Wednesday, February 25

Freezing Foods

Wednesdays are typically the day I try to make something that can be frozen for another meal. I made minestrone soup on Sunday and froze half, so I won't be making anything extra today, but I wanted to offer some of my tips for freezing foods.

Soups: Most soups freeze well and many recipes can easily be doubled. Cream-based soups should not be frozen as they tend to separate. To save freezer space when freezing soups, put a gallon size freezer bag in a 4-cup measuring cup or bowl and fill (about 4 cups). Seal the bag, extracting most of the air, lay flat on a cookie sheet and place in freezer. When frozen, the bags can easily be stacked and take up less space than plastic containers.

Casseroles: When feeding just the two of us, a full-sized casserole (or similar meal baked in a 9x13 pan) gets boring as leftovers and goes bad before we can eat it all. To solve this problem, I invested in some smaller size Pyrex pans (8x8, 6x9, 3x6). When putting together a meal, I divide the food between two baking dishes, then bake one and freeze the other. This works well for pasta dishes, such as mac & cheese or lasagna, and casseroles, including enchiladas.

To keep my pan available for use, I line the dish with plastic wrap or foil. When the food is frozen, simply lift it out, place in a freezer bag and store until ready to use. To heat frozen meals, remove plastic and return to pan to bake. Most foods can be baked from frozen, just add on to the baking time. You can also defrost it overnight in the refrigerator before baking.

Other foods/leftovers to freeze: I have successfully frozen taco meat, sloppy joe meat, pasta sauce, meatballs, cooked rice, burritos, bean dishes and stuffed pastas.

What foods do you like to freeze? Do you have any other tips for freezing meals or leftovers to share with me?

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