I told you I was planning to do some 'freezer cooking' the other day. Well, Saturday came along without any activities to take me out of the house, so I charged ahead with the plan.
I started out by browning about 6 pounds of hamburger with 3 diced onions. That was a lot of meat in one big pan! When you have that much meat to cook, it really does take a while, so I just set it on medium heat and stir it around now and then while I'm doing other things.
In the meantime, I started shredding the chicken that had cooked in the crockpot all Friday night. I got some great deals on IQF chicken breasts last weekend and stocked up. I love having cooked chicken in the freezer to throw into casseroles or mexican dishes! I got 2 quart bags of shredded chicken, and another bag FULL of chopped chicken.
Once that was done, I started mixing up some bread dough. I don't have any big fancy kitchen machine/bread maker type things, but I've got my KitchenAid and I love him. (Yes, it's a he. Humor me.) So we whipped up some dough and got it to rising.
Next up were the meatloaves. I doubled our usual recipe HERE and had the brilliant idea to just shove the meat mixture into a couple of gallon-size freezer baggies and squish it into shape and freeze just like that. I usually line a loaf pan with foil, add the meatloaf, wrap the whole thing up nicely, freeze, then remove the meatloaf from the pan (still wrapped in foil) and stick that whole thing into a baggie.
I've gotten away from using loaf pans for meatloaf anyway, so this way I can just pop the frozen meat-chunk out of the baggie and into my 9x13 pan to thaw in the fridge before baking. It just saves the step of messing with foil. Nothing like this is ever in my freezer long enough to need that extra layer, anyway. *smile*
That afternoon, I was joined by two of my dear daughters who wanted in on the cooking fun. (okay, so it was getting to be quite a bit of work by now, and I kind of begged them to help. But I think they kind of enjoyed it. A little, anyways.) One whipped up a batch of muffins, which went into the oven as soon as the bread came out. The other kept busy cooking pancakes--a chore no one ever wants to do first thing in the morning! We will all enjoy these special breakfast treats in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, I used up the last of my thawed hamburger by forming it into hamburger patties and freezing. I really don't enjoy frying hamburgers, so we don't eat them much in the winter. But a couple of the kids had asked for them recently, so I guess I can suffer through it. *smile*
I mixed up another batch of bread dough and some dough for dinner rolls at some point, though it's all a blur right now. I just put the bread dough in the freezer to use later--maybe it will be bread, maybe pizza crust. I like leaving my options open.
I went ahead and formed the dinner rolls, then froze the dough balls on cookie sheets before I put them all into freezer baggies. I plan to thaw the dough overnight (next weekend) in order to bake next Sunday morning for our church's potluck lunch.
All in all, a successful freezer cooking day! I like looking over the list of everything we got done:
2 loaves bread
2 lbs. bread dough
2 dozen dinner rolls
10 hamburger patties
5 qt. bags browned hamburger
3 qts. cooked chicken
2 dozen muffins
17 LARGE pancakes
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