Freezer Cooking and Storage 101
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Freezer Cooking and Storage 101

Posted on Friday, October 12th, 2012 at 10:42 am
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It’s that time of year again! Back to school season can get hectic, but don’t let it stress you out! One way to make your life easier is to take a new approach to your freezer. With a little bit of planning you can have delicious meals, treats, basic ingredients, and much more ready to go whenever you are! Here are 4 basic categories we’re going to explore: baked goods, dairy products, herbs and vegetables, and meals.

(1) Baked Goods:
There is nothing tastier than a homemade treat, but baking can really eat up your time. Instead of baking whenever you’re in the mood for something sweet, try baking all at once. By making larger batches or dedicating a day to baking you can get it all out of the way and freeze what you won’t eat immediately. You can freeze cakes, cookies, brownies, pies (before you bake them of course), and even cupcakes! For cookies, cupcakes, and brownies remember to separate them with a layer of wax paper if you’ll be stacking them. By doing this you’ll ensure your treats won’t stick together and your defrosting process will go much smoother!

(2) Dairy Products:
That’s right, you can freeze dairy! Instead of having to throw it out or see it mold you can freeze your dairy. And here is the even better news: it’ll be good for approximately 6 months! Here is a short list of dairy items you can freeze: butter/margarine, cheese, cream cheese, milk, and even yogurt! There is no trick to freezing butter and margarine so you just throw it in the freezer. As for cheese you’ll want to slice it or shred it before you put it in your freezer. If you don’t do this your cheese will crumble when you use it post defrosting. When storing cream cheese you just throw it in the freezer. However, remember that when you defrost it after it has been frozen it may come out a lumpy. As for milk remember to remove a cup from the gallon so the remainder of the contents can expand when freezing. Lastly, yogurt is another great product that can be frozen. Whether you just want a frozen treat or you want to make it last longer, just be sure to let it defrost for an appropriate amount of time before you dig in!

(3) Herbs and Vegetables:
Freezing herbs and vegetables can be a major time saver when cooking. When freezing vegetables you’ll want to make sure they are clean and in a ready to use size. It also helps to label the bags your veggies or herbs will be frozen in with the date they were frozen and what the contents of the bag are. If you’re constantly cooking it helps to have a bags of chopped onions, garlic, and other useful ingredients stored in your freezer so you don’t have always have to prepare your ingredients.

(4) Meals:

Yep, you can even freeze entire meals. Some of the easiest meals to do this for include soup and casserole dishes. It helps to freeze soups and stews in smaller portions simply because they’ll be easier to defrost. As for casserole dishes you’ll want to make sure the ingredients are cooked before being frozen. Once you defrost these plates you’ll be able to reheat or bake as necessary. In addition to these dishes you can also store your cooked meat or raw meat in the freezer. When doing this you’ll want to label when they were frozen, their contents, and when it should be used by. Remember, when freezing meals or any ingredients make sure they are properly sealed to prevent freezer burn!

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Good Tip: Saving money is important – especially if you have a lot of expenses like bills to pay, loans to pay off, and all the other things that drain your bank account. Figuring out a way to save money can feel tedious to some, and like a punishment to others. U.S. News suggests that you try one of these money saving challenges. The “No Eating Out for a Month” Challenge This one is self-explanatory. The goal is to avoid eating out for an entire month. This might be super easy for people who enjoy making meals at home. People who really enjoy dining out, or ordering food to be sent to their home, may struggle with this one. It’s worth a try because spending money on take-out is more expensive than buying groceries. The Pantry Challenge This one is a variation of the “No Eating Out for a Month” challenge. The goal is to use up all of your groceries before you buy more. It forces you to try and remember why you bought a food or beverage that you don’t know what to do with, and gives you the opportunity to find a way to use it. The one exemption to this challenge is the foods that have expired. Don’t eat them! Throw them in the trash. The “No Spend” Challenge Make a goal to avoid spending money during an entire weekend. The only exemption in this challenge is that you are allowed to pay bills. This challenge is interesting because it requires creativity. You must be creative and find workarounds for problems that you would typically solve by spending money. You may have a different outlook on spending after finishing this challenge.