Sometimes life gets busy. You don’t always have time to prepare a full meal after you’ve worked all day, but you know you shouldn’t eat out, either. That’s where your homemade freezer foods comes in!
Lately, I’ve gotten into trying to make foods ahead of time and freeze them to streamline the dinner-making process. I’m still learning and researching, and I’m very excited to try new freezer foods! In the meantime, I wanted to share with you what I have found out so far. As I learn a few more things and what works and doesn’t work about them, I’ll be making more posts — which is why this one is tagged “Part 1.”
On with the freezer foods show!
Today we discuss potatoes and garlic bread.
While my wife is mostly gluten-free (she’s working on going totally gluten-free), she knows how the kids and I LOVE bread, so she picks up those French loaves found in the bakery (for CHEAP) every now and then. If they sit out longer than they should and we haven’t eaten them yet, we always pop them in the freezer. I was thinking one night, “why not spread some homemade garlic spread (recipe to follow) on those bad boys and THEN freeze them?!” So that’s what I started doing!
[yumprint-recipe id=’25’]This bread is SO big!! For “cheap” bread, it’s good too!! (Makes GREAT cheese toasties!)
Split the bread lengthwise, slather with the garlic spread, and freeze for 1 hour.
After the hour is up, cut each piece of bread into portions, place in gallon sized zipper bags and put back in the freezer.
(Note: when I put the bread in the bag, I close the seal ALMOST all the way, leaving a little opening… I push out all the air I can (without squishing the bread) and then slide a straw in to suck out the rest of the air… it works.)
I don’t know how long this bread will last in the freezer, because we usually eat it all within a month… however, we’ve never had this much at once.
When you’re ready for some bread with your meal, place as many pieces as you want on a baking sheet, put them into a 425º oven for 12-18 minutes, and let the yumminess commence!
Twice Baked Potatoes
We love twice baked potatoes, but in one meal-making period, I feel it’s just a bit much to do. Then I discovered you can bake them once and prepare them for a second baking and then freeze them! I’m sold!!
First step: WASH them taters!
I wash my potatoes in a sink full of clean water with 1 cup of vinegar added. The sink was cleaned with citrus vinegar cleaner, too! I use a soft sponge and just wipe the potatoes down really well, then rinse with fresh water and let them dry a bit.
After the potatoes dry a little (and Maggi was done playing with them), toss them in a 375º oven for about an hour. As you can see, I put a cookie sheet underneath the taters just in case one or more burst open (that happened to me the very first time I did this). After the hour is up, take the taters out, slice them in half and let them cool a LITTLE so they’re easier to handle.
Once the potatoes have cooled slightly and are easier to handle, scoop the “meat” out of the skin. Try not to tear the skin. No matter how hard you try, you’ll always have a couple that do their own thing. Also, don’t let the taters get TOO cool, or it will be much harder to scoop them. Once you have them all scooped, mash the “meat” up with some butter, cream, sour cream, chives, bacon, salt, pepper… anything you like. This batch was just a little butter, milk, salt and pepper. You’re basically making mashed potatoes. Then, spoon the filling back into the skins and pop the tray into the freezer for an hour.
After the hour is up, take the tray out of the freezer and bag the frozen taters up. You can wrap them individually if you like, but I usually just put 2-3 (depending on size) in a quart zipper bag, then put the quart bags into a gallon bags. Oddly enough, you can get 4 quart bags comfortably into a gallon bag (4 quarts in a gallon)… LOL! Then, just put them back into the freezer!
When you’re ready for some taters for dinner, pop some on a baking sheet, put them into a 400º oven for about 20 minutes. I usually take them out the last couple of minutes, sprinkle with shredded cheese, and then finish them off so the cheese melts and gets all bubbly!
That’s it! I’ll be covering more freezer foods in future posts. Eventually, I’ll tell you how to make an entire meal out of freezer foods you’ve made and put up!