I am a sucker for frozen food. Not those frozen meal-in-bag thing you buy from the supermarket. But homemade frozen food. That’s one way I manage cooking. What I do is that I will cook a large batch of food and keep them in individual containers (per serving) and freeze them.
They usually end up as my lunch because I have no time to cook lunch for myself and I can’t possibly eat instant noodle everyday. They are also good standby food on days I have no time to cook anything.
Usually I freeze pasta sauce (to be added to cooked pasta when needed), soup (e.g. minestrone), other one-dish meals, and stock. Frozen stock is basic staple in my freezer. It’s good for a quick meal of noodle soup, porridge, etc. I use them in my normal cooking too.
When Dominic started eating solids, I also started freezing his baby food. Usually I will make a batch of porridge (either chicken or fish porridge) to be use as a base. At the same time, I will cook vegetables, mash/puree them and freeze them into ice-cubes. For a meal, I will use one serving of the porridge and add a few ice-cubes of vegetable to it. I also freeze fruits like papaya and apricot into ice-cubes.
Some people frown at the idea of frozen baby food, especially the old folks. They complain about ‘wind’ but Dominic has never suffered from ‘wind’. Anyway, I didn’t tell the grannies about the frozen food. What they don’t know won’t hurt them.
Here are the advantages of freezing baby food in advance:
1. Most obviously, save time. I really don’t have the time to spend making baby food everyday.
2. Cut down on wastage. It is impossible to cook porridge in baby serving amount. This means that I will have to cook more than what Dominic can actually eat and throw away the leftovers. Such a waste of food!
3. Variety. I can buy different kinds of vegetables and cook them and freeze them. Every meal, Dominic can have different varieties, which is good for him and help him to get use to different tastes. If I have to cook everything fresh, I won’t be able to offer that kind of variety. Since I cannot buy in small amount, I either have to throw away leftovers (unless we ourselves eat them) or keep them and keeping cooking the same thing until we finish everything.
4. Abundance of Veggies and Fruits. Because it is not possible to buy veggies and fruits in small amount, I know a lot of mothers end up not buying , or just buy one or two load of the same thing. The end result is that they don’t give their babies enough veggies and fruits.
5. Freshness. Yes, believe it or not, freshness. In my opinion, it is better to cook veggies when they are fresh, then freeze them, than to keep them in the fridge and cook a little at a time, leaving the remaining veggies to start wilting in the fridge and cook the wilting ones after a few days.
So now my freezer is really running out of space, with all that baby food, our adult food, and stock taking up all the space.
The following are some things that are good to freeze. They are usually one-dish meals, meal-on-its-own stuff. Remember to freeze into individual portions!
Obviously, it will have to be something with a lot of ‘substance’ so that it can be eaten as a meal on its own, or go with pasta, bread or rice. French Onion Soup will not be very suitable. A suitable soup to freeze will be minestrone. I have not tried this myself but how about Bak Kuh Teh?
2. Stew and Casserole
E.g. beef stew, stew chicken, etc. It does not have to be ‘western food’. You can freeze curry, sayur lodeh, etc.
3. Pasta Sauce
As explained earlier.
4. Dumplings (shui jiao/wo tie)
Make a lot, steam them and then freeze them. Good to go with noodles or eat on its own.
5. Ngo Hiang/Hey Cho
What do you call these in English? Anyway, they are minced meat/shrimp with water chestnut, wrapped in beancurd skin. Again, steam them before freezing. Good with rice. If you want, cook some frozen mixed veggie (available in supermarkets) and voila! You have a balance meal.
Same as the Ngo Hiang and dumplings.
As mentioned, good for a quick soup noodle meal, or porridge even.
8. Stewed Minced Meat (Bah Chor)
Good to add to rice, porridge or as use as an ingredient in a dish.
These are just some of my ideas. Be innovative and experiment with other things! I hope you have a big freezer to keep the food!