Buy Nothing Fail: I got me a freezer!

So, after MONTHS of deliberation, I finally bought my tiny chest freezer today from the Rideau Loblaws. It was definitely not an impulse buy: I’ve been weighing the pros and cons, and several times I’ve gone to bed having decided not to get one, only to wake up thinking about all the food I can freeze before Tiny Baby arrives.

So I will confess my sins on Crunchy Chicken, and move on to this new world of freezer meals . . . which is crazy! There are so many websites out there dedicated to “Once-a-Month Cooking” or OAMC as they are calling it on the interweb, but I think I need these last 2 months of pregnancy to slowly build up a supply of prepared dinners for the fall.

To be honest, I don’t even know what freezes well and what doesn’t. I’ve never been a very good freezer-user, so this lifestyle shift is going to require some training. My plans for the freezer include:

– a lot of home-made stock, in small packages (great for sauces)

– a bunch of local organic meat, especially ground beef

– cheese sauce (is it okay in the freezer??)

– pizzas: I’m planning to freeze dough that’s been rolled out, and separate baggies of pizza sauce in one-pizza sizes

– shredded cheese for said pizzas (Cheese is on sale this week at Loblaws for $4.99 for a large block): just shred cheese and lay it out on a cookie sheet to freeze in individual shreds, then sweep it into a baggie for storage

– a basic tomato-meat sauce that I can use as a base for either chili, spaghetti or lasagne by just adding different spices/ingredients

– some tomatoes if I can get some nice ones cheap at the farmer’s market. I’ve heard if you run a frozen tomato under hot water, the skins slip right off–great for sauces!

– 2 or three organic chickens

Not sure if I’ll have room for all this stuff, or if I’ll have room for more, but I think if I get these put away, we’ll be pretty well set-up for the first couple months of Tiny Baby’s appearance.  I’m glad I have some time to build up my stash. Next challenge will be to make sure we use all the stuff we put away!

Any other suggestions for freezable meals are very welcome!

8 thoughts on “Buy Nothing Fail: I got me a freezer!

  1. This is not cheating under the Crunchy Chicken rules. First of all its for food storage, and it was a long planned purchase. I love my little chest freezer in the basement, I have to get to filling it for the winter.

    Cheese Sauces, some people will tell you not to freeze them cause they separate. I freeze alfredo sauce, and while some of the fat does separate (I pour it off) and then use the sauce, and its delicious. I find you have to heat it slowly and stir constantly, but its fine.

    Shredded cheese that you are going to melt freezes fine, I also freeze small bricks of cheddar and feta. I buy them in bulk and then cut the bricks down to smaller sizes, which I can use within a month or so.

    Buying meat in bulk has saved me a ton of money. When the organic chickens are on sale I buy 2 or 3 (and they are on sale because they have to be used, or frozen within a day or two) and throw them in the freezer, I have 2 in there now.

    Stock can be frozen in ice cube trays and then transferred to a large container, and is great for adding a little flavor to lots of things.

    Consider if you have the freezer room, and the pans to do so, making a double batch of meals and freezing one meal for the next time. It takes the same time and energy, but double the ingredients. You will quickly learn what doesn’t freeze well. (Mainly things loose some flavor or texture, but are still edible when people say they don’t freeze well).

    I recently read in the comment thread on someone’s blog that I could cook my organic beans and then freeze them. Which is what I am doing tonight. I am soaking the beans durring the day (since I work) and then cooking them tonight when I get home. I will use some in a chili tomorrow, and the rest I will freeze for future use. I am going to undercook them, just a hare, because I want them to retain texture, and since I use them in dishes that will require additional cooking, I think I will be ok. Just as long as I boil white and red kidney beans for ten minutes to remove the toxins.

    Also you can assemble, uncooked meals and then freeze them to cook later.

    Congrats on the freezer.

  2. I at one time stocked up on rectangular plastic containers from the Dollar store. Whenever I had extra food I put them in a container and labeled it ( black marker and masking tape) its contents, and date. Once a month we have eat out of the freezer meal. It is all left overs, and makes one great selection.

    I also wash out my milk bags. I use them to freeze fruits and vegetables. Lable with marker or use masking tape. It works well.

    Congrats on your new freezer!

  3. Good for you.

    I make meatballs and freeze them for a quick meal (just pour sauce over and bake).

    Check out “The Best Make-Ahead Recipe” cookbook from Cook’s Illustrated. It’s got great freezer recipes, as well as slow-cooker stuff. One of my favourites is Tamale Pie, which can be made vegetarian style or with beef.

  4. I freeze whole plum tomatoes; it’s true…when you thaw them, the skins slip off. I do cut off the stem ends before freezing to make it easier. I’m also a soup fan, and make large pots of it; I freeze an extra quart of each kind I make for busy-night dinners or friends in need. Soup freezes really well.

    Good luck with the new addition!

  5. Casseroles, stews, soups, chilli and curries all work well. I’ve also frozen lasagne before (in a suitable container like pyrex which will go from freezer to oven) very successfully.

    I don’t know if you’ve heard this tip before, but when I freeze quantities of meals like the casseroles and soups, I tend to put a plastic bag inside a square box, fill the bag with the meal, freeze it and then you can take the box out leaving the frozen square meal in a bag, using the box for something else. It made storing everything in the freezer a little bit easier!

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