I should be crawling into bed right now, but I taught my Community Ed class on freezer cooking tonight, and need to unwind a little bit before I try to go to sleep. In order to do that, I was reading some blogs, and came across this Once A Month Cooking Festival at Moms In Need of Mercy. She invites us to post our favorite OAMC (or freezer cooking or cooking ahead) tips to share with everyone. I thought I’d share something I learned tonight from one of the ladies attending my class. We were talking about freezing recipes in single serving sizes and the best way to package those servings. One lady suggested using muffin tins – she uses a liner, fills it with the food, freezes the tin, then pops the frozen liners out, bags and freezes them. Specifically she was talking about sloppy joes, but this would work for many different recipes – casseroles, veggie side dishes, beans/rice/potato dishes.
One more tip I always pass on to my students: to make your own “refried” beans, sort and rinse one pound of pinto beans and put them in the crockpot. Add five cups of hot liquid (I use homemade chicken stock) and cook all day. Once the beans are cooked, I use the hand blender to process them until smooth. After they cool, portion them into quart-sized freezer zipper bags and freeze flat. I add a little salt, salsa and cheese when reheating. This method works well for ham and beans in the crockpot also.
Speaking of freezer cooking, tomorrow I’m going to make my pecan pies for Thanksgiving, and whip up some cookie dough for Christmas goodies. I’ll be back with the details.