Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Freezer Cooking

I have attempted freezer cooking before, but it mainly involved freezing individual chicken breasts and pounds of ground beef from Costco; there was no real "cooking" to it, although it did save us money on protein. A few months back I found a YouTube video of a lady who literally put together 5 meals in 5 minutes in freezer bags; when she was ready to cook them, she'd pull out one of the freezer bags (which each contained some form of protein, a starch, a veggie, and some kind of marinade) and dump the entire bag into the crockpot, leave for work and come home to a great smelling kitchen and a ready-made dinner. Now I can't find that YouTube video, but I've always wanted to attempt the whole freezer cooking thing, to save both money AND time AND energy. So this week is the week. I've picked my menu, I've researched a bit on planning and prepping, and I've browsed tons of other blogs for great freezer ideas and ways to succeed in OAMC (that's "once-a-month-cooking", and apparently it's a popular acronym; you can even type in "OAMC" on several recipe websites and they'll give you pages after page of recipes! Who knew?)

I figure once the baby gets here I will be an expert on this freezer cooking thing. For now I am just going to practice and learn. I am planning on making around 10-15 meals over the next 2 or 3 days; the idea of cooking an entire month's worth of dinners kind of scares me, to be honest, and I don't have the freezer room anyway. So 10-15 meals it will be. I started tonight by making a spinach and cheese quiche; this recipe is my mother's and it is something I grew up eating and LOVING. This could easily be eaten as a breakfast quiche; we usually eat it for dinner, though, with a salad and some Sister Schubert rolls!

Here is the recipe; it makes 2 quiches:

2 frozen pie crusts
1 bag or block of frozen chopped spinach, thawed
4 eggs
1 lb cottage cheese
1 bag shredded colby jack cheese (about 2 cups?)
1 T. flour
3 T. melted butter
1 tsp garlic salt
*optional: 4 slices bacon, cooked and chopped into pieces*

No need to thaw or cook pie crusts ahead of time. Just combine everything and pour into the crusts. Bake at 350 for 1 hour, covering with foil for the last 10 minutes. Enjoy immediately, or if you want to freeze them, let them cool completely, then wrap in plastic wrap, then foil, and freeze until you're ready to eat them. I would suggest writing the cooking instructions (Bake @ 350 for 1 hour) on the foil with a sharpie so you won't forget them!

As for the next few days, here are my plans:

2 lasagnas
2 baked spaghetti dishes
2 chicken macaroni bakes
2 chicken pot pies
15 brown bag burritos
15 breakfast burritos

That's 10 meals, including the quiches. The burritos will be individually wrapped and will be for on-the-go meals or emergency dinners (we always have chips and salsa on hand, so these are a no brainer for us!) For the casseroles, I plan on using the 8x8 inch Pyrex pans with lids for freezing, instead of huge 13x9 casseroles. Since there are only 2.5 of us, we can never tackle a 13x9 on our own. Even an 8x8 lasagna will feed us twice, so I'll actually be preparing 20 meals. That's almost a month's worth, so I think we'll be good to go. I'll post more recipes as I tackle these dishes.


Julie Young said...

Share more recipes! I just printed off the quiche one and I am going to be making that one next week. Yum!

Katie said...

You didn't waste any time getting going on the freezer cooking! I think it is such a good idea! Keep us posted on how it goes!

The Penter Family said...

I LOVE this. When I cook, instead of making a big casserole, I divide it into two smaller casseroles in those square pans and we eat one and I freeze the other. We almost always have a couple extra casseroles in the freezer...

{Amanda} said...

WHOA! I love that you're doing the OAMC =) As tough as it was cooking for just 1, it's particularly tough with 1.5 with the .5 being a toddler... "Fish sticks again Mommy?"

Oh and I LOVE QUICHE so thanks for that recipe- will need to try that out soon.

Ashley said...

What a great idea! I'm like you, we have hardly any freezer space so if I did this it would have to be like 10 meals but man, this would save time.

Kristy said...

Great idea Haley! Doing this during the school year keeps me sane--and from blowing my money on eating out every night! Love the quiche recipe, and I'd also love to hear any more that you come up with!

Melissa Shores said...

Awesome! I would love to do that...but we need to buy a deep freeze before I do anything. Our freezer is crazy full right now!
I have a great Crock Pot Chunky Chili recipe that we tried last night. It was a major hit at our house...even with Addie!

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