First I want to say thank your to all of those who left comments and to my new followers! I do plan on posting my recipes as we eat through them. That way you can have a nice photo to go along with the recipe. I will also do a post on how we eat our meals so that nothing gets left behind and we are not stuck eating the same things for days on end. Yes, it has happened. :)
So on to the questions.
1. Many of you asked about the freezer dividers we have. We have a Kennmore Elite 24.9 cubic foot chest freezer and the dividers and baskets came with it. We affectionately call our freezer the dead mans chest as it is 6 feet long. I do not think you can buy just the dividers, but it might be worth checking into.
2.You can freeze pasta. I just undercook my noodles or add them on the day I reheat the meal. For example for manicotti I cook the noodles until they are soft enough to stuff, for lasagna I just run under hot water until they are pliable, and for a soup I add them the day I cook the meal.
3. There are many books out there. The one I started with is still in print and for sale here and I still use a couple of the recipes out if it. What I have found is that we eat very differently that a casserole every night and we love International foods. So I started experimenting. I would make a meal and freeze it and see if it worked based on the ingredient list. Some things did well some things flopped, for example flour tortillas do fine but corn got all soggy. Some of the meals I make take more time on cook day because of this.
4. May of my recipes are family favorites I have been eating since a little girl, some are from Weight Watchers, All recipes, Tasty Kitchen, and cookbooks. If it looks like something my family will eat and the ingredient list is similar to a meal I know freezes well I try it. We do get tired of eating the same things over and over so I try to switch up the menu every time I cook. Some things stay each time because my children ask for them or they are quick and easy for those extra busy nights.
5. I do not cook anything fully ahead of time. I assemble the dish and then freeze. I feel that the flavor is better if I cook it the day we eat it. Although I do have to remember to take it out of the freezer!
6. Many of my meals are just marinades. This cuts down on prep the day of the cook and they also are quick to assemble on my big cook day. All of the Chinese food is cooked the day we eat it. It does not freeze well, but having the meat prepared ahead of time cuts down the time to prepare. Marinades will become stronger if frozen as the meat soaks up the sauce while freezing and then again while thawing. Some recipes are better this way and others I partially freeze the meat first and then add the ingredients as they become to strong. I think its personal preference and I will note that in a recipe.
7. As for how much I spend. I know many of you were wondering about this one! This last time I spent about 500.00 and it is looking like our meals might last 4 months instead of 3. We are a family of 6, and my children are 8, 7, 5, and 4. This will vary depending on what you cook and the people in your family. We also like to eat meat and sometime the more expensive cuts. Normally I but a half a side of beef in the fall and then use that. This time I was out of beef and so I needed to buy all my meats. I know you could get your costs down even more with the choices of meals. Roast pork, flank steak, sirloin, lamb(for the shepherd’s pie) and pork tenderloin are not exactly budget friendly choices, they just happen to be my husbands favorites and good choices for company meals. I also do not buy many canned ingredients as I can my own from our garden.
8. I do make some breads and breakfast things ahead of time also just not on the same day as cooking it would be to much. I have a baking day for breads, muffins, and pizza crusts.
I hope that answers everyone’s questions or perhaps sparked more. Leave me a comment and I’ll try to answer.