My tip today is about freezer cooking. I do my freezer cooking a little different than most I know. I have read quite a few freezer cookbooks. Most talk about freezing 30 meals in one day or something to that extent. I did do that at one time, but have adapted my freezer cooking to fit our need now.
I do usually have a pan or two of baked spaghetti or lasagna in the freezer, but most of my freezer meals are not really meals but the meat part of the meal. When I freeze something, I try to freeze things that are versatile. I want some variety in my meals, and I find most freezer meals are very similar, mostly pasta and soups. I like to have things in the freezer for the days I do not have time to make dinner. The meat part of the meal is usually what takes the longest to cook. Having that step out of the way is a big time saver.
My recommendation is to look at what you can do with what you are freezing. I almost always have cooked chicken in the freezer. It is one of the most versatile things I freeze. I fill up my crock pot with chicken, usually boneless, skinless breast, but any chicken works fine. Cover with water and let cook until done. The time will vary depending on the cut of chicken. When done cut up and cool. I then wrap it in plastic wrap and put it in a Ziploc bag and freeze. I then can use it in soups, enchiladas, chicken tacos, chicken sandwiches, chicken pot pie, and more.
Meatballs are another example. I have several different meatball recipes, but the idea works the same. Cook the meat balls, place on a cookie sheet, freeze until solid, remove from sheet, and place in a Ziploc bag. You can then remove as many as you need each time. I use them several different ways. I add them to a jar of spaghetti sauce and serve over pasta. You can use them with a white sauce and serve over rice, or you can make meatball subs with them.
Cooked roast beef can also be used different ways. I cook it up in the crock pot and then freeze it in some of its own juices. It works for french dips, for roast beef sandwiches, with gravy over rice, as a topping for baked potatoes, or serve it plain with any side dish.
Chili works great. I make up a double or triple batch. I freeze it, and then use it as chili, as a topping for baked potatoes, or I place it in a casserole dish and pour cornbread batter over top to make a casserole we call Chili Pot Pie.
Last week I talked about freezing taco meat. That is another one I almost always have in my freezer. It can be used for taco salad, tacos, enchiladas, or as a topping for baked potatoes.
This week I am serving freezer chili over potatoes. I am also making tacos, so I will cook up 5 lbs of meat and freeze the majority of it.
I hope this helps you look at your freezer cooking a little different.