Monday, February 14, 2011

To Freeze or Not to Freeze

It is fun to live in an apartment: we don't have to pay property taxes; when things break, we call maintenance and the guy comes to fix it; the complex even pays our electric!  Even with all of those perks, I wish I lived in a bigger place.  A place with room for the most coveted of appliances (next to the washer and dryer-- I have solved that problem)-- the FULL SIZED FREEZER!  Our itty bitty apartment sized freezer is really putting a damper on my efforts to have Shabbos ready by mid-day on Friday!  

The ladies over at the Chatzos Google Group are forever talking about cooking early in the week "l'cvod shabbos kodesh" and freezing.  Come Friday, they just pull everything out.  That means when I am trying my hardest to get a start on the cooking on Thursday night after the kiddos are in bed, they are setting their tables.  When I am dragging my bleary-eyed self to the oven to pull out the chicken at 2 am, they are sound asleep.  And when I am setting my kitchen on fire on Friday morning because I am too tired to notice that I turned on the wrong burner, they are doing their nails (or saying tehillim or taking a bubble bath or something). 

I have decided that I am not going to let my tiny, over stuffed (the picture above is on a good day-- I am almost out of challah and I used most of my stash of broccoli, so I have room!) freezer get in the way of my efforts to get my cooking done early!  No!  I will experiment with new ways to freeze items!  I will beg, borrow, steal, and lease freezer space from my neighbors at the Onion Gemach (more on this in a later post, but these are the neighbors in my building... who all have found closet space for a real freezer... I envy them)!  I will make it work!

Last week, my menu had two different kugels.  My plan was to freeze a smaller version of each and store it away in the freezer.  I have found that if I make the kugels small enough and slam the door hard enough, everything will stay in (until I open the door again). True to form, I forgot to buy the smaller aluminum pans for the freezables.  Of course, I didn't discover the oversight until the everything was ready to go into a pan.  That is fine!  When life gives you lemons, you find a way to freeze them!
Experiment 1: Freeze uncooked dishes (or components) in freezer bags. 
I was staring at my freezer trying to decide if I really had space to freeze a big pan of kugel something caught my eye-- all of my packets of mommy milk, frozen flat and then lined up standing on end to fit more.  If I could do that with 4 ounce bags of milk, I could do that with kugel fixins'!  I cleared out some of the million gefilte fish loaves (more on why so many later) to get a flat surface and froze my ready to cook kugel (ideally flat and thin).  I then stood the flat, thin bags upright. See them there on the right hand side of the freezer (they are a little wavy with this first attempt)?  POOF!  I have room for ALL SORTS of things if I can freeze like that!  All I have to do to make the kugel is defrost the bag and put it in a pan!  I can do that on Thursday night, no problem!  The question: will this taste (as) good?
We shall see this week!  I plan on making  my famous chicken cholent verde (the rest of my menu will be up later this week) for Shabbos lunch.  Tomorrow, I will make the tomatillo sauce for the cholent and freeze it flat.  That will be one thing nearly ready to go! 

What are your freezer strategies?  What have you found that freezes well?


  1. When we moved into our house, the first thing I bought was a chest freezer! I'm sorry you're stuck trying to store everything in your little freezer :( Laying flat is a great idea. I have also found that I can line a smaller non-disposable pan with foil, then fill and bake. Then I let whatever it is (quiche, lasagna, etc.) cool fully and lift out with the foil, wrap and freeze. When I want to serve, I just plop the whole foil-wrapped package into an oven-safe dish/pan and it's fine.

    (Thanks for linking up on my blog hop thing the other day - I've been enjoying your blog :)

  2. Welcome back, Mara! We are a *little* addicted to KOAB around these parts, so we are super excited that you are reading!

    I am TOTALLY going to try the foil trick. Wonder if I could do something similar to make two different kugels in the same pan...

  3. Last week, I froze Bubby Rena chicken soup in large Ziploc bags - flat, just like you did! They're now in the super big freezer, taking up much less space- and leaving lots more room for potato kugels!