Sunday, August 2, 2009
Stocking the Freezer
I had a couple of requests last week (Gypsy Lady and Stacey) to talk about how I freeze the items I've been cooking to stock up my freezer for the start of the school year. I'd be glad to, but I want to preface this post with the fact that I am no expert on freezer cooking and can't promise the way that I store things is the "right" way to do it. I just know it works for me. So, here are my methods for my most common freezer stock-up items.
Casseroles (like lasagna etc.) - I usually make several lasagnas at a time. If I'm going to take the time to make one, I figure I might as well make four. It doesn't take that much longer. I will create all of the layers and make sure they are completely cool (I don't pre-bake them). I then cover them with plastic wrap, and then a layer of foil. Finally, they go in the freezer. Once they are frozen solid, I will usually stack them to make room for more items, or I can place other items on top of them (see top row of above picture).
Soups - I eat soup almost every day for my lunch at school. So, I make a big pot of soup and then divide it into individual portions that I put into plastic storage bowls (the kind that are freezer safe and microwave safe). Before I put lids on the bowls, I make sure the soup has cooled completely. Sometimes I will freeze a larger bowl if I know it is a soup that we might eat for a meal. I do that a lot with chili.
Quick Breads (i.e. banana, zucchini, pumpkin, etc.) - After baking the loaves of bread, I let them cool a bit, but not completely. When they are still slightly warm, I wrap them in a layer of plastic wrap. I find this helps keep the bread moist when you thaw it. I'm sure someone smarter than me will tell me that's the wrong way to do it, but it works for me. :) I then wrap it in aluminum foil, and place it in a freezer bag. I've never had a problem with freezer burn, and the breads always taste great when thawed.
Muffins - I simply let them cool and place them in freezer bags. I used to wrap them each individually in plastic wrap and then put them in the bags, but it really didn't make that much difference.
Well ladies, I hope this helps a bit. Let me know if you have any questions about my freezing methods. And, if you have any great tips, please be sure to share them in the comments!