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Friday, May 28, 2010

Cook Once Eat Twice or More

I was a firm believer in the Cook Once Eat Twice or More when all three of my children still lived at home. I still subscribe to that philosophy - just on a much smaller scale.

There was a time when I would set aside two days of the month dedicated to cooking for an entire month. I would plan 30 days of meals and set about cooking them all, labeling, and then freezing them. How nice it is to just pull dinner from the freezer! And I still do that!

I've heard arguments on the Cook Once Eat Twice (also known as Once A Month Cooking, Once A Week Cooking, Freezer Cooking and others). The biggest thing I hear is this: "I don't have enough pans to put that many meals in!" Well, neither do I! Which is what this post is all about! Each time I make a meal I create TWO. In this photo you see a basic Pizza Casserole. On the right is the one we are eating tonight. On the left is the one that will go into the freezer for a later time.
Normally I use a large plastic bag. I save all sorts of bags (yes. . . I am one of those that re-uses bread bags!). Here I used a smaller bag thinking it would work better for the photo. After I thought about it, it probably was a worse choice as it makes it more difficult for you to understand - but stay with me here!

Get out TWO pans (one for tonight...one for later). In one of the pans, place a plastic bag in the bottom in such a way that you can fold the sides of the bag up and tie when finished. If you prefer, heavy plastic wrap also works, but I've found in my experience that it doesn't work QUITE as well. Now, fill both pans. Pop one in the oven and take one to the freezer.

Once it's frozen, take it out of the freezer (note: no worries that the cheese has curled...it will flatten when I thaw it). Now remove the entire frozen "cube" from the pan picking it up by the plastic bag. The pan remains CLEAN and can be put away.

The frozen casserole can be bagged or wrapped and labeled with the name of the dish, baking instructions and the date.

When you bring it out of the freezer to use, simply peel off the plastic wrapping. It peels right off! and place the frozen casserole in the pan originally used to mold it. Bake it in that pan.

Using this technique you really only need TWO pans to store dozens of ready-to-cook meals in your freezer.

No more wondering "What's for dinner" tonight. Just look in your freezer and pull one out!
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Carissa Sechrist said...

What a great idea!!!! I'm not creative enough to have come up with this on my own but will definitely keep it in mind for make-ahead meals. Awesome! Thanks for sharing!!!

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