Dinner’s In The Freezer
I’ve always thought it was a great idea to make dinners for the freezer. But, really, I have only done that for two reasons: 1) So that I have a few meals for my post-partum lying-in. Or 2) When I will be out of town for a few days or weeks and I don’t want Gana and the kids to live off fast food and cold cereal.
One of my “issues” with putting meals in the freezer has been those disposable aluminum pans:
First of all, they are pricey! Target has a small disposable aluminum pan for 4.99 each. Party City has a large one for 2.99. Still that adds quite a chunk to my food budget if I’m going to pay $3 – $5 for something I’m just going to throw away!
Secondly, they take up a lot of freezer space. Recently we were able to purchase a large upright deep freeze used from friends who were moving. Before then I had to rely on my small freezer. There’s only so many of those pans you can stack in a small freezer.
Thirdly, it pains me to buy disposable things. Seriously. We use cloth diapers, cloth napkins and cloth towels. As I don’t buy paper towels, paper napkins, nor diapers, it just kills me to buy disposable pans. I even try to reuse the zipper bags I use in the kitchen! I know I could try to reuse the pans, but they just never seem to hold up that well. After a round of prepping, freezing, cooking and cutting/serving, usually they are pretty well done.
The environmental impact of all we throw away is astounding. Take plastic water bottles for example: two million plastic water bottles are used every five minutes in the U.S. I just find that ridiculous. I stopped buying plastic water bottles or individually bottled drinks a long time ago. So, I can’t imagine just throwing away pans all the time. Did you know that it takes aluminum 500 years to break down in the environment? That’s a lot of landfill space we’re filling up! (source: here)
” The land is mine and you are but aliens and my tenants. Throughout the country that you hold as a possession, you must provide for the redemption of the land.”
Fourthly, aluminum is not good for your health! Dr. Mercola writes, “As with the other elements, aluminum is absorbed and accumulated in the body, and has been linked to serious illnesses including osteoporosis, extreme nervousness, anemia, headache, decreased liver and kidney function, forgetfulness, speech disturbances and memory loss.” Of course cookware is not the most nor the worst source of aluminum, but why risk it?
And finally, aluminum can sometimes taint the taste of food, especially if it is acidic–such as a tomato based dish.
I want to store meals, but don’t want to use disposable pans. So, what is a girl to do? Ask Kristina, of course! She gave me the following great idea:
Start with my regular glass pan:
Line it with parchment paper, allowing just enough overhang to have something to grab later:
Build the meal inside and freeze just like that:
When the casserole is completely frozen solid lift out of pan by the parchment paper and peal it off:
Pop into a labeled 2-gallon zipper bag:
When I’m ready to cook these, I can pop them right back into my regular baking pans, defrost and bake as usual! It pays to have brilliant friends.
(Linked to Carnival of Home Preserving.)