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Freezer meals

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I'll be leaving on Wednesday to go back to Miami for a week to help my mom and dad while daddy is recovering from a 2 month hospital stay. I don't think I've talked much about what went on from last October-January in the main forums. It was a really rough time and I confined what little I did talk about, to the Moderator's forum we have.


Suffice it to say that my dad has been unable to get out of bed, much less walk, since the middle of last October due to an almost catastrophic illness he had. Insurance is a joke and while they technically have decent insurance, it's like trying to fight City Hall on getting them to do what the policy says he deserves. Consequently, one of my brothers has stepped up to the plate and spends countless hours at my parents home, doing PT and OT and daddy is slowly making progress.


Anyway, I spent 2.5 months down there helping in a variety of ways when my dad was in the hospital and inpatient rehab facility. I caught covid down there on New Years day and came back home to recover on a variety of levels. It has been incredibly difficult for my mom to carry both herself and my dad, so I am going down next Wednesday to spend a week cooking up a variety of meals in excess, to vacuum seal and put in her freezer so that she will just have to pull out a home cooked meal to heat up for her and my dad.


I've been putting together a list of things that I can make that freeze well (not everything freezes well) and wanted to ask if any one has any other ideas or suggestions. This list is not all encompassing and I don't know if I'll make everything, but I wanted to make sure I had enough variety and see what the time there will allow me to make. I also know there are a ton of threads on this subject but I'm pressed for time and don't feel like doing a bunch of searches.


Here's the list - and if y'all have any other ideas or suggestions, please share:


Salisbury steak (I don't now if mashed potatoes freeze well...I think they freeze well but do they taste as fresh as when freshly made?)


Tacos - basically the meat portion


Bolognese - it's easy to just boil up some fresh spaghetti


Beef barbacoa - basically a taco type meal with shredded beef


Beef bourguignon  - a fancy beef stew


Roasted pork loin with a side of sautéed cabbage w/ bacon


Chicken cacciatore 


Chicken with small tomatoes made into a sauce for spaghettil


Stuffed peppers


Swedish meatballs (does sour cream freeze and heat up well?)


Homemade wood fired pizza (I'm thinking cooking it and freezing it might work?)


Anyway, that's the list so far. Any ideas, comments or suggestions is appreciated.

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I cook several pounds of dried beans (with extra bell peppers, onions, etc.) and ham or sausage.  We have it with either rice or cornbread.  Cornbread freezes well for me, also.

I freeze meatloaf frequently, also.

If you have the time and/ or energy, banana bread freezes well and has some nutrition to it.  Or muffins.

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Freezer meals are super for fast and easy meals.  I do them all the time but you might also consider …..

Dump meals……. These are basically the raw ingredients for a meal that are put into freezer bags or vacuum sealed and frozen.  These are not precooked. They are taken out the night before and thawed in the refrigerator and then cooked the next day.  These are especially great for crock pot cooking or oven baking.  

For instance, to make a soup you would prepare the vegetables and meat as normal, add seasonings and place it all in the bag raw.  If you would add broth then pour it over the ingredients and freeze it all together.  I freeze these flat on cookie sheets so when frozen they stack nicely.  To cook I thaw in the fridge overnight and simply dump them into the crock pot the next morning. They can also be simmered in a pan on the stove or depending on their content can be placed in the oven to make a stew. 

Another example,  I take a roast, (either beef or pork or lamb or?)or some pieces of poultry and place them in the bag.  This can be done using either fresh or frozen meat (don’t thaw first), I add whatever fresh or frozen vegetables I want in the recipe like carrots, onions, even potatoes. These are especially easy to do using frozen veggies because you just open and dump them in.  I then add whatever liquid I might marinate the meat in (or not), seal, and freeze.  It is easy to thaw and then put this in a roasting pan and cook it in the usual way. 

Admittedly these ideally should be thawed before hand so they do need to be planned for but it drastically increases the amount of meals you can make in a given time because you don’t have the precooking to deal with.  You can do them ‘assembly’ line style where you make several of the same or similar meals at the same time. The meals are more like fresh cooked and make a welcome change to the precooked ones.  

At any given time I have eight or ten of these ‘dump’ meals in my freezer.  Yesterday I had a stew that contained beef tips, carrots, onions, potatoes, green beans, celery, and tapioca with V-8 juice.  All had been dumped into a bag with the juice and frozen.  It wasn’t even totally thawed before I put it into a pot with a lid and let it cook for four or five hours.  

it helps to label these with the instructions so there is very little to even think about when preparing them.  Try thinking of the recipe ideas you already have listed and see if there is a way to freeze them raw and still have them easy to prepare after.  Like the pork loin with cabbage and bacon.  Could you put the raw pork into the bag, add the raw cabbage with bacon and whatever seasonings or additives you might have, freeze it all that way, and then after thawed  be cooked all together.  If you really do want the cabbage separate then can that recipe be frozen raw and easily cooked after thawing.  

MomM’s BBQ chicken wings or ribs might lend themselves to frozen dump meal methods.  
Why not make the pizzas up and freeze them uncooked.  It will probably not take a lot more to bake them than to reheat but of course wood fired might not be as easy. 
Stuffed peppers are easy.  I do them often by just cleaning the peppers, stuffing them with the raw meat mixture and freezing them upright on a cookie sheet before putting them in a bag to store.  I take out whatever amount I want to use, thaw (sometimes in the microwave), and cook them the usual way, adding whatever sauce I want.  

Well, you get the idea.  Not all meals have to be precooked to be easy. 




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I don't know how many people your mom feeds, but one problem with freezer food is the quantity.  You want effectively a TV dinner, and there's all these big chunks of ice that overwhelm.

I would look more at a snack sized zip lock bag of yellow rice or the rice-a-roni sized egg noodles and a snack bag of blanched or frozen french-cut green beans, (with slivered almonds if that's how you eat them) together in a pint bag.  If you don't think she's up to adding the butter and spices herself, by all means add those too.

Also a baggie of starch with riced or grated carrots.

Also macaroni and cheese, tailored to them.

Seriously, pint-sized ziplock bags of converted rice, cooked, ready to heat and eat.  Ditto egg noodles.  When I was sick, I wanted those so badly.

Also soups, real soups, cream and clear and chunky, in a portion she would eat herself or would serve to him without having to deal with leftovers.  You could freeze them in bags inside mugs if she's patient enough to microwave them on "thaw" instead of trying to "cook" them and getting a dangerous geyser.  If you're not sure, freeze in flat baggies.



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Also, you can make up stuffed green peppers. Soups and put into containers that can be pulled out and heated up.  What I do for grandson is buy the mashed potatoes and rice that come in the small one cup containers. It cost more that way, but for him and how wasteful he is at times it is well worth it. But also, very easy to pop in microwave to go with a meal. 

I make up meals and have those containers that have sections like the frozen dinners you can buy. I have cooked meals in those. Either chicken, beef or porkchop and then whatever veggies I have like corn, green beans butter beans or whatever veggie you have. 

If I remember correctly, I think the Market here used frozen mashed potatoes. They used to get them from a food distribution center, and I had seen them before covid hit in the grocery stores in the frozen food section. 

Things like chili freeze well also. Baked spaghetti also freezes well if already baked.


And what Mother said about dump meals are great and easy to do.


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I've been making freezer meals for my family and lately here are our favorites

Quiche-  I use premade deep dish pie crust and then for filling eggs, milk, spinach, ham or bacon, feta cheese and cheddar cheese (substitute whatever cheese you like)


Lasagna (I don't precook my noodles just layer and freeze and be sure to take out to thaw the day before so it doesn't take 2 hrs to cook. You can portion up in smaller containers too)

Chicken (Marinated in freezer bags with Italian dressing, Teriyaki or whatever marinate you like) serve with a prebagged salad and a microwaved baked potato or rice

Pre-made homemade soup frozen in freezer bags. I like split pea, and sausage chicken gumbo (add pre-cooked frozen rice when re-heating after cooking or it gets mushy) Can also add noodles

Meatloaf ( I put goat cheese and spinach in mine for a nice stuffed meatloaf)

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I know with Galen and I getting older, the smaller portions are better AND so are less spicy things.  We like spicy sometimes but not all the time like we used to.  More filling comfort food are what we like most of the time.  Frozen au gratin potatoes with or w/o ham are good and freeze well.   Chicken noodle soup, vegetable soup, Tator Tot casserole, scrambled eggs again, with or w/o, ham or bacon.  Tuna casserole is another that freezes well.  Berry pies freeze well and can be wrapped in individual slices.  Breads, pumpkin, zucchini, banana, etc. freeze well in slices or individual muffins.  


Now that we're older we just prefer food, nothing fancy or time consuming.  Just good everyday healthy food to fill us up.


With the food I have cooked and frozen I like to plan ahead and warm it slowly in my toaster over.  Spray my pan, add a very small amount of water and cover.  If we're hungry and don't want to wait the microwave works find.

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Yeah, I'm going to make some easy scalloped potatoes tomorrow Dee so that I can portion them out and vacuum seal and freeze. I made shrimp scampi tonight and a ton of it but not sure how the cooked shrimp would freeze and reheat. I'll have to do some research on that.


The freezer is full of ideas - meal components I've bought but not had much time to cook yet. Maybe tomorrow I'll start? The days seem to be side slammed with one thing or another it seems.

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Today I made the 2nd batch of my rustic chicken and cherry tomato pasta (or chicken and spaghetti), and portioned that out into the really nice little containers and put in the freezer. I had cleaned out moms freezer for her yesterday and threw out a bunch of stuff - some meats going back to 2018. That's what handicap issues due to people. The inability to rotate foods. I also divvy’d up the pork loin with sauce, cabbage and bacon and scalloped potatoes I had made in abundance the other day, and get those into the freezer too. That should clear out the meals I've made so far. I'm also going to make up a huge batch of taco meat and portion that out for the freezer so that all she'll have to do is pull out a container, heat it up and they'll have homemade tacos tomorrow. I also need to make the Salisbury steak and mashed potatoes as well as the pot roast and freeze that up for meals. 

I don’t know how I’ll do that in 36 hours but maybe if I start early and pound it out I just might make it. 

That’s the update for now. 

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