Do you find yourself wishing you had a meal prepared and ready to be cooked when you get home from work? Freezer cooking may be the answer to your prayers. I tried it out and here's what happened.
A few weeks ago, . I prepared some meals and froze them to save time and a little money.
I froze two cooked meat loaves; homemade chicken broth for chicken soup; raw pork chops soaked in a honey mustard marinade and covered in bread crumbs; chicken in a honey/soy sauce marinade; a chicken casserole with pasta, cheese and chicken; spaghetti sauce with chicken sausage; and faux barbecued short ribs, made with stew meat.
The spaghetti sauce with sausage has been a lifesaver on busy nights. Making a quick pot of pasta is easy and everyone likes it. I will definitely freeze that again. I still have some left and it may be what I reach for tonight.
The chicken noodle soup was a huge hit, as it always is in my house. I didn’t even defrost the broth; I put it in a big pot, let it melt and then added my vegetables and seasonings and made noodles to go along with it. My daughter and I both ate it for dinner one night and she had it for lunch in her thermos several days in a row. The chicken I used to make the soup made numerous sandwiches, chicken salad and chicken wraps. My money and time were well spent.
The chicken that I froze raw with melted butter, honey and soy sauce was my favorite. We all wanted more of that. What I did was place a very large chicken breast in a freezer bag, poured about 2 tablespoons of melted butter, 1/4 cup of honey and 2 tablespoons of soy sauce in the bag and froze it. The day I cooked it, I took it out around 2:30 p.m. and sat it in a bowl of water to defrost.
At around 3:30, I put the chicken along with all of the marinade in the crock pot I let it cook while I drove the kids all around town. We returned around 6 p.m. and it was cooked perfectly and smelled so good. I added rice which soaked up the sweet and salty marinade perfectly. I highly recommend trying it out. You may need more marinade depending on how much chicken you use. Next time, I’m going to add some vegetables like peppers or maybe broccoli to the bag and cook it all up together and see how it goes.
The chicken casserole was awful and that's all I have to say about that.
The pork chops were yummy but the breadcrumb coating fell off during baking and left me a huge mess to clean up. I didn't enjoy that part.
The meat loaf was decent. After I cooked the two loaves, I wrapped them separately in tin foil and placed both meat loaves in a freezer bag. I put one in the refrigerator the morning I wanted to serve it. At dinner time, I baked it for about 20 minutes in the tin foil I initially wrapped it in so I had less cleanup which made me happy. I am not a big fan of meat loaf but I was happy that it did not taste frozen. My husband and daughter enjoyed it with ketchup.
The faux barbecued short ribs were quite tasty but I didn’t quite pull off the short rib thing. For this recipe, I placed beef stew meat in a freezer bag and added beef broth, tomato paste, onion soup mix, worcestshire sauce, soy sauce, ginger and dried mustard. On the day we ate it, it was easy to prepare. I defrosted it all day in the refrigerator and then plopped it in the crock pot at lunch time and added some precut carrots to the mix. The meal was ready when we were. I added baked potatoes and it made a nice hearty meal.
Overall, I don’t think I made and froze enough meals to see a huge benefit to freezer cooking. I still had to make sides and cook and clean up.
I’m guessing that if I do some better preparing, find some good casserole recipes, cook more and freeze in containers I can also cook in, it will save me more precious time.
I haven’t given up on freezer cooking, I’d say my experiment went well but I need to do a little more research to say definitively that freezer cooking is for me.
I think I’ll try some crockpot cooking next. Do you have any good recipes?