Friday, October 21, 2011

{31 Days to a Functional Kitchen} Day 21: Freezer cooking

I know I skipped a day yesterday but I was so, so tired the other night, I just couldn't finish my post and get it ready to go.  I will admit, this series is taking a lot out of me but it really truly has been fun looking at what makes my kitchen function for me.  I hope you have enjoyed some of the tips I have shared - 10 more tips to go!

Freezer cooking is a great way to bring efficiency to the kitchen.  Stocking your freezer with pre-prepared meals and prepped meats and vegetables is wonderful.  Recently I have been introduced to a couple of programs that offer bulk purchases of a single ingredient (i.e. tomatoes, peaches, ground beef, chicken, etc.) at an amazing price.  I have really enjoyed the opportunity to stock my freezer and pantry with some great, healthy ingredients.

The key with freezer cooking is prep, prep, prep!  I may spend a few hours prepping 20 lbs of ground beef (like I did here), but it has saved me valuable time at meal-time.  This prep gave me the following:
  • 3 meals of Italian meatballs
  • 30 hamburger patties
  • 5 packages of pre-cooked ground beef base (for chili, tacos, pizza, spaghetti, etc.)
  • 8 one pound portions of ground beef

This week I was able to get 40 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breast for just $1.49 a pound.  These were not your typical chicken breasts either - they were beautiful, large butterflied breasts.  With these, I simply spent a couple of hours prepping them for the freezer.  I know 2 hours sounds like a lot of time, however it was 40 lbs - I ended up with 36 individually portioned breasts!  YIKES, that is over 1 pound EACH!!! 

I trimmed a little fat, cut them apart into individual breasts, wrapped them in plastic and laid them out on baking sheets.  I then placed them in the freezer overnight.  After they were frozen solid, I placed them in Ziploc bags and put them back in the freezer.  I can now pull out just what I need for a meal and not worry about having too much.  Once they are thawed, they are ready to use!

What have you stocked your freezer with to make meal time prep easier?

1 comment:

  1. On the weekends we cook alot of meat. Grill chicken breasts, make a brisket, bake ribs etc.

    If it is hot out, we grill. If it is chilly, we use the oven (also helps heat the house!)

    Brisket is my fave! Once cooked it is so versatile! We portion it and freeze it. It can be chopped for bbq sandwiches (to use up burger or hot dog buns that are getting old), be sliced, etc.

    We also make pankcakes or waffles and freeze them.

    I wish I would make cookies for the freezer but those I just measure out a 2nd batch and baggie it for a quickie mix up later - pantry not freezer make ahead.

    PS: I have loads of bananas in the freezer and my kids are tired of banana bread. Any thoughts on what to do with them?


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