Saturday, September 1, 2007

Stocking the Freezer!

Well, summer is drawing to a close and I need to get back on track for my Once-a-month-Cooking. OAMC may not be ideal for everyone, but I know some of you are curious about it and may want to try out the concept without a huge investment of time or money. As I have mentioned before, I am one of the forum hosts on recipezaar.com and September's topic of the month is Back to Basics. I was asked to put together a mini plan to outline an OAMC session and explain how everything all works. Since a few people have expressed interest in my freezer cooking, I thought I'd share the plan here on my blog too!



Here it is.....





On Menu:
All Purpose Ground Meat Mix
Taco Bagel Bites
Our Family Favourite Crock Pot Chili
Beefy Chicken Loaf
Hubby-Will-Inhale-Them Meatballs
Ospidillo Cafe Spaghetti Sauce
if desired make your own homemade Taco Seasoning Mix

INSTRUCTIONS: Read everything before you go start, even the recipes!
Add each recipe to your recipezaar Shopping List.
Look over the Grocery List and check your own pantry for anything you might already have. Clean out the fridge too. It will help you to take inventory of what's inside and give you a place for all those groceries! Check off items on your shopping list.
Print updated list. Go shopping!!
Follow the Prep List to get any tasks done ahead of time that you can. This will make your cooking day go very smooth and quick!On your Cooking Day, follow the Instructions to easily and quickly get your recipes prepared and into the freezer!

You will need:
3 large ziploc freezer bags
3 large rigid freezer containers (min. 8 cups capacity...10 cup is better!) Or 3 large ziploc bags
4-6 medium ziploc freezer bags
saran wrap
1 loaf pan
2 cookie sheet
1 Large mixing bowl
1 Medium bowl
2 large pots

Appliances: (optional) a food processor will make chopping a breeze!

PREP WORK LIST
Sometime before your Cooking Day, finish these tasks: **TIP** placing prepped items in Ziploc bags will cut down on dishes you’ll need to wash. Make sure to label the bag with the ingredient, amount, and recipe it will be used for! Then on the Big Cooking day, you can just dump the pre-measured ingredients in with the rest of the ingredients!

*Cut mini bagels in half for Taco Bagel Bites
*dice 1 red pepper for Taco Bagel Bites
*dice green pepper, 1 for Taco Bagel Bites and 1 cup for All Purpose Ground Meat Mix if using.
*chop onions, 1 for Taco Bagel Bites (Oamc), 1 for Our Family Favourite Chili, 1/4 onion for Hubby-Will-Inhale-Them Meatballs, 1 large for Ospidillo Cafe Spaghetti Sauce, 1 for Beefy Chicken Loaf (oamc), 2 cups for All Purpose Ground Meat Mix
*grate or cube 1 cup cheddar cheese for Taco Bagel Bites.
*grate 1 cup cheddar cheese for Our Family Favourite Crock Pot Chili, if desired (freeze grated cheese in a ziploc bag attached to container or bag containing chili to use for garnish)
*make Taco Seasoning Mix (if desired) for Taco Bagel Bites and Our Family Favourite Crock Pot Chili
*chop 2 cups celery for All Purpose Ground Meat Mix

The Cooking Day
In one of the large pots, combine the ingredients for
Ospidillo Cafe Spaghetti Sauce and bring to almost boiling, then reduce heat and simmer for 3 hours, stirring occasionally.

In the second large pot, prepare All Purpose Ground Meat Mix according to directions.

Using 2-3 cups of All Purpose Ground Meat Mix, prepare Taco Bagel Bites as directed. Place completed bagels onto a cookie sheet and place in freezer to flash freeze.

In large bowl, combine ingredients to make Our Family Favourite Crock Pot Chili using two cups of All Purpose Ground Meat Mix. The ground beef is already cooked, you don't have to heat the entire recipe before freezing, just stir to combine and then ladle into a large rigid freezer container or ziploc bag. (The container will be easier to reheat in, but the ziploc will be faster and will take up less room in the freezer..it's your choice) Now label and date your finished product and place into freezer.

Divide remaining All Purpose Ground Meat Mix into 4-6 medium ziploc bags. Label, date, and put into the freezer. This can now be added to recipes using ground beef and will cut prep time in half! Here are some ideas for using the cooked meat


Wash large bowl and dry. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine ingredients to make Hubby-Will-Inhale-Them Meatballs. I always bake the meatballs instead of frying, but again, it's your choice. Baking is less time consuming and less messy! Bake on cookie sheet or fry meatballs until cooked through. Cool completely and then pack in a ziploc bag. If they are completely cool, then they should not freeze in one solid lump but individually. Label and date and place into the freezer. Serve meat balls using your favourite recipe or use one of the recipes from This Collection.
Rinse bowl and then add ingredients to make Beefy Chicken Loaf (oamc). Press mixture into a loaf pan and top with sauce. Cover with saran wrap, slide into a large ziploc bag, label and date. Place in freezer.

After the three hours, (you can simmer the Ospidillo Cafe Spaghetti Sauce longer if you wish), Pour the sauce into 2 large rigid containers or 2 large ziploc bags. (Again....The container will be easier to reheat in, but the ziploc will be faster to thaw and will take up less room in the freezer...it's your choice) Cool completely to prevent ice crystals from forming (I always cool sauce overnight in the fridge and then move to the freezer the next day) Label and date the 2 items.

Transfer frozen Taco Bagel Bites to a large freezer bag. Label, date, and put back into the freezer.

Other OAMC plans I have put together (and a few by some regular posters in the OAMC forum) can be found HERE update :( Link lost when Food.com shut down the forums!)
Check out the entire BACK TO BASICS promotion HERE... update :( Link lost when Food.com shut down the forums!) (this is one of the reasons I love recipezaar so much...this entire promotion was put together by volunteer hosts! :)

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