(Another) Vegetarian Freezer Month?

>> Tuesday, October 22, 2013

For obvious reasons, I didn't attempt making a month of freezer foods for our October consumption. But now that we're nearing another fresh start, I'm toying with the whole idea again. I first want to review the pros and cons of what I did for September, as well as provide some details about what I would modify going forward.

  • I prepared a variety of meals -- from vegan lasagna to veggie burgers -- but planned on eating each once a week. Overall, I didn't get as bored with the food as I thought I would, but there were certainly times I felt I'd rather cook fresh because I love cooking.
  • Without using a microwave, which we've banished to the basement for more counter space, reheating the foods took a long time -- and if I didn't think enough ahead (which there's no excuse -- but it still happened, multiple times), dinner would only be lukewarm when we were starving. 
  • It was nice to have meals already portioned out, and I think it helped us conserve our food resources ($$$) instead of just carving away piece by piece at what could be leftovers.
  • I'd have to say the taste of the food was good, but some was lost in freezing and reheating. I don't know if this is entirely avoidable or if I just don't use much salt (though I'm not willing to load stuff for taste). Maybe trying new, spicier recipes is in order?
  • However, speaking of spicy recipes -- this Indian stew looked vibrant and tasty when we made it . . . but after freezing was a complete mess. Cook and learn, I guess.

If I freeze foods for November, I think I'll likely change the following:

  • I'd only make freezer dinners for 2 or 3 nights each week, decreasing the BIG COOK intensity, but also giving me an opportunity to make fresh meals when I feel like it.
  • I'd still meal plan for the entire month -- fresh cooking included -- and attempt to buy the bulk of the month's groceries in a massive shop to save money.
  • I'd plan to make very simple fresh meals that have only few ingredients or prepare easily in the crock pot or in one bake dish by roasting, etc.
  • I'd use a lot of local and seasonal squash because it's inexpensive, readily available, hearty (doesn't spoil easily), and versatile. Another batch of Delicata Mac 'n Cheese, anyone?
  • And with the fresh foods I do make, it'd be nice to plan for leftovers and then remix them for the following day (lunch) or night (dinner).
  • I might also like to make freezer bagels or breads this month -- the baking bug has bitten me. And this month I will make time for a batch of Homemade Freezer Waffles.
  • I'd also like to keep a closer watch on the budget for what I spend the weeks after the big shop. When stuff got crazy last month, I honestly stopped caring about that piece -- but I plan a full budget analysis and see how it compares to just regular cooking.
So that's where I am with planning for next month. I'll be sure to share the recipes I intend on making (some new stuff -- hooray!) soon. The freezer lasagna was a big hit, and I'd love suggestions for tried-and-true recipes you know freeze really well.

Anyone else doing freezer meals?

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