I’ve always been a fan of freezer cooking only I didn’t know it. I never knew it had a name. I would just call it being-well-prepared. Back in the days, ohhhhhh maybe 7 years ago, when I would work 1pm-10pm and not have time to cook nice meals at night time, I would spend my Sundays cooking meals to freeze and eat during the week. The only difference between my freezer cooking and a lot of the other freezer cooking out there, I freeze all cooked food as oppose to freezing raw, ready-to-be-cooked food, that way, The Canadian One just needs to reheat it before I get home and dinner is ready to go!
In Korea I didn’t do that. Why? Well, for one, I worked 12pm-6pm so had ample time both before work and after to cook. For another, Korea was the land of last minute invites out to dinner and one could never be sure if you were eating in or out on any given night. Moving to Canada changed that. Now I work 10am-6pm, leaving the house at 8:40am and returning home at 7:30pm. In order to ensure we don’t eat fast food each night or spend an astronomical amount of money on pizzas or bar food, I’ve returned to my 22 year old ways of freezer cooking.
Freezer cooking, as an aside, is a misleading name by the way. It implies you are cooking the freezer not cooking for the freezer but I’ll let that go.
Last weekend, we were supposed to go over to a friend’s house to hang but it got cancelled at the last moment, cue my opportunity to get my cookin‘ on…and The Canadian One’s opportunity to play his new PS3 game Grand Theft Auto 56…or whatever it’s called. I wanna say 4…but it could be 5…I could check but the game is on the other side of the room and I’m lazy.
From 9:20pm until 11:30pm, I cooked eight meals which amounts to nine days of dinner. NINE! In two hours. It woulda been less but I had The Mentalist Season 3 playing on the computer at the same time and OMG, has anyone else seen the season 3 finale?! If you have, you’ll understand why I became super-distracted in the middle of cooking!
Now, the three most important things you should remember when freezer cooking are:
- Plan ahead. I cannot stress this enough. Have a plan. Prepare in advance. How many onions do you need? How many carrots? Chicken thighs? Wash, chop, slice and dice all vegetables in advance. Then move onto the meat. Then measure out the spices and herbs needed for each dish.
- Wait until the food has cooled a bit before putting it in a baggie. Nobody likes a melted baggie. Nobody.
- Flatten baggies and freeze flat. It makes more room in the freezer if the food is flat and stacked.
- Label each baggie with the name of the dish, any other important cooking information, I include a carb count if it’s particularly high so The Canadian One doesn’t eat too much rice with the meal and we can prepare extra vegetables instead and include the date the dish was made.
The order in which you cook the meals is also important. I started with the one that uses up one ring and one pot for one hour. Then I cooked several that only take 30 mins until I had a second pot free again. I cooked one that only requires a pan while waiting on a pot to become free and I utilized the Slow Cooker as it was completely separate from the pot dance. I cooked the meals were:
- Chicken and Garlic Stew – 1 hour +
- Spaghetti Bolognese (ingredients doubled for two days of dinner) – 30 – 40 mins
- Beef Vindaloo – 40 – 50 mins
- Indian Chicken Curry – 20 – 30 mins
- Taco Meat – 20 mins
- Pork Meatballs and Pasta Sauce (frozen separately) – Baked in Oven
- Pork Burgers – Prepared but not cooked. Wrapped separately in saran wrap – I had to call The Canadian One to ask what this was in American, in Ireland we call it clingfilm…ours makes more sense… – and frozen in a baggie.
- Slow Cooker Beef and Tomato Casserole – Used slow cooker or Slowy C as I like to call him.
I also made some Chicken Wing Marinade and Cold Brewed Iced Coffee neither of which required the oven, pots or Slowy C.
Other dinners I’ve frozen in the past include:
- Lovely Lentil Curry – which I already had frozen in the freezer from last time.
- Lucy’s Mum’s Chili Con Carne
- Irish Stew
For all three above, I doubled the ingredients and froze to make six days of dinner instead of three.
Don’t forget to check out Freezer Cooking: Part Two!
Recipes for all the rest coming soon. In the meantime, if you live in Canada and are looking for a place to buy spices, check out The Silk Road Merchant. I get all my spices from them and they are super helpful and knowledgeable about their spices. Go check them out and get your spice on.