Friday, January 1, 2010

Freezing Meals Technique

For Christmas Tate and I made a bunch of freezer meals for his parents, so I thought I would share my favorite technique!

I love having a meal or two (or more if there is room) in my freezer for busy days, but I hate when they take up all of my freezer space, and when all of my dishes are in the freezer and I can't use them.  This is the best idea to solve that problem; (though I am sure this idea has been done before, I've never heard of anyone else doing it so I will take the credit).

I used this idea all the time when it was just me and my hubby... we could never finish a whole 9x13" casserole, but half that size would be great.  That is when I started making two smaller dinners out of one large recipe:

You will need one or more small casserole dish; 8x6", 8x8" and 9x9" all work well.  You can go smaller for individual servings, but the listed sizes will feed my small family of 4 (without leftovers).  Most importantly, you need a small enough dish that the contents will be able to fit into a gallon freezer ziplock bag.

The basic idea is to make one large recipe and divide it up between two smaller casserole dishes (or more for individual servings).  I usually make one to eat immediately, and freeze the other.

First, line the casserole dishes that will be frozen with tin-foil.  Fill the dishes with whatever it is you are making (this picture is two different recipes, but you get the idea). 

Put casserole dish in freezer overnight or for several hours.  When frozen, take out and remove the food from the dish (this is where the tinfoil comes in handy).

Once removed, place in a freezer bag - I label with the item, the date, and the cooking instructions.

Soups, stews, and sauces can be poured into quart sized bags and frozen.

And there it is!  No mess, less space, and no freezer burn!

When ready to eat, take out of bag and put back in casserole dish.

Frozen meals are best if used within 3 months.

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