Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Filling the Freezer Part 2

Freezer Cooking is such an underground cooking way of life I think.  You have the die hard freezer users, some that freeze leftovers sometimes and then those that think the concept is completely gross, that unless it came frozen it shouldn't be in there.  Where do you fit?  Me, I'm all about filling my freezer to the max.  I love to buy and cook in bulk.  It saves not only time later on but usually money too.  There are so many things you can freeze from whole gallons of milk to pre-made casseroles and dinners to bread to produce to cookies.  There are some things that freeze better then others, but as a whole, you can pretty much stick anything in there. 
At holiday time I always start my Christmas cookie and candy baking anywhere between October and November so that it is done by Thanksgiving.  I freeze them all and then pull them out as I need them to make a tray to take to a party or have for dinner or whatever it may be. 
I love to freeze leftover coffee in ice cube trays for iced coffee or juice lemons or limes that need to get used.  I haven't done it, but I've heard to do this with left over buttermilk and heavy cream too.  You always have some of those left over after you use them for that one recipe! 
Breads of all kinds freeze great.  Go buy day old artisan breads from the bakery when they are on sale and freeze them to use for garlic bread, French toast, bread pudding or just to heat and eat! 
Cheese is another one that I do ALL the time.  I prefer to buy blocks of cheese.  You can freeze the whole block, or slice or shred it and freeze that way, pulling out what you need when you want it.  Lunch meats in the same way freeze well. 
Pre-make pancakes or waffles and save money and time instead of buying the boxed ones for 1/2 the price. 
Left over spaghetti sauce, chili, lasagna, and casseroles all freeze great too.
This freezer cooking that I'm talking about today though is for Crock-Pot Freezer Meals.  You dump the ingredients into  a freezer gallon size zip-lock bag and freeze.  When you want to make it just empty the bag into your Crock-Pot and let it cook.  Cannot be simpler!  This time I really wanted to stay away from the cream of whatever soups and we learned from last time that we didn't always like the chicken recipes that weren't a soup as much as some of the others.  Here is the link for my first round of Freezer Meals.

This time I made these Crock-Pot Freezer Recipes....
"Creamy" Chicken Tomato Soup (paleo)
Honey Apple Pork loin (paleo)
Taco Soup
White Chicken Chili
Pizza Sauce
I also made Freezer Friendly Pizza Dough, which I doubled and also made a 1/2 recipe to try with gluten free flour.  The gluten free turned out ok.  I think it needed a little less flour, it got really stiff and cracked easily, but tasted great.  This recipe is super fast and easy and doesn't require time to let rise.  I froze 3 portions of the pizza dough and with the 4th I made Calzones using The Pioneer Woman's Calzone filling recipe.  My family loved them and then I froze the left over ones for later.  (Just to clarify, I froze fully baked calzones)

Lastly, I made, what I call, Egg McMommies.  I stole this name from a childhood friend's mom.  She used to make her version of these for us after sleep overs.  My version I bake the eggs and make them a little bit healthier.  I first got the idea (again) from The Yummy Life.   Here is what I do...

Egg McMommies
Start by lightly spraying a jumbo muffin pan, ramekins or Pampered Chef Brownie Pan with cookie spray.  Crack an egg into each, sprinkle with a little pepper if you like.  Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes or until set.
Lightly brown Canadian bacon just long enough to sweat the water out.  *You could use fully cooked sausage patties if you prefer.
Split whole wheat English muffins (Toasted if you like) in half and layer with 1 slice of cheese (your choice, I usually use Cheddar or Colby Jack), 1 piece of Canadian bacon and 1 baked egg.  Put the top of the muffin on and wrap in parchment or in sandwich size zip-lock bags.  Freeze.  Heat in the microwave about 3 minutes on 1/2 power.  My hubby loves these!

Have fun filling your freezer with something new.  What is your favorite things to freeze?

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