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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Once-a-month or Mega-batch cooking is a very practical way not only to have convenient home-cooked meals ever-ready for those busy days, but also to keep your freezer well-stocked. It's the start-up that's the pain, but once I have several variety in the freezer, it's just a matter of maintaining it.

My problem is consistency. I am not consistent in doing this. And also I need to have a well-organized system.
My freezer gets jumbled pretty fast....I still have a couple bags of frozen plum tomatoes (whole) at the bottom of my chest freezer, and they're about 3 or 4 years old!

About three weeks ago I made a big batch of shepherd's pie. It's almost gone now, so next time I'll have to make an even bigger batch (seeing that it's a favorite and popular). Yesterday I made a very big batch of Sausage-Italian Meatballs combo in tomato sauce, which I'll be freezing today in portions. Ingredients were mostly on-sale.

The meatballs, btw....are awesome. They are the best I've ever had. I got it sometime ago online and this is my second time to use that recipe. They're juicy and I just love the texture. I imagine them to be good as home-made burgers, too....will have to dabble with that when lean ground beef is on sale again.
I will share that recipe next time.

I'll aim to make another batch as soon as I'm down to a certain numbers for the things already in the freezer. I wouldn't wait until something is all gone before I replenish it, or I'll be back to square one....and it'll be just then more likely that the S will HTF, and am caught unprepared!

Hopefully this thread will help and encourage starters and newbies like me get a good supply in the freezer.
And diligently keep it well-supplied at all times.

We can talk about what we plan to cook or bake, share recipes and other tips, or anything you think will help us.
 

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I do the same thing only different. In that I do canning in batches. And whatever is made part goes to the house pantry & part goes to the emergency (extended) pantry. I plan for extra in whatever I am making & the extra is cooked separately & when cooled gets bagged with some going to the frig & some to the freezer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I do the same thing only different. In that I do canning in batches. And whatever is made part goes to the house pantry & part goes to the emergency (extended) pantry. I plan for extra in whatever I am making & the extra is cooked separately & when cooled gets bagged with some going to the frig & some to the freezer.
Do you rotate them as you would with food in the freezer? How long is the shelf life?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Next week I'll do carrot muffins while the carrots are cheap at this time. I'll aim for two dozen. Individually wrapped and vacuum-packed (4 per bag).

I use ingredients so to make the muffin a well-balanced meal by itself - good amount of protein (therefore it's eggy and with nuts), and high in beta carotene and fiber (anti-oxidant) - I did this for my elderly in-laws when they were living alone, just to make sure they had something nutritious to eat when they didn't feel like cooking (you know how some elderlies are, they'll just live on toasts forever).
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
I just found out you can freeze French Toasts just as you would commercial pancakes and waffles. My interest in French Toasts is due to its higher amount of protein (and a good way to use up your old eggs).
It makes a practical quick meal.

How to Freeze French Toast

Tip:Let your French toast cool on a bakers rack instead of stacking if you plan to freeze them. They will stay crispier and cool faster.

Place the French toast in a single layer on a cookie sheet and put them in the freezer until partly frozen about 1-2 hours. After frozen solid put the frozen French toast into a freezer bag.
You can also wrap each piece of toast in a sheet of plastic food wrap and place the wrapped toast in a freezer bag or tin foil.
Either way be sure to label, date and add it to your freezer inventory sheet.

How to Reheat Frozen French Toast
You can reheat French toast in the microwave a minute or two. It also reheats well in the toaster while still frozen just like the store bought kind.

If you're heating a lot at once put them on a cookie sheet in the oven at 350F for 10 minutes, flip and cook until the heated through, another 5 minutes maybe.
Alternatively you can put them under the broiler, be sure to watch carefully and flip them. Broiler times will vary based on the oven and how close the tray is to the broiler.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
I need to get really organized. For those interested and/or are newbies to freezing, here's a helpful site:

Freezer Inventory

A freezer inventory is key, it should be a well organized, simple guide to the contents of your freezer so you know what is in there without even opening the door.

Item:
Your freezer inventory should include the item that was frozen and the state it is in. Did you freeze hamburger patties raw or cooked? Are they seasoned or just shaped? How much is in each package? 4 raw patties? Half a pound of cooked ground beef with Mexican seasoning? All this information plus the date should be on the outside of the container so you know you are thawing the correct item when you go to use it.

Quantity:
You need to know how much of each item you have. I find including the size of the package under item and then recording the number of packages is the easiest way.

This section should also include the amount frozen and the amount still in the freezer without extra work. I make a slash for every package I freeze and make that slash into an X when I pull a package out to use.

Date:
Many people like to include the date an item was frozen and your more than welcome to do that. However, I like to keep my freezer inventory chronologically so that the oldest items are highest on the list.

The bonus to a chorological list is that when your making your meal plan you can check the list is see what you need to use and add it to your plan for the week. This helps you keep rotating through the contents of your freezer.

Also, not all items can be frozen as long as others and with this method I don't feel like I need to keep checking dates to see if I have to use something up. As long as you know there are four packages in the freezer and take out the one with the oldest date on the label you'll be fine.

I do like to put the date on the top of the page that way I know which page is most recent and can look back later to see how fast certain meals get eaten so I can make more of them in the future.

The first time you organize your inventory sheet will be the hardest because you have to figure out what is already in your freezer, how old it is and how many you have.

I recommend going one section at a time. I have an upright freezer so I go by shelves, if you have a chest freezer you might need to use baskets or maybe use paper as some sort of mark of where you left off. And believe me you'll want to take breaks. You'll get cold digging though your whole freezer.

MORE.......

Getting Started With A Freezer Inventory.
You can create your own sheet for this purpose or receive a copy of my printable PDF Freezer Inventory Sheet as a free gift to subscribers of my free Favorite Freezer Foods Ezine, a once a month e-zine about freezer cooking, seasonal produce and foods and new articles designed to help you save time and money with healthy homemade freezer meals.
Freezer Inventory

This site looks good so I'll be browsing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Food Refrigeration Techniques

Clay Pot Refrigeration

Have you ever wondered what our ancestors did without refrigeration? How were they able to prevent their food from spoiling? Some of our ancient civilizations did in fact have refrigeration and used simple items they had on hand to create it.

All that is needed to create a clay pot refrigerator is two terra cotta pots, one larger than the other, as well as some sand, water, and cloth. To make the "fridge", you just put one pot inside the other, and fill up the spaces with wet sand, which keeps the inside of the pots cold. You will also need to put a wet towel over the top to keep the warm air and light from getting in.

Root Cellar Refrigeration
More....
How to refrigerate and keep foods without power | The Great Northern Prepper
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Check this out! And you can freeze them!

No-Bake
Healthy 5-Ingredient Granola Bars


Dates, Rolled Oats, Almonds, Peanut Butter, and honey.

Healthy 5-Ingredient Granola Bars

I'd probably toast the oats first in a skillet over medium heat until golden for that nice toasty flavor.
Adding dried fruits like cranberries and chopped mango (the tartness will go well with the sweet and salty) comes to mind, also add more nuts and seeds like pepitas (pumpkin seeds), and sunflower seeds (toasted).
This should make an excellent POWER BAR.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Tried and tested individually freezing French toasts as suggested in that site above. Popped them in the toaster. They were great. Also convenient for busy mornings. I spread honey and ate it on the go.

Will be making some this week-end.
 
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