I often brag about my freezer containers, especially my foil pans. I get them from Agiant. I have three sizes, and each one is fabulous! Right now they’re having a Valentine 2011 sale, for an even better bargain.
While I’m all for using what you have, and reusing containers, and recycling, I gotta say, when I’m filling the freezer, these pans are wonderful. If you regularly make meals for later, you should look into these. If you don’t think you’ll use a large quantity, find someone to share the load and cost. Trust me, they’re that good.
These will hold meats, full dishes, sides, you name it, and can go directly into the oven or even the microwave — really! Be sure the top is off and the side flappy things are up, and you’re good to go. I swear. They swear. I’ve never had a problem as long as the sides were up.
Why do I have three sizes? I started with the smallest ones, which were the size of the small pans I used when I worked in the easymealprep biz. (You know, those places where you go to assemble 12 meals, then take them home for your family’s freezer.) We found the small size of a casserole fit our family meal needs perfectly — at that time. This size, the 2-lb, is about half the size of a 9 x 13. Then I needed larger pans, so I went for the 3 lb oblong size, which is about 11 1/2″ x 5″ and holds 48 oz. This is a nice size for four chicken breasts, four burgers, loaves, and side dishes. It’s also great for potlucks, especially sides. Number One grew a hollow leg when he turned 14, so I got the 4 lb oblong size, which holds roughly the same as a standard 9 x 13 pan (because the foil pan is a little deeper). I measured, with water, and it holds the same. These are terrific for lasagnas, casseroles, enchiladas, baked goods, and whatever else fits.
All these pans have matching cardboard lids. Foil on one side, to protect the food, and white cardboard on the other. These lids slip into the top “shelf” of the pan, and the flaps are folded down over it. This holds the lid quite securely, and keeps out most of the freezer air. You know how a foil topper on a grocery-store-bought foil pan tends to come off? Then you have to put it in a baggie. That’s extra work, and extra product to buy. And it probably never seals quite properly. These cardboard lids take care of that.
The lids are safe in a regular oven to 325 deg. We’ve found that removing them is usually best, since we usually bake at 350, and they are not safe at that point. Plus they smell when they get too hot. And cheese sticks.
The lids are also rigid, so you can easily and safely stack your pans in the freezer. LOVE the lids, and I wouldn’t purchase these in bulk if they didn’t come with the lids. They also have a new “Generation II” plastic dome, for cakes, salads, and other dishes above the pan. I don’t know how these would suit my family needs yet. But they look cool.
I usually write directly on the cardboard lid with a Sharpie pen when I’m cooking for family. I abbreviate the cooking instructions, because it’s usually me doing the cooking. I’m changing that, though, as time goes on. I also label with sticky labels, but I’ll cover that another time.
Always date what you stash in the freezer. I can write it right on the top, and I like to use different color pens when I have different cooking sessions. Then a quick glance during menu planning tells me what I should use first.
These go into the freezer, and because they’re rectangular, and only about 2 1/2″ high, I can fit a month’s worth of meals, 30 in all, on two shelves. That includes sides. I’m trying to store a main dish with a side on top, for even easier mornings. Grab and go! We’re getting there.
If you’re interested, take advantage of the Valentine 2011 Sale. Shipping is fast and FREE!