Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Quick Meals with Frozen Basic Ingredients

Not a new idea to those who make freezer meals, but I've been freezing my rice, beans, and chicken(and other meats) for convenience. Staple ingredients are simple to make and freeze with very little effort. I tend to make stock from leftover vegetable water, and bits and pieces of leftover vegetables. Celery tops are excellent for stock. I freeze it in large plastic containers until I get about twelve cups. Then next time I make rice for a meal, I make a huge pot, cooking six cups of dry rice in a stock pot with the vegetable water. This makes 18 cups of cooked rice, about eleven packets of rice to freeze. I cook beans in mass too, cooking an entire bag instead of just what I need for the meal, then the individual packs get popped in the freezer. If a chicken meal is planned, I cooked the entire ten pound bag of leg quarters in the stock pot. The meat comes off the bone easily, and gets packaged and frozen along with the chicken stock.  

To keep things inexpensive, I use plastic wrap rather than freezer bags. Inexpensive small reusable plastic containers might be good as well; I need to switch to this in the near future. I use recycled plastic food containers for liquids; however, they tend to crack after the third freeze.

All this cooking and freezing saves me about two to three weeks of cooking. All I have to do is re-heat when I plan meals with these staples.

Tonight I made a super quick meal with my frozen ingredients. Heat together two packets of black beans(about 2 cups), a packet of shredded chicken(about 1 cup), 1/3 a can of cream of mushroom soup, and a pre-seasoned(spicy) can of Margaret Holmes Triple Succotash(.79 cents). Serve over a packet of rice(about 1.5 cups). Inexpensively feeds three people. Big taste!


Otter Mom said...

I tend to buy large & bulk amounts of things, too. I make soup or beans in large quantities, then I package it into approximately 2 cup micro safe plastic bowls and stick them in the freezer. Hubby takes his lunch most days and that way I always know he's having something healthy. I actually put a lot of things in the freezer, not just soup or beans. It's generally cheaper to buy in bulk anyway.

Anne@Rosydreamer said...

This is great! Usually when people give quick meal advice, a whole lot of cooking/prep happens on grocery day, or the day after. I love how extra of each food is cooked when you were cooking it anyway. That makes way too much sense. :)

Debbie J said...

I love these tips since I'm not a fan of freezer cooking, but want the convenience. Especially the rice would be good to have on hand.

Alexandra said...

Thanks for your comments. :)

Anne...I know what you mean - this is keeping it simple, and a nice middle ground.

Lily said...

great ideas! One thing I do often is ground meat. I will brown it with onions and garlic. When I need a quick meal I have several favorite recipes that start with ground meat...pasta with meat sauce, tacos, beef pie, and more. There are endless excellent ground meat recipes, most well loved by the family. I really like your idea of freezing large quantities of rice too. I'm going to go for that one next.

Elizabeth G. said...

These are great ideas. You know what else I like to do? Chop fresh onion and celery and freeze that up to use when I'm really busy and need a quick meal with either of those ingredients.

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