Friday, May 20, 2011

The Best of Friends

I took a night off from studying tonight to catch up on my Hulu (*tear* gLee! Bones!) and do a little baking....

It is Friday after all! I feel like I deserve it! Plus, tomorrow is my last day with my current medical team and I wanted to do a little something special for a thank you.

So I got the grand idea to make cinnamon rolls. Who doesn't like cinnamon rolls? Seriously.
They're fantastic! And I'm pretty sure the recipe I use is the best on the planet

(I do plan on blogging about it at a later date, stay tuned)

I then realized what a phenomenal idea this is as my mom and sister will be here next week (Bayshore Marathon here we come!) and I would like to have some sort of breakfast-y item for them to indulge in while they're here. So cinnamon rolls it is!

One of the reasons this recipe is fantastic is that at any point in time after rolling the rolls, they are prime for freezing.

Have I told you yet how much I love my freezer? Seriously, have I? Because it is amazing! I use it daily. Really, I do. It's pretty much been my best friend since I moved out of my parents' house and no longer had my mom cooking for me.
(Please ignore the sad, empty state of my freezer, er, best friend. She has been so good to me this last month as I have been working very long hours.... she is now quite empty)

What I have discovered is that most, and by most I mean 99.999%, of all the recipes out there are for more than one serving. This isn't actually that great because:
  • I have been in the overweight category and don't really want to go back as I can and will eat pretty much all the food put in front of me
  • I actually like the clothes I currently have in my closet and how they fit me
  • I don't have a lot of extra cash to be buying a new wardrobe
  • extra food to feed myself costs a lot of money as does wasting the food I can't get to before it spoils....
Thus, I have discovered the art of mass cooking with freezing/storing extra meals. I have all these great recipes that make enough for a family of 10 and it is difficult to have to do all that math to cut down the measurements for ingredients. So I make said recipes as called for and before I actually do any of the cooking part, I portion out the servings to appropriate sizes into some lovely storage containers I have stocked up on, and freeze the meals.

I'm pretty much my own Lean Cuisine making machine!

It's fantastic! Before I leave for work, I'll pull whatever meal I might want that evening out of the freezer (best friends for life!) and pop it in the fridge to defrost slowly throughout the day. Then when I get home, I'll place it on the counter so while I go on my run my dinner can get rid of those remaining frozen portions. And then I cook it as the directions call for and enjoy my ready made meal without much hassle, and for much cheaper.

My mom uses this method to make dinners for when she will be out of town or when families we know have an illness/new baby/hard time. It works great!

Some of the recipes that work best with this method are Macaroni & Cheese (with Peas please!), Chicken Pot Pie, Enchiladas, and soups! Although, I would caution against soups with a cream base as they don't always defrost very nicely - ie. they get chunky and funky.

I have found that the dishes that work best for me as I'm not a huge microwave fan are the small pyrex baking dishes like these:

They freeze easily as the plastic tops keep out freezer burn. And when I put them in the oven, I use aluminum foil as the baking lid.

I occasionally will use the disposable aluminum pans (as seen here with my cinnamon rolls) if I'm making a slightly larger dish or making something to take to a friend or family.
As always, another option would be tupperwear. I'm not a huge fan of these as they can't go in the oven, and like I said before, I'm not big on the microwave. But I know they do work great! And I often use them for storing fruit, veggies, cheese, and other non-freezable items.

So, for all you singletons out there, or families on a budget, get out there and try those large recipes because they're great, but remember to save some for a later date!

*disclaimer: I don't always eat solely out of my freezer. I do get a lot of fresh food in me too, I just tend to go for the simpler route when I'm working longer hours as I am this month. And I promise, I always pair my mac&cheese with a salad. :)

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