Freezer Cooking Day

by Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom on February 2, 2010

Well, I’ve spent the last month cleaning out the freezers and pantry, and you got it…it’s time to start filling them up again!

Here’s the “batch cooking” plan…

1. Cook up a bunch of dried beans and freeze in 2 cups portions (about the same amount that comes in a 15 oz. can of beans).

  • Red Kidney Beans
  • Black Beans
  • Navy Beans

I’ve LOVED having beans in the freezer that I can just throw in to whatever I’m cooking…so I’ll keep up the tradition of batch cooking my dried beans!

2. Bake 2 batches of Pumpkin Chocolate Chip muffins (and hope some make it into the freezer!)

3. Bake Zucchini Pineapple Bread (made into mini-loaves and muffins)…recipe found in The $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook!!!

Somebody didn’t do a good job keeping the batter off the rims! *ahem*

4. Make some spaghetti sauce with ground chuck (on sale this week for $1.69/lb.), chopped onions and homemade spaghetti sauce.

For more ideas, inspiration and encouragement, visit Jessica and Crystal…the Freezer Cooking Day hostesses!!!

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Anjanette February 2, 2010 at 9:22 am

Freezing cooked beans is such a good idea for an alternative to having lots of canned beans around!! I’ll have to do that!! Thanks!

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Annie February 2, 2010 at 9:44 am

This month will be the month of cleaning the freezer to make way for the homemade frozen dinners when our third baby comes in March. After taking an inventory of the odds and ends of my freezer, I have about 20 potential meals on my list! I didn’t think I had the much food in there!
Thank you for the idea of cooking and freezing beans! Such a great way to get cheap nutrition in our family diet and having it on hand! ☺

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The Happy Housewife February 2, 2010 at 11:53 am

I love your mini loaf pans Erin! Definitely adding those to my list of kitchen “wants.”
Toni

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom February 2, 2010 at 12:52 pm

@The Happy Housewife,

I use them all the time!!! You’d love them!

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Kimberly February 2, 2010 at 12:18 pm
Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom February 2, 2010 at 12:51 pm

@Kimberly,

LOL! Thanks for sharing the link :)

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Ashley February 2, 2010 at 1:05 pm

LOL at batch-cooking the beans! I’m doing the same thing today, actually making mass quantities of split pea soup and white bean with greens soup. Don’t you just love cooking day?

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Karen T February 2, 2010 at 3:00 pm

Will you share your Feb grocery bill total with us? I just wonder after the January challange, how much extra you spend the next month stocking up. I always have this problem when I go lean in the pantry!

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom February 2, 2010 at 3:38 pm

@Karen T,

I’m planning on $60/week, which is my normal grocery budget…more details on that tomorrow!

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Terry McAuliffe February 2, 2010 at 3:39 pm

is there a recipe somewhere for frozen beans for chili? Besides kidney beans, that is?

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom February 2, 2010 at 3:43 pm

@Terry McAuliffe,

Not sure I understand your question Terry…can you clarify?!?

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Terry McAuliffe February 2, 2010 at 3:51 pm

sorry .. sure .. I was thinking along the lines of the red kidney beans … I always buy a can to dump into my chili pot. Along with a can of “chili beans” … so, I was wondering what would I add to the light red or dark red kidney beans to make them “chili beans” before I froze them? Does that help?

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom February 2, 2010 at 3:55 pm

@Terry McAuliffe,

I don’t buy “chili beans” but I imagine they are just red kidney beans with chili spices…chili powder, garlic powder and onion powder…but I could be wrong! You could always just mix in the spices with the beans and some of the bean juice before you freeze the beans.

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Terry McAuliffe February 2, 2010 at 4:00 pm

Thanks for the response … I’m a “newbie” to most of this stuff and am really finding this site invaluable!

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Kamilah Hiner February 2, 2010 at 7:50 pm

Congrats on the Cookbook! I love coming to your site being inspired to to spend and save as you do.

My question to you is how do you unthaw your breads or muffins or baked goods after they are frozen? Are they the same consistency as when you first baked them?

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom February 7, 2010 at 10:56 pm

@Kamilah Hiner,

Thanks Kamilah!

I usually set them out on the counter…but if I forget, I put them in the microwave for a few seconds. I’ve found that the “mini” muffins and “mini” loaves thaw better than the larger ones.

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Angie February 3, 2010 at 9:19 am

Just wondering where you found your mini loaf pan? I believe it is an 8 loaf pan. I found one at a garage sale a few years back, it is an older version, but I LOVE IT!! My 80 yr old grandma would love one. If you remember where you bought it could you let me know. Thanks, Angie

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom February 7, 2010 at 10:56 pm

@Angie,

Hey Angie,

Sorry…I don’t remember where I got the mini loaf pan, but I LOVE it too!!! I would think that most kitchen/home type stores will have them!

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Megan February 3, 2010 at 9:52 am

Erin,
Do you have any secrets or tips for how you freeze stuff in your freezer? Your things always come out looking like they were never even frozen. Do you use special bags, use up the goods in a certian amount of time, etc? Especially when it comes to meat. Currently I use those Foodsaver bags but would like to get away from them as they are quite pricy.

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom February 7, 2010 at 10:54 pm

@Megan,

I don’t use any special bags. I use foil and plastic freezer baggies mostly. I also reuse the plastic baggies if they don’t have anything too messy or raw meat.

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Tina February 5, 2010 at 7:33 pm

I just started to freeze my bean and this is great. I was shot on beans for my meal and was able to pull them right out.

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Mary February 6, 2010 at 1:54 pm

Just a tip -
When I freeze beans (or have some extra green peppers that I chop and freeze before they go bad) I put them in a single layer on a baking tray in the freezer. Once they are frozen I dump them into a freezer bag. Since they are ‘individually frozen’ I can then scoop however much I need out of the bag when cooking and don’t have to thaw a whole bag if I don’t need it.

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Lillie February 9, 2010 at 2:55 pm

Freezer Cooking Day sounds like a great game plan. Not only do you get to plan your meals ahead of time but also get to purchase the items at a savings. Good time management for a busy person like me. I’m adding you to my “Favorites.”

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Chavon (Joshua's Mommy) February 13, 2010 at 11:17 am

This post was my inspiration to start finding ways to cut cost and keep items on hand. My husband is from Mexico so we eat a lot of mexican dishes. So last night I cooked up a batch of Black beans in the pressure cooker and it made 12 cups (6 baggies of 2 cups each). I ended up using two bags for a Tortilla and Black Bean Bake.

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