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Freezer Cooking on The Coupon “High”–5 Meals in an Hour

August 3, 2012

in Adventures in Freezer Cooking

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It’s summer time which means right now afternoon and dinner times are a bit more relaxed.  I’ve still been cooking with the crockpot, but it’s so I can enjoy a day at the pool with the kids and come home to a home cooked meal.

However, school starts in less then a month and then afternoons aren’t quite so relaxed.  Between homework, activities and a baby they can be down right stressful.  So I’ve been looking into freezer cooking now so that I’ll have some meals on hand come those really busy afternoons.

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When I recently stocked up on ground round, instead of just separating it into meal size portions and freezing, I decided to take a go at Freezer Cooking.  The baby was sleeping so I figured I had about an hour.  In that time, I managed to make 5 meals.  One that got eaten that night and 4 to put in the Freezer for the Fall.

Now these are not gourmet meals since I am just starting My Adventures in Freezer Cooking, but they are meals  none the less.

To get started I put on a pot with boiling water to make 3 pounds of penne and zitti noodles and in another pan started browning 2 pounds of the hamburger.  While that cooked I cut up green pepper for all three dishes.

  • 3 Baked Ziti (2 for the Freezer and one that night)

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Here’s the recipe for 18 servings of Baked Ziti (divided between 3 meals)

Ingredients

3 pounds Zit or Penne Pasta
2 lb ground beef
1 cup green pepper (chopped)
1 cup onion (chopped)
2 jars spaghetti sauce
3 cups Grated Mozzarella Cheese
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (for when you reheat)

Directions

1. Cook pasta until barely tender (I set timer for 7 minutes)  Drain thoroughly and rinse with cold water to stop cooking
2. Brown ground beef and drain
3. Add onion and green pepper to beef and saute until soft
4. Add Spaghetti Sauce and pasta to meat mixture and stir well
5. Divide sauce and mixture between three gallon size freezer bags or if you’re serving one that night like I did put one into 9×13 baking pan.

Thaw and serve instructions:

1. Spread Pasta Mixture in Baking Pan
2. Pour 1 cup Mozzarella Cheese on top and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
3. Cover and cook for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
4. Remove Foil and cook 5 minutes more

Recipe adapted from Frozen Assets Book by Deborah Taylor-Hough

 

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  • Meatloaf – Used LifeAsMom’s Meatloaf Recipe – just changes out garlic cloves for 3 tsp garlic powder and used Onion Flakes instead of chopped onions since I was out of onion.  I used half the mixture for meat loaf and the other half for Salisbury Steaks

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  • Salisbury Steaks  – with the other half of the meat loaf mixture, I made  eight 1/2 inch think patties.  I cooked them over medium heat for about 10 minutes, turning once.  I let them cool and placed in freezer bags.

    When it comes time to eat, I plan on thawing and then warming them with a can of  cream of mushroom soup and serving with rice.

 

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Tips and Comments from My First Adventure in Freezer cooking:

  • Be ready to Multi Task.  For example, I cut my veggies and mixed the meatloaf mixture while the hamburger was browning and noodles were cooking.  I used my oven timer to keep on track and not forget about items.  It came in handy with the pasta and browning of the salisbury steak
  • Have proper storage contatiners on hand with a Sharpie pen to label.
  • While reading about Freezer cooking, it always mentions a shopping trip ahead.  I did not do this.  Instead I planned my recipes from what I had in my stockpile and the meat loss-leaders for the week.  I had gotten the Pasta and Cheese for a great price at a Shop N Save sale.  This is a way to Freezer Cook on a budget.

Do you have any great  tips when it comes to Freezer Cooking?   Stay tuned for more Adventures in Freezer Cooking.   Next time, I’ll be making a meal for the crock-pot.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Michelle W September 15, 2012 at 10:39 pm

Wow! I like the simplicity of using what you have on hand.

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