Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Half the Work, Double the Results

Why didn't I start doing this years ago? In preparation for a busy time I have known was coming, I began to consider what I could put in the freezer for meal times.


Initially I felt like I was in for a lot more work so that I could be prepared. I'll be helping my husband with a project that will keep me in his shop for 8-10 hours a day. Since we try to cook from scratch, I regularly spend time in the kitchen preparing ingredients and healthy recipes. Time I won't have for awhile.


I steeled myself to fill the freezer even if it meant more time in the kitchen and more work. And then it occurred to me... my family of four already likes to eat. Every. Single. Day. What if I just make two of some things I'm already preparing and put them by? So I made two pans of cabbage rolls. The tools were out, I was already separating leaves for one batch. It wasn't much more effort at all to make enough for two meals. The next thing I knew, I had homemade cabbage rolls in the freezer.

Making one meatloaf? Why not two? It took a few extra seconds to shape a second loaf and wrap it for the freezer. Sometimes I grab two same sized pans and cook two of the same recipe side by side. Truly, for a few more minutes effort, I get twice the return. One for dinner (with leftovers for packing lunches) and one for the freezer.


And in short order (like two weeks) I have 12 complete meals: Meatloaf and scalloped potatoes, cheesy lasagna soup, cabbage rolls, sweet and sour pork, chicken enchiladas, vegetable and ham quiches, country bean casserole, chili and cornbread, scalloped potatoes and ham, ham and bean soup, along with various single serve items like individual pot pies, stew, and macaroni and cheese, personal pizza crusts, soft pretzels, and homemade bread. And thanks to my FoodSaver, I have it packaged in non-leaky, no-freezer-burn packages.

When I think of how I could have been doing this all winter and had a few extra hours every week to work on quilting or other projects. Sigh. But I am reclaiming my time from now on. In fact, I'm nearly giddy with excitement when I think of putting these meals on the dinner table with minimum fuss. My new motto is: If one if good, two is better!

Would you like to free up some time by cooking two dinners at once? Do you already use this method? Do you have additional tips to add? I'd love to hear from you.




 


 There are so many lovely ladies out there with great ideas and encouragement to offer. Today is link-up day for two sites I regularly frequent - I'm sure you'll find something there to make you smile or think... You can visit them at:



7 comments:

Proverbial Homemaker said...

I DO make double of many dishes. I don't know why it took me so long to realize it really did save time. I just never seemed to remember to do it. Even now I sometimes forget. But it is so nice to have those extra meals in the freezer! :)

Another thing I realized that has made a big difference is doubling up on ingredient preparation too! Like dicing up two onions, celery, etc. and setting aside half in a freezer ziplock. Soaking two batches of beans and freezing half. Saves me SO much time!

Kristine said...

Thank you, Tauna!

Doubling ingredient preparation - another great idea. If I've already got the knife and cutting board out and I'm crying over one onion... why not two or three and get that deed over with? And the beans are a good thing to remember. We are dry bean users and I always try to soak more than I need so that I have them conveniently ready when I didn't think ahead or suddenly get the urge to cook with them.

I just visited your blog - I'm really looking forward to cruising around. I already pinned the seed binder post so I make sure to get back to that.

Dianna said...

This is the best way to make freezer meals, I think. (Although I actually don't make many freezer meals since I enjoy cooking and have the time for it.)

A tip I learned from a lady who is an ace at freezer meals: If you don't know whether something will freeze well, just freeze a small portion of it the next time you make it. Then you can find out how well it thaws without investing in a whole meal.

I think I wrote down some tips on my blog awhile ago from a class she taught. I'll see if I can find them for you.

Dianna said...

Found it!

http://be-it-ever-so-humble.blogspot.com/2009/10/freezing-meals-and-cooking-vacation.html

Kristine said...

Thanks you, Dianna! What a good tip. I did wonder how my scalloped potatoes would fare in the freezer. I'll go check out your post right now. :)

Diane Shiffer said...

I want your recipe for cheesy lasagna soup. ;-)

Kristine said...

Diane! I will e-mail that to you straight away. It really is sooo very good. :)