own opinion, in order for the nuking to work out well....I'd prefer you did it in the oven (ie the reheating) but there you go...there's more than one way to skin a cat...

A few thoughts would be to have the meat fully cooked (like using veal, chicken or meatballs) and rested on top of the "individual" tray (you won't get sick from too-raw veggies-raw meat is a different scenario)

The "freezing period" and any "thawing period" will lock up the tastes and flavours most admirably...and accent the methods by which you do this...

I wish I could imagine the appropriate words or "sounds" about freezing cheese components, cooked or uncooked into this recipe, because cheese, once cooked, will take a VERY, VERY, delicate palate indeed, to discern any "difference" in a frozen lasagna...

And I "dare" any rebuttal on the point...

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Old 11-07-2004, 08:47 AM   #12
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buckytom
i've found fresh pasta, uncooked, freezes well, and cooks up in 5 minutes or so. to go with it, make a big pot of sausages and meatballs in gravy, and put into quart containers, dividing up the meat into each container. it will freeze into a big block, so you don't have to worry about burn.
to reheat, while norgeskog isn't watching, pop it in the nuker for 10 minutes, then into a covered sauce pan for another 10.
LOL!

that was too funny and unexpected! I am notorious for making a big pot of chili/soup/stew and freezing them in single-serve portions. If I am making something like chicken soup or stew, I like to use egg noodles and freeze just the base. Egg noodles cook quickly and the soup/stew can be ladled over some hot-cooked noodles when reheated. I have never frozen pasta.. not even uncooked.
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Old 11-07-2004, 05:02 PM   #13
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thanks guys for your further input.
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Old 03-14-2006, 04:10 PM   #14
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Hi!
I am new to this board, but am a freezer cooking enthusiast.
When I was pregnant with my daughter, my sister and I made up 19 meals for after the baby came.
This last weekend, I went to my sisters, and we did the same for her, as she is due next month.
We made 31 meals.
It was so fun and such a great accomplishment to see their freezer so full!
She and I plan on doing it together every 6 months, and doubling everything we made, so that we each can take 1/2 home with us!
I'd LOVE to see a board on freezer meals, where we can share/swap recipes!
HUGS!
S
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Old 03-16-2006, 07:19 PM   #15
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The trick is to wrap or store food to prevent air getting to it, thats why the food saver is so great it sucks out air that can freezer burn your food.if you want to freeze for a short period maybe a month or 2 your ok to use regular methods.I just bought a roll of Glad Freezer press and seal haven't tried it yet I would think it will be good for short term freezing.The only problem with the food saver is the plastic rolls are really expensive there is no reason for that but they got you where they want you on that one.
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Old 03-16-2006, 10:02 PM   #16
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I freeze a lot of casseroles. Uncooked. In the foil catering pans. Depending on what's in them, I cover them tightly with different "wraps". If there is tomato sauce in them, I cover them with plastic wrap first, then heavy duty foil. If there is no tomato sauce, I cover with Reynold's Wrap Release (especially if there is a cheese topping) - it's a heavy foil to start with. Now it's available in "heavy duty". Then I take 2" X 4" labels & write the contents & cooking instructions on them. Stick that on the top, cover with a piece of packing tape because the labels don't want to stay sometimes. Into the freezer & I am good to go!
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