Thursday, October 13, 2011

Freezing Meals: Part 1

For the last several weeks I've been composing a list of meals I want to make and freeze ahead of time for when baby arrives. As I know that time and energy will be scarce and preparing hearty meals will likely be the farthest thing on our minds, especially with the pretty little bundle we'll want to be snuggling! Naturally, I solicited my mom's help with ideas and execution, since she is always my partner in crime with endeavors such as this:)

We decided to split our meal preparing/freezing into two days. One being breakfasts and one being soups/dinners (for times sake, honestly). So I'm here to share phase one of this adventure: Steel Cut Oats and Whole Grain Pancakes! These were ridiculously simple tasks and something I will definitely do again and again!

First: Steel Cut Oats. I LOVE this variety of oatmeal, the only problem is how long it takes to prepare compared to traditional oatmeal (about 30 minutes). But we discovered that making a big batch ahead of time and freezing it into individual portions is just the ticket to having these hearty oats anytime the mood strikes!

Step 1: Prepare a large batch of steel-cut oats. (I tripled this recipe and it takes the same time)

3 cups water
1 cup steel-cut oats
pinch of salt

Bring the water to a boil and stir in the oats and salt. Let the water and oats come back to a boil then reduce to medium-low heat.

Let the oats simmer with the lid slightly ajar, stirring frequently until cooked through - 20 minutes for chewy oats or 30 minutes for softer oats.

Step 2: Once your oats are done, scoop portions (about 1/2 cup) into muffin tins, press to flatten and let cool completely. Once cooled, place muffin tins in freezer until the oats are solid (about 1 hour).

Step 3: The oat cups should pop right out of the tins (if you have trouble, simply tip on its side and run water down the back). Place individual cups in freezer bags, over wax paper.

Step 4: When ready to enjoy, take out one or two, place in a microwave-safe bowl and cook for approx. 2 minutes. And finally, add any mix-ins you like: dried fruit, agave nectar, milk, etc. Viola, perfectly cooked steel-cut oats that taste as delicious as if it was freshly prepared!

Second: Whole Grain Pancakes. While these need far less explanation, I'll give some quick tips!

First of all, this can be done any time you are making pancakes (and even waffles) on a Saturday morning by simply doubling (or tripling) your batter and freezing the extras! Once pancakes are cooked and completely cooled, stack them in layers, with a sheet of wax paper between each layer and place in large freezer bags.

When you're feeling like a pancake or two for breakfast, a snack, whenever, pop them on the toaster on a defrost setting or microwave for about 45 seconds. My favorite way to enjoy is with a light smother of almond butter and a few slices of banana-Yum!!

And there you have it, phase 1 of meal freezing. Stay tuned for a much more extended phase 2: Soups!

1 comment:

Missy said...

AWESOME! i loooove this!

i have always wanted to eat steel cut oatmeal instead of instant, since i know it's better for you. but i never want to take the time. and i'm normally making my oatmeal at work. this is great to know.

also, being that i cook 99% of my meals for 1 person, i LOVE recipes that freeze well. sometimes i don't want to eat the same thing for 100 nights in a row and i hate wasting food.

Can't wait to hear the rest!

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