Cook More Real Food: Freezer Cooking Day 1 Results
Today was Day 1 of the Freezer Cooking portion of the Cook More Real Food event. It’s been a long day of cooking, but it’s exciting to see the results of all that hard work! Phew!
In the first picture, you can see:
- Jars of chicken broth
- 2 dozen pumpkin gluten-free muffins (hmmm, now where did that other dozen muffins disappear to? If you bake it, they will eat it…)
- 3 meals worth of seasoned/cooked taco meat mixed with beans
- A whole bunch of bags of cooked beans (navy, pinto, black) in 1 or 2 cup amounts
In this picture, you can see:
- A bag of freezer hashbrowns (these worked pretty well, except I think they would be easier to grate if there were slightly on the undercooked side. Mine were a bit too soft to grate easily, but I’m sure they’ll still taste great)
- 3 loaves of soaked, yeasted bread made with Kamut flour
- One bowl of regular mashed potatoes (for making Shepherd’s Pie tomorrow) and another bowl of mashed yams/sweet potatoes (for making Addictive Sweet Potato Burritos, which I didn’t have time for today).
- Two quadruple batches of Power Bars (similar to Larabars) from the Healthy Snacks to Go ebook (yes, they’re also been dug into a little bit!)
Not shown but also made today:
- A huge pot of rice, to use in Chicken Divan tomorrow, as well as extra to freeze for making fried rice.
- A double batch of soaked granola, just finishing up dehydrating as I type this.
- A large pot of beef broth is currently simmering and will be ready tomorrow morning.
I didn’t get quite everything done from my list today and I had to switch a few things around, but overall I felt like it was a really productive day!
Tomorrow, I have less time than today but I still hope to make:
- Chicken Divan
- Addictive Sweet Potato Burritos
- A crockpot full of chili (beans are soaking in there already)
- Pizza dough
- Pizza sauce
- Shepherd’s Pie
Still pretty ambitious, but since many of the components are already made (mashed potatoes, beans, rice, etc.) I’m hoping that I should be able to get most of it done at least!
If you’re looking for some of these recipes, you can find several of the links in this post outlining my freezer cooking plan.
I’ve been looking for a hummus recipe. Could you share yours please? 🙂
.-= Miranda´s last blog ..Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins =-.
I was wondering, since you’re dairy free at the moment, how you modify the Chicken Divan recipe. I was going to use that one next week. My 3yo has a severe dairy allergy. I usually just use a chicken stock based gravy in casseroles that call for milk or cream of something soup. But I like to look for other options.
Hi! I’m just wondering how you manage to cook so much with three little ones underfoot? All I tried to make yesterday was granola, cream of mushroom soup and meatloaf but I felt like my toddler was trying to get my attention more than ever. In the end I got it done, but I felt like I shouldn’t have been so ambitious in my cooking. Thanks!
.-= Greta @ Mom Living Healthy´s last blog ..This Week’s Menu Plan =-.
@Greta @ Mom Living Healthy, I know you asked Stephanie, but I asked this same question earlier. I have a 4 year old and very busy 16 month old (and the combo of the two means that the older one screams a lot…we’re working on that).
I can’t do much at this stage either. Different stages you can get more done. That is the answer I am getting from others and that Stephanie said basically to me earlier. I find I can get done about the same # of things you listed above at a time. That is still something! I know some moms use videos but that doesn’t work well for toddlers. I find for my toddler having a big bowl and spoon and pot with lid and measuring cups on the floor with puffed cereal…the just grain kind (not the best but works for this) works well to occupy her for a little while. But still not a big list! That and we brought a plastic toddler slide inside. Again, gives me 15 more minutes.
@Greta @ Mom Living Healthy, I think it depends on what your kids are used to you doing. I have a 3 yr old, 2 yr old, and a 6 month old and I am able to be in the kitchen for hours on end and they are ok with that. I can wear my baby and the older two will play in the kitchen, color at the table or help me with what I am doing. Since we are a GF family I generally spend 4 hours a day in the kitchen anyway so adding a few more hours to that isn’t a huge deal for them. I just let them join in on the “fun”.
Okay, I feel sort of ridiculous bringing this up, but here’s my situation: I’ve been married for more than 20 years and I love cooking. However, I have some irrational fear about premaking food, putting it in the freezer, and then eating it later.
So, I guess that I’m looking for assurance that premade food can come out of the freezer tasting as good as fresh, whether it’s baked goods or something like lasagna. Also, do you have any hints for making the food taste as good frozen as fresh? Do you freeze your cooked goods once they have cooled to room temperature or when they are still warm?
Thanks so much to anyone that can help me out with these concerns. 🙂
.-= Jodi Anderson´s last blog ..recipe: sauteed radishes + asparagus =-.
@Jodi Anderson, Freezing things as soon as they’re cool (rather than letting them sit out for a while) is helpful. So is making sure that you store them well, in airtight containers, or that you get rid of any air in your bags. Also knowing what things don’t freeze well (dairy other than cheese, potatoes in chunks, peppers, etc.). There are certain things I never freeze, like veggies for a stir-fry for example. They just don’t taste the same.
I confess that I don’t think muffins are quite as good from the freezer, but to keep up in the busy season of life with little ones, it’s a worthwhile compromise. Breads still taste fine to me, but I do think that they dry out a bit faster after being frozen, so you might want to freeze in smaller quantities.
I find that things like casseroles and non-dairy/potato soups freeze best. Chili, burritos, pizza makings, etc. all freeze very well. You can also follow LifeasMom.com’s take on freezer cooking. She is a foodie who loves good, fresh meals, but she freezer cooks to keep up with her 6 kids that she homeschools. Search for “freezer cooking” on her site and you will find some great tips from someone really knowledgeable, who cares about how her foods taste. 🙂
Addictive Sweet Potato Burritos? With a title like that , you’re gonna have to share that recipe with us!!
.-= Angela Beery´s last blog ..Giveaway!! $25 Vinyl Wall Art by Wall Worthy =-.
@Angela Beery, They are surprisingly very good AND addictive. 🙂 I only wish it was my own recipe. Here’s the link:
How do you get your beans to look so nice after they’ve been cooked? When I cook mine, the skins start coming off, they break apart, and some get mushy.
Also, could you share your pizza sauce recipe?
@Jill, Perhaps you are overcooking them? I soak mine overnight, and then bring to a boil, skim the foam, put a lid on and put them down to low for an hour or so. I try not to let them get so done that they’re mushy, but so that they just nice and firm. Occasionally mine get too soft, but usually this methods keeps them looking nice. 🙂
I don’t have a pizza sauce recipe. Well, I do, but it’s just in my head! It’s basically tomato paste, with enough Sucanat or raw honey to taste, some garlic and onion powder, salt and pepper, Italian seasoning (or just basil and oregano), and a splash of apple cider vinegar. I just heat it on low until the flavors are melded. Very simple!
@Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home,
Do you soak your beans in just plain water, or with an acid medium?
Hi Stephanie, I am also wondering if you soak your beans and grains in an acid medium of some type to break down the phytates?
Thanks, and blessings,
I soak them overnight in water with a bit of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar.
hello stephanie new to this but I have tried to put apple cider vinegar in my beans to soak and they wouldn’t get done. So I just went back to the old way just plain filtered water. enjoy reading your post.
It all looks wonderful. I don’t know how you had the energy to type this up after cooking all that 🙂
I went very late too and ended up doing some of the finishing touches on a TV tray while watching a movie with my husband. It was amusing.
I ended up with 4x turkey sausage, salad nuts, muffins, crackers, raspberry ice cream base ready to be frozen today, almond power bars (these are super good), pesto sauce, English muffins, and another spiced, candied nut which turned out terribly!
Hope today is productive too 🙂
.-= Stacy @ Delighting in the Days´s last blog ..Favorite Salad Nuts =-.
@Stacy @ Delighting in the Days, No one said I had any energy left, LOL! Sounds like you were very productive, too! It was fun seeing your tweets today!
Stephanie – Your chicken stock looks amazing. I can never get mine that dark. I use whole chickens in the crockpot on day one and put the bones back in for day two. What is your secret?
@Suzanne, Onion skins. 🙂
They “dye” the stock somewhat and give it that beautiful color. I just save the ends of my onions and the skins. I plop them in a bag in my freezer, so that I can save up enough for the next time I make stock.
I was wondering what your opinion on Stevia sweetener was? Is this something that you have ever used, or would use? I am experimenting with learning how to bake with it b/c of its wonderful properties for diabetics (not me, but my extended family). Is it really as “natural and good for you” as they say it is, or do you really know? :S
@Amy, Yes, we use Stevia. I think that it is a wonderful alternative sweeteners. Most brands are Stevia are still quite processed, so this isn’t the most ideal as we want to consume our foods in their whole, more natural state. However, I still think that it is a great way to decrease the sugars in your diet, no matter which form you use it in.
I am experimenting with some unprocessed Stevia powder (it’s only dehydrated and ground up, so it’s still green and doesn’t dissolve quite as easily). I’m not sure what I think of it, but I’m hopeful that it will be a good substitute!
I’m tired just reading and looking at your list! Yesterday (Monday) I didn’t get anything done. Sunday I made 5 dozen meatballs, ate some for dinner and the rest went into the freezer. Today I packaged up 10 lbs of chicken leg/thigh quarters: 1 bag plain, 1 bag with Asian-BBQ sauce, 1 bag with taco seasoning for dinner Thursday night. I also made granola, half going into the freezer so we don’t eat it all at once. I shredded up one of the large zucchinis I got from the farmer’s market and made 4 mini-loaves of bread and froze another 1 cup of the shredded. I noticed some ripe bananas in the basket and made a loaf of banana bread, too. I did not realize I was so low on sugar and must go to the store before making cupcakes for DD’s birthday tomorrow. I don’t bake much in the summer, it’s just too hot, but when I do I will be trying to stash more things in the freezer as I the weeks go on.
@Jennifer, Sounds like you got lots done, too! 🙂
Well like I said I can’t participate right now, but I sort of did anyways…I made 2 dozen banana muffins, 5 granola bars (1/4 of the healthy snacks to go recipe, just to try it…who needs 20 if we didn’t like them!) and 1 dozen oatmeal cookies (a new recipe with sucanat, so I wanted to make sure it was good without making many…my husband says it is). But this isn’t for my freezer, its mostly for my husband’s trip this week. We’ll keep some cookies and muffins but most of it is for his trip. My secret was doing this during 4 year old’s quiet time and while the toddler played on the plastic toddler slide that I wiped and brought inside! I am so happy to get all that done. She loves that slide! A side of the road freebee! 🙂
@Nola, Yay! 🙂
Hi I was just wondering, if your freezer snap lock bags are bpa free. I know a lot of plastics contain it and wondered how good it is putting food into freezer snap lock bags if they contain it. Thanks
@Melissa, Nope, freezer bags do not have BPA in them. BPA is usually found only in hard plastics, not soft ones. Of course, using less plastic is definitely best, but these are one of the few plastic products I still use fairly frequently.
@Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home, Thanks for that, it is good to know, they are just so handy and reusable!! 🙂
Wow! Good for you!! Do you have a recipe that you follow for soaked granola??
@Alison @ Hospitality Haven, The link to it is in this post:
Oh, your Kamut bread loaves look lovely. I find Kamut a bit difficult to work with…such a different texture. Bread comes out fine when mixed with other grains, but alone, not so pretty. Would you mind sharing your recipe please? Thank you!
I’ve been spending some time researching more freezer meals for a break this afternoon…I really hope I can do a freezer meal day this summer. Anyways, that said, I came back to your list to see what you made and any recipes you had posted. I was also curious as another woman said as to how you are subbing the dairy in some of your freezer meals that I see have dairy in them (or perhaps you are no longer dairy free or only doing it for those who can eat dairy). That is my hardest part with freezer meals- the dairy part.
Just a thought on the frozen hash browns…you might want to try shredding them raw then par-cooking them and freezing them. That may help them hold their shape better.
I got about 10-2 & 4 cup bags of chicken broth done last week plus a chicken taco-zagna and chicken & rice frozen last week. Today I am working on bread-baking and a pork butt for barbecue.
Thanks for all the great ideas and inspiration!
I know this is question is way late- but looking at your beans it doesn’t look like you froze them in any of their cooking liquid. Do they not dry out?
@Leslie, No, I don’t find that they do. I’m sure it would be fine if you kept some of the liquid, though.