What to freeze in?
If you were to google or search on pinterest Freezer Cooking, you can find a ton of information about what to freeze in: reusable containers, freezer bags, foil pans, glass containers, plastic containers, etc. What it comes down to is what are you looking for? What is important to you?
I know I am looking for cheap and disposable. I know that is not the most environmentally responsible attitude to have, but I am trying to get ready for a new baby. I will recycle as much as I can but there is definitely a direct correlation between the amount of mess in my kitchen and the amount of sanity I have. Throw a toddler and newborn and in the mix... and well those are some scary variables.
Another big deciding factor is how much space you have in your freezer. Freezing things flat in freezer bags really cuts down on the amount of space you need. So here are the types of containers I use:
Aluminum Pans- I like a 12"x10"x2" aluminum pan. This tends to be the perfect size for our size meals. I put things in here that I want to be able to cook/reheat right from the freezer, without dirtying another dish. Also, there are aluminum lids that can also go right in the oven. I will use these for the Baked Pasta and Vegetable Enchiladas.
32 ounce Plastic Deli Containers- These are like what you would get soup from the Chinese Food Restaurant. They take up more space than plastic freezer bags, but are more convenient for defrosting/ reheating. Freezer bags require another dish to reheat in and can be a disaster if you are trying to thaw and there is a leak in the bag. If you have the space, I prefer these. I will use these for the Vegetable Chowder and Hamburger Gravy.
16 ounce Plastic Deli Containers- Same reasoning as above, but for smaller portions. I will use these for the Roasted Tomato and Eggplant Soup.
I will get these things at a local restaurant supply store called Country Clean. They have bottom dollar prices on these things and paper products, so they are usually worth the trip. They do have a website, www.wesellcoffee.com, but the shipping can be a bit. If you were going in with a few other cookers and wanted to split shipping or if you have a lot of storage space and can place a big bulk order, it may be worth it.
4 Aluminum Pans: ($0.34 x 4) = $1.36
4 Foil Pan Lids: ($0.39 x 4)= $1.56
4 32-ounce Deli Containers ($0.27 x 4) = $1.08
3 16-ounce Deli Containers ($0.17 x 3) = $0.51
Country Clean Grand Total: $4.51
But to be honest, I will probably buy a few extra of each. I haven't made these recipes before and want to be prepared if the yield of the recipe is more than expected. Don't sweat it if this happens. Package a freezer lunch or have it for dinner that night. I am also going to get a few 16 ounce deli containers to put mashed potatoes in. So my total will look more likes this:
6 Aluminum Pans: ($0.34 x 6) = $2.04
6 Foil Pan Lids: ($0.39 x 6)= $2.34
6 32-ounce Deli Containers ($0.27 x 6) = $1.62
8 16-ounce Deli Containers ($0.17 x 8) = $1.36
Country Clean Grand Total: $7.36
I will also use Gallon and Quart size ZIPLOC FREEZER BAGS. Believe me. I love a generic, but its not worth it here. It has to be Ziploc and it has to be freezer bags. I keep these on hand. Keep a look out for a sale and coupon to make them more affordable.
I did a quick Google search and found www.soap.com . They currently have a coupon code SoSoap1 to save 15% on your first order.
Gallon Ziploc Freezer Bag, 30 count $5.99 or $0.20 a piece. I don't actually need any of this size this time, but keep them on hand.
Quart Ziploc Freezer Bag, 40 count $4.49 or $0.12 a piece. I need 8 for a total of $0.96.
My total for convenient, disposable freezer containers is: $5.47 (although I will probably put out closer to $12, but will have extras for another time.) To me, it is worth $5.47 to have a little less to do and clean and an extra minute to sit with my babies. It may not be to you and you may prefer to use all reusable container or just Ziploc bags. You have got to make that choice yourself!