A month or so ago, I mentioned that I’m planning to do some freezer cooking in preparation for this new baby. That way, after the baby’s born, cooking is simple!
I’ve been working since then to formulate a plan. The thing is, a lot of things that we eat don’t really need advance preparation (like taco salad). So I’m going to be working with a combination of freezer and pantry preparation to make meals easiest on whoever has to make them — hopefully not me, at least at first!
Curious to know what I’m preparing, and how I’ll be storing it?
Recently my daughter told me she loves chicken nuggets, but only the “good ones” from home. That’s fine with me! As it happens, these are on my freezer plan. They’re rather time-consuming to make initially, but if I make a whole bunch — like 3 or 4 lbs. — all at once, it’s not so bad. And it’ll make a fast and reasonably healthy lunch (we fry ours in lard or beef tallow).
Here’s what will go in my freezer:
- 3 – 4 lbs. chicken nuggets
- 3 – 4 lbs. marinated chicken breasts
- 5 lbs. fish (various types, plain)
- 3 – 4 meatloaves, unbaked
- 3 – 4 batches chili
- 1 large batch refried beans
- 1 large batch black beans (Mexican-style)
- 1 large batch meat sauce
- 4 – 5 lbs. shredded and cubed cheeses (Cheddar and Romano)
- 2 doz. personal-size frozen pizzas
- 3 – 4 cups cheese sauce
- 4 – 5 8-cup bowls each of chicken and beef stock
- LOTS of frozen peas, broccoli, spinach, and other favorite veggies
- LOTS of frozen fruit (strawberries, pineapples, mangoes, etc.)
- An assortment of dinner rolls, muffins, etc.
Into my fridge:
- 1 gallon of yogurt (homemade keeps for weeks)
- 4 – 5 lbs. of carrots
- 2 – 3 lbs. of celery
Into my pantry:
- 1 large container blackened seasoning (for fish)
- 1 large container taco seasoning
- 3 lbs. “rice pilaf” mix (with brown and wild rice + spices and dehydrated veggies)
- 5 – 6 lbs. organic corn chips
- 2 – 3 lbs. homemade pancake mix (so far I’m the only one who really likes this…sigh)
- Other bread “mixes” — cornbread, chocolate muffins, etc. as deemed “necessary” by the family
This will all make dinner simple. My husband is perfectly capable of shredding lettuce, slicing tomatoes, frying meat, baking things, etc. He just doesn’t like complicated dishes, or having to “get the seasonings right.” So I’ll be doing all the seasonings for him! He can easily pair some rice with fish, or slice and bake some potatoes to go with meatloaf, or steam some veggies to go with chicken. Those, plus pizzas, soups, and taco salads will be our most common meals.
The yogurt will be used to make an endless supply of yogurt popsicles (along with the fruit). My children love them and they are a fast and easy snack. Some will be used for smoothies. We’ll also have regular milk delivered each week, from which we will largely make ice cream! We eat about a batch a day lately (it’s 1/4 c. maple syrup to 4 c. milk…so no, we’re not getting much sugar, especially spread among 2 – 4 people).
Most of the freezer items will be frozen in disposable pans, or wrapped in plastic wrap and then foil (like pizzas and meatloaves). We’ll unwrap them and drop them into the appropriate baking dishes when we need them. I prefer this because I don’t like to use aluminum pans. I don’t want any aluminum leaching into my food!
Soups and stock will be frozen either in mason jars or plastic containers, depending on what I have available at the time. Muffins or breads will be in plastic bags. My husband has told me he prefers fresh-baked breads, so I’ll be focusing more on “mixes” than pre-baked, frozen items.
Anyone interested in specific recipes for any of these items? If so, let me know which; maybe those would make good future postings….
What’s in your freezer?
Top image by Becoming Green