Cooking Tips

I do many of these myself. I have a FoodSaver vacuum sealer appliance I use. You can certainly use resealable freezer bags if you don't have the appliance. Time listed are for the bags. I have left my foods in the freezer in the vacuumed sealed ones for longer than that and they are still good to go.

I do a lot of these because it is not much more effort to patty a couple more things or cut some more meat or veggies or to cook items. I am a big fan of making just one mess to clean up!

BURGERS -- Make extra hamburger patties or meatballs and freeze in resealable freezer bags for up to 4 months. You can make your meatloaves in to patties too for quicker cooking!! If using a vacuum sealer freeze on wax paper on cookie sheet first otherwise the vacuum sealer will smash your burgers or meatballs.

GROUND BEEF -- Brown extra ground beef and freeze desired amounts for up to 3 months. I not only put a way plain (salt/pepper) ground beef but taco seasoned beef with green peppers and onions for quick taco night. I recently cooked some with carrots, onions, and celery for a starter for a couple of my soups.

MEAT and POULTRY -- Cut raw meat and poultry into strips or cubes. Put into bags in amounts you will use at a meal. Freeze up to 9 months.

COOKED CHICKEN -- Cook extra chicken and freeze for up to 4 months. Again, salt and pepper for regular items or taco seasoned or anything else you like to have.

PASTA and RICE -- Cooke and drain extra pasta or rice. Toss with a little bit of olive oil to keep from sticking together. Put desired amounts in bags. Refrigerate for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 6 months. (I have not done either of these yet as my pastas and rice are generally in the meal I am freezing.)

VEGGIES - Chop, slice, or dice fresh veggies (like onions, bell pepers, carrots, and celery.) Put into bags in amounts you will use at a meal. Freeze for up to 1 month or put in the fridge if you know you will use them later that week. If I am making ahead meals that require the same kinds of veggies I chop them all at once and measure out what I need for each dish.

Faster cooking, less dry, skinless boneless chicken breasts

I cut the backs off the breasts after I have them cleaned to make them flatter and cut the tip off so it is more square. It will cook faster and more evenly and you won't end up with 1/2 a dry chicken breast waiting for the thick part to cook. I take the cut off backside and tip and chop them up for stir fry or the Tex Mex chicken I make or for casseroles whatever.