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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Freezer Meal Bonanza

In anticipation of a busy couple of weeks, I spent my weekend busting out freezer meal kits.  I am stocked up and ready to do other things besides cook come dinnertime for the next few whiles.  It took about 8 hours total over 2 days, but I was working alone and had several significant interruptions for roof repair, utility line burial, birthday dinner, running out of ingredients, bread baking, brewing, and assorted requests for naps, snacks, lunch, toys, etc. from the short people who live at my house.

I think doing a freezer meal bust-out would be a great idea, btw, for a baby shower for someone having 2nd or subsequent babies.  With more hands helping, the work will go faster, and you can limit the number of recipes you make but make multiples of them.  Have the guests bring ingredients, and put them to work for the parents-to-be.

My freezer
Here's what I made (individual recipe blog posts to come, when I have time to write):

The disproportionate number of chicken dishes is thanks to fantastic sales on whole chickens and chicken breasts at my local stores. 

Before you begin any similar undertaking, I highly recommend making sure you 1) have all the ingredients you'll need in sufficient quantities, 2) refill all your soap dispensers as you'll be washing your hands a lot, 3) have enough clean bowls, pots, spoons, etc. and plan to hand wash a few items along the way, 4) have enough zip-top bags (snack-size, quart, gallon and 2-gallon), vacuseal bags and Lysol to store and clean up.  I screw up so you don't have to.  You're welcome.

My strategy (which I more or less stuck to, allowing for aforementioned interruptions) was as follows.  I start with the things that require the most time (e.g. 1 hour soaking of dried peppers), do a couple of easy-to-finish recipes to make myself feel like I'm accomplishing something, then do the rest of the tasks based on equipment needs (e.g. all food processor recipes come next, then all recipes requiring vacusealing).  items that I'll want to vacuseal but which are soft, like burgers or meatballs, I'll make earlier in the process and give them some time in the freezer before squishing them with the vacusealer.

Day 1
  1. Start peppers soaking for adovado sauce
  2. Make cornbread
  3. Assemble, bag Apple Trout
  4. Assemble, bag Chicken Francese
  5. Make white sauce, form croquette patties and put in freezer
  6. Make meatloaf filling in food processor
  7. Make adovado marinade in food processor, bag adovado
  8. Make fish burgers in food processor, freeze
  9. Make cornbread stuffing, vacuseal
  10. Spatchcock chicken, vacuseal and assemble kit
  11. Make meatloaf, vacuseal
  12. Make ancho chicken, vacuseal
  13. Make beef roast, vacuseal
  14. Vacuseal frozen fish burgers
  15. Vacuseal frozen croquettes
  16. Start soaking beans
Day 2
  1. Boil beans, vacuseal
  2. Chop vegetables, vacuseal/assemble ingredients for French Beans
  3. Dissect chickens
  4. Start chicken stock
  5. Assemble stirfry/breast kit, vacuseal
  6. Assemble stew/thigh kit, vacuseal
  7. Strain stock, refrigerate carcasses and stock
  8. Pick chicken carcasses/wings, skim fat off of stock
  9. Make white sauce
  10. Make waffle mix, bag chicken and waffle kit
  11. Make crêpe batter, assemble scrippelle kit
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