Helpful Tools

June 17, 2008

The Basics

- Gallon Size Ziplocks for storing already frozen bulk small items like cookie dough, meatballs, pancakes, etc.
- Sandwich Size Ziplocks for storing chopped ingredients in your fridge or packaging components in frozen meals
- Sharpie Marker for labeling frozen items and writing directions on meal packets
- Measuring Cups and Spoons for completing recipes and for portions
- Cooking Spray for prepping foods, making aluminum foil non-stick and covering finished meals
- Large mixing bowl for prepping foods
- Small disposable soup bowls/small Tupperwares for freezing and storing individual soups
- Cookie Sheet/Sheet Pan for flash freezing items
- Disposable Aluminum Pans in 8x8 size and 9x13 (or larger). Buy these from a restaurant supply store or from Sam's Club.
- Circular colored labels like this kind you get at Walmart or Staples. These are vital for identifying which meals must thaw first in the refrigerator and which can go straight from freezer to oven. Here's my system.

Green means GO. Go straight from freezer to oven.
Red means stop. Stop! You must thaw this before cooking.

The Extras

- Silpat Mat* (or wax paper) for creating a nonstick surface for flash freezing items
- A chest or stand-up freezer No, it's not a must, but once you get into the groove of Freeze Happy, you'll want to make a gazillion meals for yours and other families. The more space the better!
- Counter space Also not a necessity, but when you're hosting a meal-a-thon you'll really love to have extra space.

* A Silpat Mat is a silicone mat made to fit perfectly into a standard size cookie sheet. It is completely nonstick and allows flash frozen food to be removed easily from pans without tearing. They are expensive, but I highly recommend owning two. They last forever, can be washed and will make you feel like Martha Stewart. Priceless.

Recommended Reading

- The Best Make Ahead Recipe by Cook's Illustrated Magazine. I really like this book. The concept is exactly what I like, teaching you and giving you enough information to start freezing your own recipes...not just theirs. However, many of the recipes in this book are not for freezing, but for prepping a day or two ahead and keeping in the fridge. But that's good too, right? Still totally worth it.


Kaleena,  March 18, 2009  

Have you considered the Reynolds brand Handi-Vac system. You buy gallon and quart sized zipper top bags with a small round opening in them (bags, about $3). Then you use the vacuum sealer (was $10, I've seen as low as $5 as recent as this week)to suction all the air out and freeze. I love them, because I didn't have an initial $50 to $100 to spend on a seal-a-meal machine. I don't feel as bad when I don't use it as often, because start up was only $10. The bags are available at most grocery stores and its genuinely a good product. Check it out!

Fiona December 09, 2010  

I have been freezer cooking since September and I have an additional tip for your tools page. The first couple months I used disposable aluminum pans for the casserole dishes, but after the second month, when I knew that this was going to be a successful, long-term approach to feeding my family, I invested in a half-dozen Pyrex baking dishes (4 squares and 2 9-13s) with lids (total cost about $50, yay Walmart!). We have less waste and I think the results are better than the meals cooked in the thin disposable pans.

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About This Blog

A new recipe will be posted each Monday and, of course, you can always search the archives by category.

The Goal of this blog is not just to give you my recipes, but to teach you which ingredients freeze well, which don't, methods and tips to help you freeze your own recipes...because who knows better what your family likes than you?

Do you only cook organic? Great! Are you a vegetarian? No problem! Make what works for you and save time, money and (let's be honest...stress) while doing it.

The Freeze Happy philosophy has made my life better and I'm pretty sure it can improve yours too.

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