Thursday, January 2, 2014

Low-stress start to freezer cooking

Freezer cooking is something I always have on my to-do list but rarely occurs. I'll be the first to admit that it seems like a daunting task; I'm overwhelmed by the people who can crank out 15 dishes in five hours (who can keep the kids away that long?).

But this week off work has given me an opportunity for some low-stress freezer cooking projects. I'm finding it's easy to cook once and eat twice; and my slow-cooker is being well-worn. (And the bonus is, the oven running is helping to warm my kitchen during this freeze!)

What have I been up to?

Cooking and freezing:

  • Peanut butter chicken. It is easy to double a batch when cooking and then freeze in family-size portions for those nights you need a fast meal. Just reheat and serve over quinoa or rice.
  • Waffles. Nothing fancy here; just make a batch of waffles and freeze for the days when someone is begging for them and there is no time. For those who don't want to cook from scratch (which is easy), a package of waffle mix runs not much more than eight Eggo waffles.

In the crock pot:

  • Orange chicken: I borrowed this recipe from Six Sisters for crockpot orange chicken. It was easy to double and pull off; and you can find all-natural (no sugar!) orange marmalade at the grocery store. I do think that this recipe is meant to be made with tamer barbecue sauce than what I buy in Kansas City, though. I used Daniel's BBQ sauce and found it overpowered the orange flavor, though it still tasted wonderfully. (I may just recast this as barbecue chicken on a bun for the kids!)
  • Homemade cinnamon pear-applesauce: I simply cored and quartered a slow cooker filled with pears and apples, squeezed in the juice of an orange and sprinkled it liberally with cinnamon. I ran the slow cooker on low for 8-10 hours and used my hand blender to make a smoother consistency.
  • Chicken stock: I save bones from rotisserrie chickens and freeze veggies that are on the verge of dying in my crisper; cover them with water in a crock pot set on low for overnight. Strain it in the morning. I freeze this in 2 and 3-cup servings for future use. I run through so much chicken broth for recipes, and this always tastes better than the canned stuff.

What are your favorite freezer cooking recipes and successes? Share them below!


Eco Yogini said...

for the first time this year Andrew and I have done some freezer cooking meals with great success!
Our favs involved ginger beef, russian chicken (which is the EASIEST yummy recipe made up of the weirdest things: russian dressing, onion soup mix and peach jam mixed together), and we've managed to freeze soup.
I'm hopeful we can start a few more as the year goes on (and as we have more space in the new house to freeze things in our larger freezer!)

Anonymous said...

That orange chicken sounds great.
Fantastic success.

Barb @ A Life in Balance said...

I really need to get some freezer cooking done!

My one success is grabbing leftovers put in the fridge by dh and freezing them. That's 2 meals in case dinner plans fall through later in the month.

Thanks for sharing your tips at Fabulously Frugal Thursday.