Monday, March 15, 2010

Cooking and Freezing for One........

When you love to cook but live alone.......here is my solution.....


In my last post, I mentioned cleaning my freezer and cooking for one.....most of the time.  I love to cook...from scratch... and when my husband passed away, for the first time in my entire life, I was living alone, cooking for one. But that didn't deter me! I still make a meat loaf, cook an entire pork loin, mashed potatoes, saute big bags of spinach, make a pot of beans, etc. But now, I portion it out, wrap it up and either vacuum seal it or put the portions in a freezer bag (depending on how often I anticipate getting into the bags. Meats and veggies are put into 4 oz. portions.

Portions of Roast Beef with gravy and Mashed Potatoes                    
                      














If I vacuum seal the food, I leave an extra inch for each time I think I'll open it so I can then re-vacuum the bag.
     
Portions of a Spanish Rice Casserole vacuum sealed


With the meat loaf, I slice it, freeze on a sheet pan, then I can put frozen slices in a freezer bag and they don't stick together so I can get the number I slices I need.


When I buy 2 pounds of bacon, I freeze packets....lay a strip of bacon on a long piece of plastic wrap, then make one turn so that the next strip goes against the film, turn again and repeat. I put them into 4 slice packets because that is perfect for a sandwich, but if I want 2 slices for breakfast, they pop away from the film with the tip of a knife. Then, I put all the packets in a freezer bag.


I'll triple my pancake or waffle recipe, put time on a sheet pan to freeze them and then put in a freezer bag.


  Pancakes and Waffles











 


That way I can take out a couple, microwave on a lesser 'power' and have wonderful pancakes that taste like they are right off the griddle. :) I do the pre-freezing for muffins as well.


What's left of my Lemon-Blueberry Muffins (recipe in my cookbook on this Blog)


When I bake breads.....I love having English Muffin bread in the freezer for toasting and making French Toast...I slice the bread prior to putting in a freezer bag set it in the bag as a loaf, and the slices will just pop apart.


I even bake a banana cake in a 9 x 9  pan, add a butter cream frosting, freeze it, then pop it out of the pan and place in a large freezer bag.  When company comes, I pop it back into the pan to thaw, and it's just like it was baked fresh that day.


If I make soups, I will put everything in the soup except the potatoes or rice. Then when I reheat it, I add those into the soup


For the fresh veggies to accompany all this, I have fallen in love with the Zip Steamers. Just put an amount of veggies in the bag....you can put in 2 or 3 kinds.....place in the microwave for the minutes recommended.....no longer that 6 or 7 for anything....no water....and the veggies taste great. For the amount of asparagus for one I'll only cook for 1.5-2 min. I like my veggies crisp.


Soooo... if you cook for one and really love to cook, as I do, then go ahead....cook up a storm....and then you can open the freezer door and it's like going to a restaurant....You can say ... "what shall I have for breakfast" or "Now, what do I feel like eating tonight"....and Voila! there it is....home cooked and delicious! Once you get used to thinking this way, you'll be surprised at what you'll begin to cook.


As Porky Pig always said...Tha-Tha-That's All Folks! :)
Tillie