I thought I’d get us started with two of my favourite freezer cooking recipes / ideas. Please send yours in and we’ll share them here!
Sweet + Sour Baked Chicken
This Canadian Living recipe has been a favourite for years – especially once I discovered that I could easily multiply the recipe, prep it once, and freeze two or three extra dishes for future dinners. There’s even a calculator on the recipe itself so you can scale it up without doing any math at all (yep, I hear angels singing too). I make the recipe as described, but stop before the final 20 + 20 minute bake. When I make it later, I defrost it in the fridge overnight and then follow the regular baking instructions.
When I buy big packages of chicken breasts at Costco and I’m dividing up some portions to freeze, I freeze some of them with marinade. I just add my marinade of choice to the bag with the chicken, seal it up (using a straw to suck out the extra air), and keep it in the fridge for a few hours before throwing it in the freezer as usual. Later, I’ll pull it out and let it defrost in the fridge overnight before I use it – but the combined pre- and post-freezer marinading time makes it AWESOME (and ready to throw on the BBQ with absolutely no prep work). There are lots of great recipes for marinade around – my favourite is this Jillian Michaels one – but if I’m exhausted + in the hurry, I really like some of the olive oil based salad dressings and just use that instead.
Still Tasty: If you’re like me, you stare at items in your fridge / freezer / cupboard with a look of bewilderment on your face on a regular basis and wonder how long you’re supposed to hang onto things. This website lets you search for whatever you’re wondering about, and it will tell you exactly how long you should keep it – and when it should be unceremoniously tossed. It’s such a simple concept for a website, but it’s SO SMART and I find myself checking it often.
Once a Month Mom: This site has monthly menus featuring seasonal recipes – and unlike many freezer cooking sites, this one has unique menus for vegetarians, families that eat gluten or dairy free, people watching calories, recipes with a focus on whole foods, and even a menu for making baby food. GENIUS, right? Something else that sets this site apart is that the menus include breakfast and lunch ideas. This mom does an incredible job of holding your hand through the whole process – including printable recipes, photos for those of us who are visual, a printable grocery list, and printable labels. If you don’t want to go all in, you can just browse the menus + look through her recipes to find a freezer-friendly idea that will work for your family. That’s all I do, though I look at the full plans every month and think about it very seriously… SOMEDAY!