This morning (4:00am) I was emptying out our crock pot. I made homemade spaghetti sauce (recipe to follow) and needed to let the leftovers cool completely before I bagged them up to freeze. When I can, I make a double batch or even a triple batch of meals I can freeze. Some examples include, pulled pork, spaghetti sauce, pesto, flank steak (I cut it up for chili), enchilada filling, to name a few. I freeze all my leftovers in plastic bags. They work great! HERE'S HOW I DO IT: before you fill the plastic bag with your delicious creations you (obviously) label and date the bag, then fill it up (*), extract all the air and lay the bag flat in the freezer. Once the food is frozen (about 24 hours later) the flat bag is easily stored and easy to find later! (*) The trick to loading up a ziplock bag WITHOUT making a huge mess and getting a bunch of food stuck in the zipper or on the outside of the bag is this: first, find a large cup, coffee mug or small bowl you can fold the zipper of the bag over the top. Second, push the bladder of the bag into the cup, coffee cup or bowl and fill it with your food. The container does NOT need to be as big as the bag or amount of food you are storing. You are looking for a container to fold the zipper over the top so you can keep the zipper and outside of the bag clean. Once you have the bag 1/4 or 1/2 way full you can pull it out of your container and set it on the counter, it should be much easier to fill and keep clean. HOMEMADE Spaghetti Sauce
Tools: Food Process & Crock Pot
Ingredients and prep: 2 carrots, 2 sticks of celery, 1 red pepper, 4 cloves of garlic, 1/2 cup sliced almonds, 3 roma tomatoes, 1 tablespoon of italian seasoning or a season you like, and two cups of spinach. Process all of this until very smooth, it may take 5-10 minutes. Pour it into the crock pot. Add 3 cloves of garlic and 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a pan, simmer on VERY low for five minutes. Add and cook 1 pound of ground beef to the pan. Once the meat is cooked add it to the crock pot. Pour in two jars of your favorite spaghetti sauce and 1/2 - 1 cup of parmesan cheese or 2 parmesan rinds (if you have it). Cook on low for 3 to 4 hours.
* I served my sauce over Spaghetti Squash. There a lot of ways to cook spaghetti squash. Here's how I did mine . . . I turned the oven to 375 degrees. I poked the spaghetti squash all over with a knife (so it wouldn't explode in the oven) and then I baked it for one hour. I cooked my squash in the morning so it would have all day to cool and be easier to handle later. I didn't bother heating the squash back up for dinner I just let the heat from the spaghetti sauce warm up the squash.