Thursday, August 13, 2009

Cooking for the Freezer

Sometimes it's just easier to order out for pizza than it is to cook a meal when you get home from work. Unfortunately, getting it's hard to be green while you're eating takeout - all the containers and driving to deliver the food really add up. Luckily, there's a greener solution that doesn't take much time or effort at all!

Today when I got home from work I started making Black Beans and Rice for dinner (meatless meal!). The recipe says to use a 9x13 pan, but I decided to use a couple of square pans and have one for dinner and one for a future dinner in the freezer. I also doubled the recipe for two more trays to go in the freezer. Here's my trays as they're about to go into the oven.

It takes hardly any more time to put double the ingredients in the bowl, and helps green my life in a number of ways.
1. Cooking all of them at once means that I'm using one hour worth of oven time once instead of 2 or 4 times.
2. Packaging the other 3 trays for the freezer keeps my freezer closer to full, and a full freezer is a more efficient freezer.
3. Next time I'm tempted to just order out for pizza, I can pull one of these out of the freezer. It'll be ready in about the same amount time as ordering out and no takeout containers! And if it's just DH and I eating, we'll have enough for lunch the next day as well. :)
4. Since I doubled the recipe, I won't have to throw out half a can of tomato juice again!

Make sure you let the extra servings cool before you put them into your freezer - no sense in making your freezer work extra hard by throwing them in right away. Since I was planning on eating one for supper, I let the other three cool while the dinner portion cooked the additional 20 minutes with cheese, and while we ate. By the time we were finished, the other three were cool enough to make their way to the freezer. It's a good idea to label the dishes before you freeze them. I wrapped them in tinfoil, but ideally I'd like to get glass containers that have a nice permanent rubber/plastic lid that would go in the freezer and just get removed for the re-cooking. Someday I might even try the Once a Month Cooking plan, but for now I'll just increase my freezer slowly by doubling recipes as I make them!

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