After I live-blogged my Baking/Cooking Day last week, there were hundreds of questions asked about methods of freezing. I’m hoping to address many of these in future posts, but while you’re waiting on that, my friend Amy from The Finer Things in Life offered to write a quick guest post on a creative way she’s discovered to maximize her freezer’s potential and minimize freezer burn. I think those of you who feel like you don’t have space or pans to pull off Cooking Ahead might just re-think that after reading her guest post!
Freezing meals ahead of time for busy days sounds like a great idea, in theory. But what about freezer space? What about pans? What about freezer burn?
A technique that my high school home economics teacher shared with us many years ago has stuck with me and served my family well when it comes to freezing meals. Here’s what works for us:
Prepare freezer meals in 8×8, 9×9, or other smaller pans. Anything that will fit in a gallon-sized freezer bag will work. Before filling it with food, line the baking dish with aluminum foil or freezer paper.
Fold the foil over the top and freeze the meal.
Once frozen enough to hold its shape, pop it out of the baking dish. Seal the meal in a freezer bag, removing as much air as possible.
When you are ready to use the frozen, there are two options: you can either remove the wrapping while the item is still frozen and place the food back into the original pan to thaw and bake. Or, you can just slip the whole thing (still wrapped in foil) in a pan and bake it making clean up a snap!
Here are just a few of the reasons I love freezing meals this way:
* The smaller pans prevent leftover burnout (If you have a large family, just pop two pans in the oven.)
* Several meals can be in the freezer while favorite baking dishes remain handy.
* There’s no need to purchase lots of expensive aluminum pans (or clean them!)
* Foil and freezer paper can often be found on sale with a coupon.
* Wrapping the meal and then sealing it in a bag prevents freezer burn.
* This method maximizes freezer space since the baking dishes aren’t stacked up.
* And, in light of yesterday’s post, it’s also worth mentioning that your freezer bags can be reused when food labeling is done on the foil or freezer paper.
Amy is a Tiny Town coach’s wife and mother of three convinced that the The Finer Things in Life offer more joy than anything money can buy.