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Old 01-17-2010, 12:59 PM   #1
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Red face Freezing meals...I'm a little confused...help

I'm due with twins this spring. I also have 4 year old and twins who will be 27 months when these are born. So, I'm starting to think about what meals to freeze because obviously, I'm going to be quite busy. I haven't done this before, so I've been sort of researching. I'm a little confused on what meals freeze well. I'm hoping someone can help me out...

1. I've read/heard that dairy doesn't freeze well. But, on the other hand, I've heard that casseroles do. Well, a lot of casseroles have dairy in them, like a can of soup or a dairy based sauce or cheese on top. I figured I could add the cheese when I'm ready to cook, but what about the dairy in the sauce?? Do these types of casseroles freeze well or not?

2. Again with the dairy, if something is topped with cheese, should I wait to put the cheese on till I'm ready to make it?

3. In general, should most meals be frozen before or after cooking? (I feel like they would taste more fresh if they were frozen before cooking...but, what do I know? )

4. How about pasta? I've heard it doesn't freeze well, but I have frozen lasagna with great success. So, what the deal with pasta, like in a casserole for example?

Thanks to anyone who is willing to help out a Mama trying to make it all happen with little to no help.

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Old 01-17-2010, 02:02 PM   #2
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Re: Freezing meals...I'm a little confused...help

Im due in June so waiting to see what people say!
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Old 01-17-2010, 02:08 PM   #3
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Re: Freezing meals...I'm a little confused...help

1. I've read/heard that dairy doesn't freeze well. But, on the other hand, I've heard that casseroles do. Well, a lot of casseroles have dairy in them, like a can of soup or a dairy based sauce or cheese on top. I figured I could add the cheese when I'm ready to cook, but what about the dairy in the sauce?? Do these types of casseroles freeze well or not?
Cheese can freeze fine on top or in casseroles (or alone) even a roux cheese sauce in a lasagna will freeze well.

2. Again with the dairy, if something is topped with cheese, should I wait to put the cheese on till I'm ready to make it? top it with the cheese it will be fine

3. In general, should most meals be frozen before or after cooking? (I feel like they would taste more fresh if they were frozen before cooking...but, what do I know? ) depends on the recipe, if you have chicken breasts you can have them frozen raw with the marinade in the bag, when it thaws it will marinate at the same time
4. How about pasta? I've heard it doesn't freeze well, but I have frozen lasagna with great success. So, what the deal with pasta, like in a casserole for example? pasta in casseroles does fine for me, I've also done stroganoff, also for bentos i freeze short pastas tossed in butter so they won't stick so i can scoop out a cup at a time. I don't know most of the freezing rules I do what works for me.
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Old 01-17-2010, 02:28 PM   #4
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Re: Freezing meals...I'm a little confused...help

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Originally Posted by natesgirl View Post
I don't know most of the freezing rules I do what works for me.
Thanks so much for your help! I am just basically winging it. I have looked over a few things here and there but am mostly hoping to adapt the recipes I already make. Although, I'm hoping to come across a few new ones too.
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Old 01-17-2010, 02:39 PM   #5
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Re: Freezing meals...I'm a little confused...help

You know I am no expert but I have done this a few times and read a few books on the subject.
A great way to see what freezes well is just walk up and down the freezer meals section of your grocery store, whatever is in there, you can make and freeze for later. Or any recipe that has a sit overnight, like a great french toast casserole, freezes well.
I have had great success with making my homade pzza dough and freezing it in ball form before it goes into the oven, Most soups like Chili and such do well.
If something has cheese that doesn't go on right away in the oven, then I would package it sep.
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Old 01-17-2010, 04:14 PM   #6
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Re: Freezing meals...I'm a little confused...help

Quote:
Originally Posted by natesgirl View Post
bentos i freeze short pastas tossed in butter so they won't stick so i can scoop out a cup at a time. I don't know most of the freezing rules I do what works for me.
thats an awesome idea.... i send ds's lunch to daycare, and often send a handfull of noodles. its a pain to only cook a small amount. im gonna have to try that!
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Old 01-17-2010, 07:53 PM   #7
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Re: Freezing meals...I'm a little confused...help

I forgot to add my favorites are:
Beef Enchiladas
Chicken Enchiladas
Chili
Pizza dough
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Old 01-17-2010, 08:02 PM   #8
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Re: Freezing meals...I'm a little confused...help

I did a whole ton of meals right before having my little guy (at 37 weeks, I recommend starting sooner :-P ).

With pasta, whole wheat pasta freezes better IMO, otherwise you need to make sure the pasta is very al dente (like cook for the minimum time listed, if it says 8-10 minutes, cook for 8). Same with rice, white rice can get really sooft if its cooked, then frozen, and brown rice keeps the shape better. Of course, if your family won't eat those things its a different story. Many casseroles that use rice can be made with everything but the rice and served over rice.

Certain dairy items don't freeze well. Egg whites will be rubbery, but if you mix the egg yolks with the whites (scrambled eggs style) they seem to be fine. So a quiche or egg casserole works.

I would go to onceamonthmom.com and look at their recipes and menus. Its a free site and I used one of their menus when I did my big cooking day in December. The shopping list and everything is really handy and it is planned for 2 people to be making meals together.
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