May 5, 2009

My freezer frenzy

Since I've had some requests for more information about my freezer meal extravaganza, I decided to compile it here. I am by no means an expert, and I haven't yet tasted anything I've taking my word for it may be risking your health.

But hopefully not.

Here's a list of the recipes on my freezer "menu" (I still need to make the last three). The ones marked * are family recipes (if you're dying for them I'm happy to email), but I've linked to most of the rest that I found online. There are a few links I can't find already...I'm operating on fewer brain cells than usual.

Sweet & Sour Meatballs*
Floating Tacos
Brown Bag Burritos
Chicken & Black Bean Taquitos
Chicken Enchiladas*
Chicken Pot Pie (a Betty Crocker recipe)
Chicken Delight*
BBQ Pork (from a friend)
Shepherd's Pie
Taco Soup*
Chicken Parmesan
Beef Stroganoff
Sloppy Joes (used a mix and froze it)
Pizza Dough
Breakfast Muffins
Cornbread Muffins (a Betty Crocker recipe)

A friend sent me a fabulous resource called "Too Busy to Cook: A Busy Person's Approach to Cooking" by Lori Rogers. I tried (and failed) to find her stuff online, but this article summarizes the bits of wisdom I pulled from her book.

I also appreciated Lori's suggestion to develop a categorized grocery list. You know me and grocery shopping -- hate it!! -- and I dreaded this part. But I went through each recipe and put ingredients in categories like meat, dairy, produce, dry food, and canned goods. I also made sure to count how many disposable casserole dishes and freezer bags I needed. Shopping was a snap! I need to employ the list strategy more often.

When I started cooking Saturday morning, I browned all the hamburger at once, cooked all the chicken and turkey, shredded all the cheese, and chopped all the vegetables. Then it was just a matter of assembling the different recipes. I did all the beef recipes first, starting with the ones I was most familiar with and then moving to the ones I was trying for the first time. If something had to boil or simmer, I got started on the next recipe or next step of something else. And so it went (and went and went) until I was done. Pillar of efficiency that I am, it still took a looooong time.

I wouldn't recommend such an undertaking if you don't have help with your small children, but it would have been easy to divide up all the work I tackled on Saturday. If I hadn't felt a deadline looming, I would have done beef recipes one day and chicken on another. In the future, I'll just do a few recipes at a time instead of a dozen.

Hm...I think that's all. For those of you who asked, let me know if I left anything out! I'd love to hear of more recipes that freeze well, especially if they're pretty nutritious!
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