First question - containers?

JamieMarch 30, 2001

Wow, I get to post the first question - cool! :-)

I don't do once a week yet, though I am leaning in that direction. I cook up enough meat for one week and freeze it in ziplocs so it's quicker when I get home.

My question is: what containers do you use for freezing meals, and how do you afford them? I have next to no actual containers to freeze in (just good ol' ziploc), and it's almost as expensive to by the aluminum disposables as it is to buy tupperware.

I should say I don't have a microwave, so everything has to be oven/stovetop ready...

Thanks - and I'm looking forward to some great recipes (I'll post some too - I cook for 4). :-)

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Hold on to containers that you get food in; for example those gig plastic buckets that icecream comes in if you buy the 5 gallo ones. Also, Ziplock has good durable plastic containers that they sell that aren't that expensive and they will store enough for a 4 person meal. Or, use your cake and pie pans: place aluminum foil on the bottom after greading the pan, place the food on top of the aluminum foil, and wrap in foil; freeze. Once frozen, remove from the pan and store in the ziplock bags until you defrost. Put back into the pan right from the freezer, defrost and pop in the oven. Easy clean up. I use a combo of all of the above because of the same issue- never enough containers!

Invest in

    Bookmark   March 30, 2001 at 7:45PM
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Maria gave some good ideas. Casserols, meatloaf and lasagna are always frozen in a foil lined pan, removed and then re-wrapped without the pan. In addition I found it was worth it for us to buy a vacuum sealer system. We tend to freeze in lots of small quantities rather than large ones so it's easier to pop one or two small bags into the microwave or a pot of boiling water than defrost and reheat the larger packages.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2001 at 8:08PM
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I love the Glad Lock containers.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2001 at 8:59PM
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We also use the vacum sealer. When I buy meat/chicken I usually wrap it in seran wrap first, then put it in freezer zip lock bags.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2001 at 10:51PM
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Ziploc container bags to the rescue. I use freezer bags for everything from spaghetti sauce to meat loaf. Letting all of the air out of the bag saves space in the freezer.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2001 at 6:20AM
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I use ziploc bagstoo. I put whatever in the bag and then press it out nice and flat removing any air and making it stack nicely. I also have saved containers from microwave dinners from a brand that I like and use them often and I keep my eye out for bargains on any likely container. I bought 12 nine inch square cake pans for $1.00 at a closeout at our local grocers. Great for my family for any casserole etc. I always keep stackability in ming when getting ready to store my food.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2001 at 7:55AM
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I have two suggestions: One, save paper milk cartons, preferably 1/2 gallon. Freeze in carton and then take out and rewrap with plastic wrap after frozen.

The other is to put meat portions on cookie sheet, cover with plastic wrap and place in freezer, after it is frozen, put in plastic bags.

I think the vacuum sealer is well worth it to anyone wanting to cook ahead. I hate freezer burn taste.


    Bookmark   March 31, 2001 at 11:07AM
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Several votes for the vacuum sealers it seems. I definately am going to look into that.

I also love the idea of the cake pans to freeze things in, that would make it so easy to just freeze, pop out, bag, take out, reheat!!

I use zip lock bags the majority of the time, which works well, but I am not to the point where I am storing things for really long periods of time yet. And I am concerned about freezer burn too.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2001 at 3:11PM
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All the above suggestions are excellant, Plastic bags take up the least space in the freezer.

But... Don't forget your local bar/restaurant supply house. I can buy about 50 pint (kind delis use for salad) containers there for $4 and the lids are 100 for $2. You can buy the containers in 1/2 pt, pt, and quart sizes and the lids fill all of the sizes. Can't beat the price. And they're so cheap, that I don't feel at all guilty when I find something 'growing' in one in the back of the fridge and decide to toss the whole thing!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2001 at 3:47PM
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I use the ziploc or glad freezer bags and suck the air out with a straw. Works great and I don't have to store a sealer machine.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2001 at 5:31PM
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"Best cock-a-mamey food gadget I ever bought" my Husband says. The food saver on TV infomercial, bought it last
year and never looked back. I even roll up my cookie dough
and freeze it for fresh baked cookies every week.
Yummmmmm my hubby loves them.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2001 at 12:01AM
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I use a combination of all containers you've mentioned. I've been noticing(sp!) lately the Glad, ZipLock, and Reynolds have come out with casserole size containers too...
I haven't bothered to check the price yet...I prefer to use the gladlock bags...they take up the least space...

Does anyone remember the old "Daisy Seal A Meal" contraption? The precursor to the Vacum Seal system! I had one back in the late 70's/early 80's when I was single. I loved to cook and was once a week/month cooking even back then!

    Bookmark   April 1, 2001 at 9:20PM
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Wow - thanks for all the suggestions! There's no way I can afford a vaccumm sealer, so I'll just have to stick with the ziplock/gladware stuff for now I guess. I might have to get some containers I can just freeze in and rewrap too - that sounds pretty cost-efficient. :-)

    Bookmark   April 2, 2001 at 12:48PM
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My Mom had a "seal a meal". I wonder what happened to it? At hte time I was still a kid, and I thought she was crazy sealing all this stuff. She quickly tired of it, and it disappeared from the kitchen.

Now I'm considering a vacuum sealer. Does that mean I'm turning into my mother?



    Bookmark   April 3, 2001 at 8:44AM
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I have seen many many seal-a-meal thingy type contraptions for sale at garage sales. I got mine there for 2 bucks.


    Bookmark   April 3, 2001 at 9:28AM
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It's just finding replacement bags that's the hard part for the seal a meal things. Moira, I'm not that old! Am I?!!


    Bookmark   April 3, 2001 at 9:58PM
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Hi, My DH hates the word "leftover", and he also loves to eat at restruants. The problem is ,we have 3 kids and it's taking all of our extra money to eat. I love leftovers even more than fresh cooked food, I think it has more flavor. Is there a way that I could try this maybe cooking twice a week or something without him knowing? He thinks leftover chicken gets very dry and refuses to eat it. Is there a way I can store it where it's not dry ?

    Bookmark   April 4, 2001 at 11:26PM
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I have used freezer bags or storage bags for me vacuum food sealer. Sometimes, I can make several bags from one by cutting it in half or even thirds. I do with with raw ground beef.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2001 at 2:22PM
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Kaycee--the trick is to disguise the leftovers as something else. Roast chicken today, tomorrow you can have a chicken stir-fry, chicken croquettes, chicken salad. Fry up a huge batch of ground beef and onions, then add canned tomato puree--don't season it, freeze in meal-sized portions. Depending on what you add when you heat it up, you've got sloppy joes, meat for tacos, the beginnings of a beef/noodle/cheese casserole. Leftover roast beef can turn into bbq beef (just chop and add some bottled bbq sauce and simmer a bit), or fajitas, or quick stroganoff.

Even though you'll be doing some cooking, it's generally much less, and quicker if you start with cooked meat.

Leftover veg--I keep a big container in the freezer and just dump in any little bits of leftover veg. When it's full, it's time to make vegetable soup (and that doesn't take long if you start with canned broth.)

    Bookmark   April 10, 2001 at 3:35PM
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Wal-Mart I am told sells the bags. It is not under the same brand but supposedly by the company that bought them out.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2001 at 3:49PM
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One very nice feature of the vacuum sealed bags is that you can drop the bag containing whatever the precooked item is into a pot of boiling water and simply cut open the bag and into the serving dish once the item has thawed and warmed.
A note on expense of vacuum sealing vs Ziploc-style bags. The machine can be purchased now for as low as $49 (or so I just read on another thread in this forum, tho mine cost 3 times that amount years ago, but the product does truly eliminate the air which the plastic bags do not, so you still have waste from freezer burn, not to mention that the plastic bags simply do not come in the range of sizes you might need. I mean, when is the last time anyone saw a 30" x 11" freezer bag for that super-sized salmon that DH brought home?

    Bookmark   April 11, 2001 at 5:39PM
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I found the perfect thing at Sam's Club. It was back with the paper towels and aluminum foil. The containers are called Glad Ovenware. One yellow box had five 9x12 containers w/ lids and three 8x8 containers w/ lids. They can be frozen, and they can go into the microwave or conventional oven. They are made of that same black plastic that some frozen dinners come in. The set was $8.97. They clean really easily, too.

I have also used aluminum pans wrapped in foil, Ziploc bags and Seal-A-Meal bags.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2001 at 3:57PM
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I found the Dazey Seal-a-meal bags at Ace hardware, last year. I now have the food saver, which I love, but I also still use the seal-a-meal for cooking up stuff for DH and DS to take hunting. I just bought a big set of the gladware at Sam's and am going to replace all my tupperware type stuff with seems to take up less space.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2001 at 8:11AM
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I am searching for ice-cream containers/molds.
It is a cylinder shape or a funnel tube mold about 12 inches in length with a diameter of about 2 1/2 inches.
Please advise where I can shop & purchase this utensils.

Thank you.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2001 at 9:03AM
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can't find anything but I'll be posts for seal a
meal bags. does anyone know where to find them?

    Bookmark   September 3, 2011 at 4:51PM
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I know this is very, very old...... but I just came across this individual forum and I LOVE the idea. I'm going to invest in one of the sealer machines that wal-mart sells, just not sure which one yet. have to compare brands.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2011 at 2:16PM
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