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Freezing Meals & Deep Freezer
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I've been recently diagnosed & feel that I'm coping well & so far don't feel like I'm missing out a ton. But what I do miss is being able to pick up a pizza on a busy night & sometimes I just don't want to cook - I have 2 young kids. Anyway I think my solution is to make several "convience" meals & freeze them. I'm trying to stick to whole foods as much as possible. I've done this before but always here & there but never had a stock pile stored up and I'm realizing many of my freezer meals involve some sort of pasta or breading.

Do any of you do this? Does it make things easier? What family fiendly freezer dishes do you have on hand? Also does quinoa freeze well?

Also thinking I will need a deep freezer, haven't researched them yet. Size for a family of 4? Does brand matter? Don't want to spend a ton but dont' want to have to buy one again for a long time either. ;)

I have been lurking on here a lot - so grateful for you all!

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My husband and I use one of those small small deep freezers, I wouldn't recommend one for a family of four. I remember growing up we always had what I would say is a full size chest freezer, although my mom as traded it in these days for a stand up one of the same size.

One of the things we do to save money is buy meat, veggies and fruits in bulk and freeze whatever is more than we will eat right away in whatever portions work for us. Growing up we had a huge garden and did the same thing, only having picked it ourselves rather than buying it so keep in mind on freezer space that frozen fruits and veggies and meat took up a lot of our space. I don't know a thing about brand, ours was a practically a steal. I'm sure someone else will have some insight.

As for what meals I freeze, mostly pasta still. I use brown rice pasta although everyone has what they consider to be the "best" pasta. I cook it until it's about 2-3 minutes short of done because if you don't it will turn to mush. I can not speak for other types of pasta as I have no experience with them. I've made things like lasagna, generic pasta bakes, mac & cheese, that sort of thing as well as my Heidi's goulash special which is more or less noodles, meat, cheese and tomatoes. (I will vary which what I pick based on my mood, so it may be Italian-ish one day and Mexican-ish another or plain old who-knows-what-ish on another day. :lol: ) My mom liked to freeze stuffed peppers.

I haven't really done much with quinoa yet, it's still a new food to me and I'm acclimating to it. I find it is an acquired taste, but given my new restrictions and it's significant health benefits I really don't have the luxury of not acquiring the taste. If I find some casserole recipes for it I like I'll try freezing it and if I like it I'll be sure to say something if no one else does. (Could be a while, don't hold your breath.)

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I have frozen vegetable and chicken soup, cooked quinoa, quinoa and black beans, cooked millet, cooked hamburgers, chicken tenders, chili, cookies, muffins, pancakes, waffles, cupcakes, crepes, meatballs, pasta sauce, taco meat, homemade pizza crusts, homemade applesauce, shredded seasoned beef and chicken for enchiladas etc. with sucess. I always keep lots of frozen veggies in the freezer to cook up quick in the microwave. My husband is a butcher and when he comes across good cuts of meat marked down we stock up.

My parents gave me a full size upright freezer. We are a family of four and I wouldn't want anything smaller.

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I have a small upright freezer. I didn't want to get a chest because i thought I would lose things in the bottom (that's what happened to my mom and you would find ancient artifacts covered in frost/ice whenever there was the occassional clean-out). I like that I can get to everything easily but I think it's kind of too small. Plus on this one the shelves aren't adjustable <_< Oh well, I will make do.

I freeze pasta sauces, rice-based casseroles, lasagne, muffins & pancakes (make big batches on the weekend and eat for breakfast throughout the week), cupcakes (without the icing), cookie dough, and gluten-free items that go on sale that we can't get through in a timely manner.

Somethings I freeze all together (we'll be eating it as a family) and somethings are individual or like pancakes, separated by wax paper. When I make a big casserole or pan of lasagne, I might also make a little individual size (or two) at the same time for the times it's just one diner.

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Now I have a questions for you Darn, since you brought up freezing waffles. I recently scored an $8 toaster for my husband because he thought he'd simply DIE without toaster waffles. Do you just pop those babies out of the freezer into the toaster? Does it work well? I'd love to do that because of how expensive waffles are (we paid $2.50 for 6) but I worry about quality and he really liked the first ones we bought.

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Thanks for your responses. I still have not tried gluten free pasta, I have heard mixed reviews, but I just bought a box of schar to try, good to know pasta has been frozen with success!

I think this weekend I'm going to make & freeze some chicken nuggets for the kiddos!

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Now I have a questions for you Darn, since you brought up freezing waffles. I recently scored an $8 toaster for my husband because he thought he'd simply DIE without toaster waffles. Do you just pop those babies out of the freezer into the toaster? Does it work well? I'd love to do that because of how expensive waffles are (we paid $2.50 for 6) but I worry about quality and he really liked the first ones we bought.

Ummm . . . twas not me that brought up the waffles . . . but I will answer with what we do . . . :)

I buy Van's gluten-free waffles from time to time but my daughter is not a huge fan. One of her favorite things preglutenfree was the toaster waffle sticks. Cuisinart has a waffle maker that makes waffle sticks so that is what I bought to replace our old gluteny waffle maker. Now when we make waffles, we ALL have waffle sticks (I just eat mine on a plate like a normal waffle ;) ) For the ones that we have left over, both kids will just stick in the toaster and heat/crispen them up. If it's just one or two sticks and they slide down, we'll stick them in one of those toasta bags. We don't do this too often and they go through the leftovers fast so I don't freeze them. If I were to freeze them, I would defrost them first before popping in the toaster...I always thought the Van's ones got a little soft/soggy with the defrost and toast at the same time procedure. You could toast for a little longer to dry them out, but then the edges get too dark and for a kid that makes them "blechy". I have not tried defrosting the toaster waffles first to see if that helps . . . I think it would . . . but like I said, my daughter's not a big fan of the Van's.

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My husband and I are pigs and hoarders. :) We eat extremely well. We have 2 small freezers plus the freezers above our two fridges. We freeze a LOT of food - we buy whole local lamb, ducks, geese, chickens, bison, seafood, pork, whatever and have a very, very well-stocked house. (I love variety.) Many things freeze very well EXCEPT dairy-based things as they can separate (their molecular structure changes, causing graininess). Coconut milk freezes but just know that the texture changes but not the flavour. Cakes, cookies, etc. that contain milk freeze well - I am talking about cream soups, etc. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to cook and enjoy leftovers. The list of things I freeze is far too long to mention as it would be hundreds of things. I do freeze my own herbs and garden produce and some freezer jams, pesto, sauces, meatballs, meatloaf, chicken and dumplings, pot pies, beef burgundy, lasagna, pizza, all sorts of baking...

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I make waffles out of the gluten free Betty Crocker Bisquik mix. My kids and husband love them. They will defrost them and either eat them like that or put them in the toaster to get them crispy. For myself I like them toasted. I will make three to four batches and freeze them. They keep pretty well for me but they never last more than a few weeks.

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Sorry, it was Roda who mentioned the waffles I was getting ahead of myself reading two posts at once. I like the Krusteaz but they're SO EXPENSIVE! I'm not even tempted to try Vans because they're a buck more. We'll give the Bisquick a shot, thanks Roda. I haven't been impressed with the waffles before but I was using my Belgian waffle maker, I'll have to break out my little rectangle one anyway to make them fit the toaster and maybe that will help since it was a texture not a taste problem. I love love love frozen convenience foods but hate the price!

With two young ones at home Chelsea, this is a good one for you too. Nothing quite like toaster waffles to have the kids feeling things are "normal" if they're going gluten free also. And heck, lets face it, who grows out of toaster waffles?

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http://www.food.com/recipe/banana-nut-waffles-gluten-free-and-vegan-312803

This recipe is fantastic. I've made them for my gluten-free daughters many times. I don't like gluten waffles but I love these.

You can use any milk. I use less milk and use maple syrup for the sweetener. Spray the waffle iron each time. I freeze them between waxed paper and keep in a freezer bag. Then pop in the toaster when ready to cook. They don't need topped, just heat and eat on the run. You can leave out the nuts. I like to make them with mini chocolate chips or huckleberries.

Tips:

Keep an unpeeled banana in the freezer then thaw in warm water.

Let batter sit while the waffle iron heats up.

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I forgot to say (couldn't edit my post) that I have an upright and a GE chest freezer. The upright has a defrost cycle. I read that that type of freezer won't keep your stuff as long as the chest. Yes things get lost in the chest and yourself if you are short like me!

In my chest freezer I keep my important things for long keeping that I don't want thawed. Like meats, berries, juice, ice cream, baked goods, freezer jam, veggies, cheese...

In the upright I keep frozen broth, ice, a few packages of ground elk/beef, butter, my garden tomatoes that I need to turn into sauces, bananas, turkeys at holiday time, water bottles...

If you buy a chest, get one with a light so you know it's running.

We bought the chest 2 or 3 years ago to put wrapped elk in cuz there is no way it would all fit in just one freezer. It has 4 baskets that slide across. Keep in mind on where you will put your freezer...if you have space for a chest and if you buy in bulk or have garden.

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