Organized and Productive Living

31 Days of Organized Living: Batch Cooking for the Freezer

Batch Cooking for the Freezer

The most useful kitchen appliance, in my opinion, is the freezer. My favorite appliance is a deep freezer, and I have had three in my twenty-one years of marriage. The first one we got from my parents, and we gave it to our neighbor because we wanted a bigger one. They still have it, as far as I know, and love it. When our second freezer died, we went out the same day and bought a new one. I’d rather go without a washing machine then my freezer. Not even kidding.

There are two camps when it comes to freezers: chest freezers and upright freezers. Each one has its pros and cons and you are either in one camp or the other. I am a chest freezer person for a lot of reasons, one of which is that I would spend a lot of time worrying about the door not being closed properly. But that’s neither here nor there.

The best thing about freezers, no matter how much space you have, is that you can plan ahead for a multitude of food situations: meals, parties, bake sales, holidays, 3pm cookie cravings, you name it. The key is in the planning, and there are several ways to approach it.

First there is the “double the recipe” approach. If you are already going to be baking bread, or apple pie, or making soup, or meatloaf, or whatever – make two of the item or double the recipe. The second batch or item gets cooled, wrapped or packaged, and stored in the freezer.

Second is the “plan ahead” approach. This is where you spend a good chunk of time assembling recipes specifically for the freezer. You can either cook them fully and freeze them, or assemble them into freezer bags (for dump recipes) or casserole dishes (for baked recipes), to be thawed (or not) and cooked at a later date. There are dozens and dozens of websites dedicated to this practice on the internet. Just google “freezer meals” and you’ll find all you need. You can also search for crockpot freezer meals and find even more recipes for meals you can assemble into freezer bags and then dump into your crockpot and cook later.

Third is the “portion size” method. This is good for couples, single people, or people who want to freeze lunch size portions of their leftovers. So at my house right now it’s just me and my husband. A lot of our casserole recipes make a big 9×13 pan full, which is too much for us to eat for one meal. ¬†We make it anyhow, and plan to divide it in half. One half goes towards that night’s dinner, and any leftover lunches, and the other half goes right into the freezer when it’s cooled. This happens frequently with soup recipes as well, and often with soup, we also put single size serving containers into the freezer for lunches to have later on too.

It’s all about thinking about your cooking, baking, and meals ahead of time. If you are already going to be spending the time in the kitchen with the dishes to wash anyhow, spend a little extra time and invest in a future dinner, or a baked good for breakfast, or a batch of cookies for a bake sale. As a side note, cookie dough can be dropped onto a sheet of parchment paper lining the pan, frozen, then removed and stored in a large freezer bag. When you are ready to bake the cookies, just take as many as you want out, and bake. Fresh cookies without all the hassle. You’re welcome.

 

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