As I’m sure is true for most of you, I’m trying to think ahead as this madness continues.
And I think I’ve come up with an idea that works for me. And I’m hoping it might work for you as well.
In the olden days (and no, I don’t mean my childhood, I mean the REALLY old days) there were essentially two ways to preserve food: Salting (drying/smoking) and fermenting. Later canning entered the mix. And, to this day, there are a lot of flavors from those processes that we love so much that we continue making them, even though the necessity no longer exists.
Refrigeration and freezing entered the picture and the world changed.
I am an unabashed fan of freezing if done correctly. And I think now is a very good time to embrace your freezer. Not only are there entire entrees that can easily be frozen for later use, but there are many PARTS of meals that can be prepped and frozen to make speedy meal prep easier.
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Your first step is to organize your freezer. Toss things that you’re never going to use. Toss things that are in bad shape (with freezer burn, etc.). And then, arrange things so that you’ll have some room for the additions you’re about to create.
As you begin this adventure, remember to cool cooked things completely before wrapping in foil and then in plastic wrap. I also wrap uncooked items in foil and then plastic. I find that foil tends to help prevent the formation of ice crystals far better than plastic wrap alone. And ice crystals are the enemy of frozen food!
The following list is obviously not complete, but I think it’ll be a good starting point. So let’s get freezing:
1. Soups: Think Potato and Leek, Black Bean, White Bean, Tomato, ad infinitum.
2. Stews: Including Beef Stew, any kind of chili, Chicken Stew, most saucy Indian curries.
3. Grains and Legumes: Rices, lentils, dried beans all can be cooked to your liking and then frozen.
4. Sauces: Such as tomato sauce, pesto, and barbecue sauce.
5. Ground Meat Mains: Uncooked meatloaf, meatballs, and Classic Lasagna with Meat Sauce are all ideal take-and-bake meals, prime for the freezer.
6. Raw Cookie Makings: Mix up some chocolate chip cookie dough or an extra batch of shaped cookies to stash in the freezer for when a sweet need comes up down the road.
7. Baked Goods: While you’ll want to freeze cookie dough raw, baked breads (sweet and savory) and cakes can freeze beautifully, as long as they’re well-wrapped.
8. Herbs: Leftover fresh, chopped herbs can be frozen in ice trays with water or oil for easy flavor boosting in the future.
Let’s get started with these, and then one day, when you just can’t face cooking… you’ll remember that there are lots of things in your freezer that will help lift that burden.
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