I began my freezer cooking adventure by planning a monthly menu and then assembling those meals in one day and freezing them. No more cooking for a whole month! It was heavenly, but as a busy single mom of 4, there was seldom a full day to devote to preparing the meals and I eventually gave up.
Then I learned that freezer cooking is more than making and freezing 30 meals at once. Freezer cooks eventually develop a method that works for them and their family.
Session freezer cooking is what works best for us. For instance, when hamburger is on sale I purchase as much as I can afford. First, I make several meatloaves using my favorite recipe, then divide among zipper bags and freeze flat. Then on to meatballs, baking them off in the oven before freezing.
The rest is fried in a huge pot, rinsed and drained. Of the fried portion, I will make a portion into taco meat and another into sloppy joe meat and freeze flat in zipper bags. The rest is frozen in zipper bags as plain cooked ground beef, ready for any sauce or casserole that calls for hamburger.
You will not believe how quickly a meal goes together when the prep work is already done! The same session method works for bacon (bake in the oven and the strips remain flat!), bulk sausage, potatoes, muffins... even cookie dough.
I will share more details of my freezer sessions later, but for now here's a favorite from my potato session: J.W. Potatoes. Our freezer is rarely without them. They are quickly heated from frozen in the toaster oven, microwave or oven. Add a salad and bread to make a delicious and quick meal.
Begin by baking the potatoes in the oven and then slicing them in half. This must be done while they're still pretty hot (note the ginger hold on the potato!). They don't mash well when cooled. Not that I'd know that for sure or anything....
We baked an entire 10 pound bag of potatoes. So there was a lot of cutting to do. Hold them with a hot pad if they're still really hot.
Then start scooping. Leave a small rim of potato inside the shell, but if you get too close in some places, it really won't matter. So don't stress.
Mix the potatoes with the remaining ingredients and add more milk if necessary. But don't make them too thin. They need to be thicker than mashed potatoes. Mound the potato mixture back into the potatoes.
If baking now, put them back into a 300 degree oven for a few minutes to warm them up and melt the cheese. If freezing for later, place the entire tray in the freezer until the potatoes are frozen solid. Then put them in zipper bags, label and return to freezer. Reheat as many as you need in the oven at 300.
4 large baking potatoes
4 strips crisply fried, crumbled bacon
1/2 pound bulk sausage, fried and drained
2 tablespoons parsley
1 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 to 2 cups grated cheese
Bake the potatoes and halve lengthwise while still hot. Holding the potatoes with a hot pad, scoop out the insides, leaving a small rim of potato in the shells. Mash and mix in the remaining ingredients. Refill the shells with potato mixture. Reheat in @300.
Double or triple for freezer cooking. They are fabulous as a side dish, too...just leave out the meats and add a little more cheese.