~ Foods that Do Not Freeze Well
|Sour Cream (becomes
but is fine if mixed into a recipe)
||Cream Cheese (becomes
watery and texture changes)
||Cheese (crumbles, but
is fine for shredding or in recipes)
||Fried Foods (lose
crispness or become soggy)
||Egg Whites- cooked
(become tough & rubbery)
||Cream Pies (become
watery or lumpy)
||Icings made with egg
whites (become foamy)
Foods that change a bit when frozen
||Raw Vegetables (lose
crispness, but if prepared correctly can be used for cooking or stews & soups.
||Yogurt (may change
||Heavy Cream (will not
whip when thawed but can be used for cooking)
||Pastas & Grains
(softer after freezing/reheating- undercook before freezing to counter-balance)
green peppers, herbs & flavorings (flavor may increase or diminish with
freezing. Add afterwards when possible)
||Thickened sauces or
stews (may need thinning after thawing)
||Gravies or Fat-based
sauces (may separate & need to be recombined)
Your Recipes to OAMC
First: Choose enough recipes to fill about
4 weeks worth of meals for your family. This will generally be around 24 recipes,
but may vary depending on how often your family eats out, uses leftovers, wants to cook
from scratch, etc.. Try to balance the variety of meals so you aren't eating only
casseroles or only stews & soups.
Second: Make up your grocery list, tailored to the recipes you have
chosen for the next four weeks. The 'MasterCook' program is great for this because
it will help you to make up your grocery list. Be sure to include all items which
you don't already have on hand, including zip baggies, aluminum pans, aluminum foil or
other containers/products you will need to prepare the food for freezing. Be sure to
double check the food you already have on hand, to make sure of the amounts available so
you do not run out in the middle of your cooking day. It is helpful to put all
needed ingredients on the same list and then using a highlighter marker, cross off the
ingredients you already have on hand. You may want to make a master copy of this
list, should you make the same combination of recipes again, as this will save you time
when making your list and determining what you need to buy.
Third: Organize the recipes which you will be using for your cooking
session. Many folks find that a three ring binder with vinyl sleeves inside works
well for this because they can just wipe the sheets off if they get food on them.
You can also add or remove recipes easily with this method of recipe storage.
Fourth: Take your recipes, and break them down into ingredient amounts
(chopped onions for spaghetti, soups & casseroles can all be done together, then
separated) When you are ready to begin cooking, do this preparation first, so
ingredients are prepared when you get down to the individual recipes.
Pre-cook any meats or other
ingredients which will be needed in assembling your recipes, such as layered casseroles,
etc.. Once this is done, you can set soups & stews on to simmer while you
assemble other recipes.
When assembling casseroles,
breakfast burritos, or other recipes, it is helpful to use aluminum pans which are
disposable, OR to line cake pans or casserole dishes with heavy aluminum foil so they can
be removed from the original pans once frozen. You may want to mark your finished
frozen entrees with not only the name, date & number of servings, but also with the
size of the pan the entree was originally frozen in, so you can pop it back inside the
original pan when thawing and cooking it for your family.
When freezing, your foods will
freeze quicker if they are placed at the bottom of your freezer. Cold falls, and
they will freeze faster when you do this. Once frozen, you can stack them in
sections, or on shelves so you know where to find the meals when you want them. It
is very helpful to freeze soups and stews in freezer quality zip baggies, laying them on
their sides while freezing, so they can be stacked like books on your freezer
shelves. This will also aide in quick defrosting when you are ready to use the
Fifth: On the day you have chosen to do the cooking, start early in
the day, and be sure to wear comfortable shoes and clothing. Have changes of towels
and aprons handy. Keep the clutter in your kitchen down to a minimum, to make the
assembly go smoother. I find it helpful to tape the vinyl sleeves holding my recipes
to the doors of my cupboards so they are at eye level and out of the way while I am
working. (Be sure to use masking tape or another mild adhesive so you do not marr
your cupboard finish).
Sixth: I find it helpful to set aside one of the meals I am
preparing, to feed my family on the day I am cooking, although we sometimes have 'sample
nights' on the day of cooking, with the extra ingredients or amounts that do not
quite fit into the freezer containers. This is a nice way to get your family excited
about what you are doing, and to help them to look forward to eating the meals you have
just put away for the month.
WARNING: This type of cooking can become addictive! Many women
find themselves with two or three months worth of meals in their freezers, and when food
comes on a good sale, have to restrain themselves from not picking up a great bargain and
doing just one more 'chicken session' or 'ground beef session'!
One Last Freezer Hint:
It is helpful to break up the
cooking session into several parts:
Make only Muffins, Breakfast Burritios, Breakfast Casseroles, etc.
Chicken: Make only
recipes using that ten pounds of chicken you got on sale Saturday ;-)
Ground Beef: Make only
recipes using that ten pounds of lean ground beef you picked up at an incredibly low
Baking Session: Make
breads, rolls, pizza crusts, cookies or other baked goods. Remember that baked goods
should be kept in one piece to discourage drying out. Cookie doughs can also be
frozen before baking.