Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Freezing Cooking in a Frenzy

I just realized this never posted:

Well, here you all go! I have fielded many questions about our over the weekend adventure of Freezer Cooking. I would like to first and foremost say that this would not have been possible without Nathan. Whew! The patience that man has is insane. I, on the other hand, have no patience at all. What is that saying my mother use to always tell me "patience is a virtue". I think I always responded, "not my virtue". Wow, was I ever right. A spatula was tossed, a glass bowl was shattered, and cooking sheets were knocked on the floor. Oh, did I mention sometimes I have a temper??  :)

So, for this freezer cooking, I can't take all the credit. I got most of the ideas off of pinterest! Actually, I got all of the ideas off of pinterest! I would have never done it without finding all of the ideas and recipes off of pinterest.

First, we planned out all of the recipes. I knew that this was going to be a big adventure, and I didn't want to have to go back to the grocery store upteen million times. (Nathan went back twice).  So, I wrote out all of the recipes, how much we needed of each thing and then I wrote out a shopping list by aisle at Hy-Vee.  I also wanted to make sure that we had enough baggies, seran wrap, and foil. Once we got to the store, Nathan questioned the idea of putting everything in a baggie. They were having a sale on containers, so we bought some of them and boy am I ever happy we did. (Did I ever mention I am marrying a genius??)

So, we got home and carried in all of the groceries. I organized them by what went with what. All the ingredients for each recipe stayed with that recipe so that things wouldn't get all jumpled together.  So, up into now, my organization has been great, right?  Here is where I messed up and sent the entire day spiraling down, until my Super hero swooped in and saved the day.

We started with the tater tot casserole. We got the hamburger browned and everything mixed up in bowls. I had the pan lined with seran wrap (mistake one--use foil instead). I put in all the ingredients and then placed it in the freezer. Everything that I read said to "flash freeze" for 90 minutes. My mother has since told me that because I placed so much in the freezer at once, and since they were all hot items, it would take much longer then 90 minutes for these things to freeze. So, my advice, freeze for a good 3-4 hours. The idea is that you can slice the items into single serving, place in a baggie and on you go. Ours did not turn out like that at all, but we made it work, and it still looks just as yummy! Hey, a casserole is just a bunch of shit all thrown in a pan together anyways isnt it??

We did the same thing with the lasagna, (forgot spaghetti sauce. Nathan's first trip to the store).  We left it in the freezer for much longer and it was frozen pretty solid it sliced much nicer. Also I lined the pans with foil instead of seran wrap.

Nathan enjoys stir fry (I'm not a fan). Usually he frys everything up in the pan and then he has like a week's worth of meals. We end up throwing some away. Which always annoys me, but I understand not wanting to eat the same thing every day, all day! So, we figured if he put things in single serving baggies, we wouldn't waste as much. He sliced up all of his pepper and onions and put it in with the raw meat. Then we threw them in the freezer and that was done.

Another thing that Nathan likes to eat are chicken enchiladas. We make these in the crock pot. So Nathan sliced up the peppers and onions and threw in the frozen chicken breasts. We use 1 hot jar of salsa and 1 mild jar of salsa. That just sat in the crock pot all day. It usually takes 4-6 hours. We put it into single serving containers. Nathan usually eats 3-4 of the enchiladas at a time, so that was the serving size we used.

We also made two lasagnas. We put foil in the bottom of the pan, and then froze the whole thing. We made 2 of them, and then also made one that we cut up into 6 single servings and froze them.

I really enjoy eating Jimmy Dean Breakfast Bowls. It is like sausage, potatoes, cheese and scrambled eggs. I thought instead of spending the 2.99 we do on these, or however much they usually cost, I could just make my own. So we scrambled up the egg and sausage. For the potatoes, I took red potatoes and cubed them. I sprinkled them with olive oil, put them on foil and baked them at 350 for 20 minutes! They were perfect. I just threw even amounts of each in containers and those were done.

We also wanted to make breakfast burritos to grab and go in the morning. We used ham, sausage, bacon, potatoes, scrambled eggs, and cheese.  This part SUCKED! I had no idea how hard it was to roll a burrito,  put it was totally worth it. These were amazing!

Overall, everything turned out okay and it will make our lives so much easier. I am very thankful that we did it, and I am also very thankful that I have a guy like Nathan who stays calm while I am throwing spatulas across the kitchen and breaking bowls on the kitchen floor! :)

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