Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
3 Mar

Reheat and Eat – Frozen Primal Meals

meatloaf2If you don’t have a lot of time to put a meal together there are plenty of fresh Primal meals, like a “big-ass salad” or an omelet, that take only minutes to make. There are times in life, however, when the two free hands it takes to chop up veggies or scramble an egg are occupied with something more pressing, like soothing a new baby or helping your kid with homework or typing a work email that must be sent. There are also times when the only ingredients left in your fridge are a few limp carrots and some unidentifiable leftovers and a trip to the market just isn’t going to happen.

Wouldn’t it be great to just open your freezer and have a selection of home-cooked Primal meals ready to heat up? With a little planning, this dream can be your reality. Set aside one day a month when you cook and stock your freezer, or get in the habit of doubling recipes so you can freeze half for later. The majority of Primal recipes freeze well in cooked form. A few exceptions might be cooked seafood, which tends to turn tough and rubbery, and leafy greens and cabbage, which can be limp and soggy when re-heated. Cooked whole eggs typically freeze fairly well (but egg whites alone don’t) and sauces that contain whole cream or coconut milk can be re-heated successfully (although freezing coconut milk alone usually makes it grainy and watery).

Whatever you’re freezing, keep these tips in mind:

  • Food must be completely cooled before freezing it
  • Freezing food in small portions helps it freeze quickly, which maintains good flavor and texture
  • Freezer wrap (thick paper with a moisture-resistant coating) works well for wrapping solid food. Plastic freezer bags work well to store all kinds of frozen food because they take up less room in the freezer than containers and are easy to label.
  • If using freezer bags, remove all the air from the bag before sealing
  • Always label the contents and date it was made
  • Most cooked food tastes best if eaten within 3 months of being frozen
  • Usually, the best place to defrost food before re-heating it is in the refrigerator
  • Reheating food that is still frozen and hasn’t been defrosted often takes double it’s regular cooking time in a 350 degree F oven
  • Food safety regulations recommend re-heating frozen food to an internal temperature of 165 F before eating it

Soups, stews and saucy meals freeze especially well and defrost quickly. Simply place the bag of frozen soup/stew/sauce in a bowl of hot water until it softens and breaks into pieces, then dump it into a saucepan for stovetop heating. These types of meals are also really easy to freeze in small portions (use a small Ziploc freezer bag) so you can re-heat one serving at a time. If you’d prefer to use glass containers to freeze soups and sauces make sure the glass is tempered and labeled freezer safe, otherwise you are likely to end up with broken glass on your hands.

Cooked meat also freezes well, but needs more time to defrost. The best method is to put the frozen meat in the refrigerator the day before you plan to re-heat it.

For meals that you can take out of the freezer and heat up quickly in the microwave without defrosting, try Omelet Muffins and frittata slices. Or, for snacks that you don’t have to warm up at all, try freezing Cocoa and Coconut Snacks, Primal Energy Bars and Primal Trail Mix.

For something more filling, freeze a meal that’s always a hit and really easy to make ahead of time: meatloaf. To keep things Primal, follow any meatloaf recipe you like and just omit breadcrumbs and oats, which are mainly filler and not truly necessary to hold the loaf together (as long as you add eggs). The recipe below is especially simple and results in a moist, flavorful meatloaf that will please kids and adults alike. Freeze the loaf whole, or cut it into slices for individual servings that can be re-heated in the oven or microwave.

Primal Meatloaf

Ingredients:

ingredients 7
  • 2 pounds ground meat (a mix of beef and pork works well)
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, grated or finely chopped
  • 1 celery rib, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Small handful of fresh parsley springs, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Saute garlic, onion, carrot, and celery in butter over medium heat until onions are soft, 6-8 minutes.

onions carrots

In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together. The best way to mix meatloaf is with your hands.

mixure

Put half the meat in a loaf pan and smooth and pat it down with your fingers. Put the rest of the meat in the pan and smooth and pat it down until it’s even.

It’s good to put foil or a rimmed baking sheet under the loaf pan, in case oil or liquid spills over the top. Bake 1 – 1 1/2 hours or until a thermometer inserted into center of meatloaf registers 160°F.

To freeze, first take the meatloaf out of the loaf pan and cool completely in the refrigerator. Wrap the loaf or individual slices tightly in freezer paper then put in a sealed freezer bag.

Ideally, defrost the meatloaf in the refrigerator before reheating in a 350 F oven. Slices of meatloaf can also be reheated in a microwave.

meatloaf2

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You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Freezing food is a great money and time saver. Especially foods that take a while to prepare, like stews and broths. On a saturday or sunday I make a huge pot of chicken or beef broth, freeze it in portions and use it for my lunches.
    When I want to eat it, I just dump the frozen lump of broth in a pan and heat it. A freezer might not be very primal (except if you’re Inuit), but it’s an awesome piece of equipment for the modern day Grok.

    Fair Flavors wrote on March 3rd, 2012
    • One problem I have with freezing soup or stew or any sort of really soft or liquid food is that if you do it in a plastic bag, it freezes in a square shape. I solved this problem by holding on to some sour cream tubs, the pint size. Fill one of those suckers, let the stuff freeze, take it back out of the freezer, run the container under cold water a bit til you can slide out the ice block, wrap it in plastic wrap, stick it in a freezer bag and pop it back in the freezer. Presto, it will fit in a bowl and go into the microwave with zero hassle. Even if you’re a reheat-on-the-stove kind of person, I have yet to meet a square saucepan.

      Dana wrote on March 4th, 2012
      • Dana,
        I bought a bunch of glass lock containers. They go right in the freezer, have sealing lids. The newer ones can go in the oven. The older ones I can microwave. They are clear glass, you can get at amazon and lots of retailers. Trying to stop putting food in plastic is a challenge.

        Snauzoo wrote on March 6th, 2012
      • Or you can make stock-cubes using an ice cube tray. That way you only have to reheat what you’re going to use.

        Cat Grok wrote on April 19th, 2012
      • Mason jars work great in the freezer and if you use the wide mouth pint or half pint varieties there isn’t even a “shoulder” to the jar. With very little heat (I usually stick the jar in a bowl of warm water) the soup or broth will pop right out.

        K00kyKelly wrote on November 20th, 2012
  2. I make Primal meals for the freezer regularly. It beats the heck out of a Lean Cuisine lunch, for sure! Sauteed greens and mashed cauliflower freeze wonderfully. When I heat up braised lamb with kale and cauli-mash at work, there are envious looks all around!

    onewomanband wrote on March 3rd, 2012
    • P.S. The secret to avoiding sogginess is to choose sturdy greens and undercook them.

      onewomanband wrote on March 3rd, 2012
      • Yes! I simply blanch veggies before freezing them. That process stops spoilage but doesn’t result in soggy overcooked veggies.

        rarebird wrote on March 3rd, 2012
      • The secret is also to not defrost them too fast. Fast defrosting results in more broken cells and more moisture and flavor coming out of the food. The advice to defrost in hot water is not good. Defrost as slowly as possible and if you need it in a hurry put it in a put with something heavy on it and run *cold* water slowly over it.

        JohnC wrote on March 3rd, 2012
        • The same applies to frozen meat – whether cooked or raw. Its more tender and juicy if slow defrosted in the fridge.

          rarebird wrote on March 3rd, 2012
  3. Great article! I think most people can get their head around one day a month of cooking to stock the freezer. One tiny addition I will contribute: I love to freeze in glass jars in order to avoid plastic, but be sure to leave adequate space at the top for expansion or you will have either A) a lid that pops off, or B) a broken jar.

    Debra wrote on March 3rd, 2012
    • Do you have a chest or upright freezer? How do you organize the jars?

      rarebird wrote on March 3rd, 2012
      • You’d pretty much have to have a dedicated freezer, yep. Round containers are not a good use of space, and you’d run out of room quickly.

        I do not worry about plastic storage in the freezer because it’s heat, fat, and acid that really get plastic leaching, especially if you stick with the safer varieties. (And cold always slows down processes involving fat and acid, at least the types you run into in a kitchen environment.) Absent BPA, if the plastic is food-grade, you should be fine.

        Dana wrote on March 4th, 2012
        • That’s been my thinking as well. However, there have been issues with leaching with BPA water bottles stored in a freezer – so cold can present issues as well as heat. But avoiding those sorts of plastics should eliminate these issues anyway.

          rarebird wrote on March 5th, 2012
        • Its more the processes that go into the manufacture of plastic that should be the issue. Plastic is hardly environmentally friendly. It is also recycled inefficiently with most, if not all going into landfill. Glass is tricky to use but a healthy earth is more important. No earth = no people = no need for fridges. say no to plastic AT ALL TIMES and choose recyclable elements. The same goes for shopping. I get so mad when I see someone take a plastic bag for items they could easily carry in their hands. Take your own bags!!!

          Yasmin wrote on March 20th, 2012
    • I also freeze in glass containers. We bought a set that stacks easily. I just take them out, pop them into warm water and within 15 mins, the liquid in them is loose around the edges and I can dump the entire contents into a saucepan. All my broth is stored this way. I believe you can go from freezer to microwave with them, if you prefer.

      And just like Debra mentioned, make sure to leave enough headspace so the liquid can expand while it freezes.

      Happycyclegirl wrote on March 5th, 2012
      • Where did you find these containers? I have a chest freezer and more glass canning jars than I need for the amount of food that I can these days. I’d like to use the jars in the freezer but space and the ability to organize them are constraints right now.

        rarebird wrote on March 5th, 2012
  4. I am doing exactly that today. I made pot roast over night, meatloaf which I will have for lunch, and freeze the leftovers, slow cooker taco meat from stew meet, and a few other meals. I eat them at work for the next 2 weeks, and then do it all over. I get about half of my vegies frozen, since they are cheaper, and add them to my “tv” dinners without even defrosting them first. there are some people who only cook one day a month, and eat from the freezer the other 29 days. I think there is a book, I am going to look for it today.

    Robert wrote on March 3rd, 2012
  5. That looks like one hell of a meatloaf!

    I also love the idea of reheating frozen primal meals.

    Or, simply making A LOT of everything you do create will also save a lot of time in the kitchen. Slow cook a large roast, create a large soup and even a salad that will last you 2 or 3 meals. This will allow you more time to play!

    Primal Toad wrote on March 3rd, 2012
  6. Silicone muffin “tins” are great for freezing stock, soup, mashed veggies, portions of meat, pesto, etc. Pop out the food-muffins when they’re frozen solid and put them in a freezer bag – then you can easily extract one or a few at a time for reheating.

    Kat wrote on March 3rd, 2012
    • ice cube trays work too! thanks for the muffin pan idea also.
      If you have an abundance of eggs, you can freeze those too! Crack them, beat them, & pour into ice cube trays or muffin pans :-) I pop them out after freezing & put in freezer bags. Same with stocks – I freeze those in cubes then bag them. so convenient to add to recipes that way or when you just want a mug-full of hot broth

      Peggy wrote on March 3rd, 2012
      • I use ice cube trays for freezing ground fresh herbs. Once they are frozen, I pop them out and put them in freezer bags like Kat mentioned. I bet the silicon “tins” would be easier for popping out herbs than the more rigid ice cube trays, though.

        rarebird wrote on March 3rd, 2012
    • That’s an even better idea than my sour cream tubs. Ha! I bet you could even find ones with larger cups in them, meant for serving-size cakes or large cupcakes.

      Dana wrote on March 4th, 2012
    • Another trick is to cut up whatever you’ve made into portion sides and freeze that for 2 hrs or so on a cookie sheet, then put the individual portions in a zip lock bag. Getting them mostly frozen keeps the food from sticking and freezing together.

      K00kyKelly wrote on November 20th, 2012
    • If you have the individual ones, those muffin ‘tins’ are also great for poaching eggs in ;)

      The Cats Mother wrote on February 22nd, 2013
  7. One thing I’ve learned about meatloaf – you don’t need a loaf pan to cook it. If you only have a flat pan or cookie sheet, you can mound the meat into a loafish shape on the pan and it will retain its form when cooked.

    Gingerzingi wrote on March 3rd, 2012
    • Yes! I prefer to make it this way since there is a delicious brown crust not just on the top, but on the sides as well.

      Sabrina wrote on March 3rd, 2012
      • I just can’t thank you enough for these crazy amazing tips and ideas! WOW! I am new to all of this and so, so excited – learning from all these messages makes things so much easier…
        Thanks!

        Lisa wrote on March 15th, 2012
    • You should try making mini Meatloaf’s in a muffin tin… Its so yummy and freezes so well!

      JamieLeigh wrote on August 13th, 2014
  8. Perfect timing and great comment tips, too! We also have a routine of using the weekends to prepare food for the week ahead and for the freezer.

    Our weekend foray to the pastured meats section at Whole Foods yielded 4 lbs of ground beef and four lbs of ground NZ lamb – which I will make into meatloaves. We also brought home a 4 lb brisket – another great comfort food – for making the braised brisket recipe here at MDA.

    Meatloaf can also be made using canned salmon – which I already shared a recipe for here. I recommend canned Pink Alaska wild caught salmon – I use Arctic Bay – the ingredients are “salmon and salt”. Mash the entire contents until fine and you have a good substitute for the ground meat – PLUS – its high in Omega 3 and minerals (due to the soft bones being included).

    If you drain the salmon very well you could use this recipe (above) just as is without any additional binders

    rarebird wrote on March 3rd, 2012
    • Its insane that you can get 4lb of ground NZ Lamb at Whole Foods… we cant even get than in NZ unless we know a farmer or own the lambs…. as much as all kiwis love lamb… we pay export prices for it…and we don’t have the consumers to drive that bulk export price down…. we can pay over $15 a kilo for lamb…in any form…. its nuts… and beef isn’t always much better here… but then again its delicious and nearly all nz beef and lamb is grass fed their whole life..

      Kendall wrote on March 4th, 2013
  9. Having been cooking (and freezing the leftovers) for over 50 years, I often forget that many people (especially those under 30) don’t know much about basic cooking and food safety. A timely article.

    Also — we almost always make meals in quantity and freeze back one or more meals to enjoy later as a meal by itself (like stew or a casserole) or an additive to another meal (like steak leftovers for a salad or some taco meat to add to a Mexican omelette.)

    Diane wrote on March 3rd, 2012
  10. I look at that neat loaf and all I can think is that I would want something to pour over it. Can anyone suggest something gravy-like that is primal approved? I really hate dry food and I would love to have something that is high fat to pour over meat and scrambled eggs and such. Something besides just butter.

    PatrickP wrote on March 3rd, 2012
    • Why not make gravy with coconut flour? If you use dairy, then you could use cream as well for the gravy, If not, then try coconut creme with a little water.

      Today I made grass fed beef liver with onions and uncured bacon – and used coconut flour for dredging the liver. The drippings in the pan when it was all done were dark brown, rich, and delicious served atop the liver!

      rarebird wrote on March 3rd, 2012
    • There are a few options if you don’t want to add any thickeners:

      1. Reductions – cook broth/stock until reduced by half or further, add in some herbs, spices, seasonings, take off the heat and whisk in cold butter until nice and glossy.

      2. Butter/Olive oil with herbs and garlic added

      3. Onion or mushroom gravy – cook lots of mushrooms or onions (or both) in butter on low heat until really soft, mash/blend and add loads of pepper, butter and a little water or stock.

      4. Sour cream, garlic, shallots and a little meat glaze/stock.

      Hope these help

      Grant wrote on March 3rd, 2012
      • YUMMMM!!

        rarebird wrote on March 3rd, 2012
    • What about tomato sauce? I think Rao’s makes a Primal friendly one. Better yet, you could make it very quickly at home with Bionaturae peeled strained tomatoes, some garlic salt and red chilli flakes and dried herbs such as thyme, oregano and a little basil.

      Sabrina wrote on March 3rd, 2012
    • No one mentioned egg yolk. Fo’ shame. You can thicken sauces with yolks. Be careful, though, or you’ll cook the yolk before it incorporates.

      Dana wrote on March 4th, 2012
    • Potato starch can be used in place of flour. Also, a bit of white rice (and therefore rice flour) is in the gray area primal wise. The amount needed for thickening isn’t going to get your in trouble carbs wise. Maybe even some mashed cauliflower would work to gravy-ify some broth…

      K00kyKelly wrote on November 20th, 2012
  11. I’m an old hand at freezing grab & heat meals. I usually have chicken breasts double-bagged and ready to add to some veggies in a pan. I like your sausage & egg casserole, too. I have eaten the squares cold when traveling! I always bag the portions in sandwich bags, but if anyone has a way around the plastic issue, please share it!.

    Carol wrote on March 3rd, 2012
    • Maybe try the jar-pie method? Baking in mason jars isn’t recommended, I’m not sure if they are supposed to shatter in the oven or if it’s just for the people who think it’s shelf-stable just because it’s a canning jar. There are companies who make oven-safe glass storage with decent plastic lids.

      For disposable/portable, I’d try butcher paper, maybe have a water-resistant cloth bag around that.

      Kelekona wrote on March 4th, 2012
  12. How about a nice slow cooked tomato sauce with garlic, oregano and basil? I tend to cook a large pot for an hour and freeze it in portions.

    Marion wrote on March 3rd, 2012
    • That would be great served over meat loaf!

      rarebird wrote on March 3rd, 2012
  13. I love making meals ahead. In addition to freezing, we can fish, sauces, stew, and soup to have in the cupboard when we need something quick and easy. Pyrex has some great small to medium size casserole dishes with good sealing lids that are tempered and can go from freezer to fridge to oven.

    Ang wrote on March 3rd, 2012
  14. I love to cook, but even so I like to have days when I don’t have to; so I always make extra meals on the weekends to have on hand. I finally convinced some people in my family that fast food doesn’t have to come from a place you drive to, sit and wait, then take home while it gets cold on the drive.

    Our favorite: I cook a dozen gf burgers a bit rare, which can be microwaved in 30second.

    Fast food can be one minute in this house.

    Nan wrote on March 3rd, 2012
  15. I do this all the time. Sunday is my cook ahead day for the week, sometimes more depending on what I’m cooking. If it’s a big pot of primal chili, that will last me 2 weeks or more for lunch. This week it’s chicken breast for lunch and bogo center cut pork chops for supper.
    I also pre-bake my bacon for breakfast. I love bacon, can’t STAND the smell of it frying from raw in the morning. Pre-baking on a rack in a half sheet pan cuts the cooking time to minutes and nets me bacon grease for cooking my eggs or making baconaise.

    Kethry wrote on March 3rd, 2012
    • Mmmmm baconaise, any chance of a recipe?

      Heather wrote on March 3rd, 2012
      • Yes, please!!!

        rarebird wrote on March 3rd, 2012
      • I think Mark has a recipe somewhere but this is how I do it:

        1. Cook fatty bacon until fat is mostly rendered out. You’ll need about a cup.

        2. Eat bacon while you wait for grease to cool a little.

        3. Whisk an egg yolk with pinch of salt and a tsp water until pale yellow

        4. Using a whisk, stick blender or food processor very slowly add bacon grease to egg yolk while whisking constantly.

        5. Taste and add any flavorings you want to (salt/pepper, mustard, roasted garlic, herbs etc)

        If it splits (if the grease separates from the yolk) whisk another egg in separate bowl and slowly add split baconaise as above

        Grant wrote on March 3rd, 2012
        • Thank you!

          rarebird wrote on March 4th, 2012
  16. An interesting idea about food safety: Grok might have had divine insight into how “invisible things” could make food bad to eat, and how they hated fire and ice… but how strict was Grok in following his day’s food-safety standards?

    I imagine that our earliest self-aware ancestors would think that an abandoned zebra was fine as long as it was too fresh for vultures.

    There are things that I will eat but not serve to anyone else. Mainly it’s leftovers that’s been sitting in a cold frying pan overnight or similar scenarios. Sometimes it takes a week to cook the meat in the fridge and it smells dead. Occasionally it’s cutting the moldy half away from fruit.

    I do this just often enough that I know my system can handle it fine. I do need to put a melt-indicator in my freezer because even though my parents’ could sit dead for a week with no problems, mine might not. About the only food-paranoia I have is with my home-canned turkey; and that’s believing that I should look at it, smell it, then heat it for 15.

    Kelekona wrote on March 3rd, 2012
    • It’s known in certain circles that if you are basically healthy, with your nutritional needs met, you are a lot less susceptible to bacterial infections, and possibly viral as well. Weston Price documented that Swiss on traditional diets got TB a lot less than Swiss living in town who ate a lot of industrial food. Yet the traditional Swiss were closer to the cattle, and probably consumed a lot more dairy.

      There’s a lot of TB going around in Russia now, but so many Russians are broke and likely aren’t eating well.

      Hunter-gatherers are/were nearly always in perfect health unless run off of prime hunting ground by farmers, which is what we’re seeing a lot of now.

      Dana wrote on March 4th, 2012
    • On the abandoned zebra comment.

      If you look at this week’s weekend link love, there is a documentary on whether cooking made us human. In the documentary, a hunter-gatherer tribe from Namibia killed a porcupine. Being a good distance from their village, they immediately cooked the skin, heart and liver as these were quickest to spoil in the mid-day heat. The rest of the animal was cut up and transported raw to their village. It’s really awesome to watch how they hunted this porcupine for 4 hours before they managed to kill it.

      Happycyclegirl wrote on March 5th, 2012
  17. I’m excited to see this post on freezing paleo meals. I’ve been participating in a meal exchange group where we cook on the weekend and trade meals on Monday. It’s great to have the variety and it spurs us to experiment to try to raise the bar. It’s great to have new things to add to the rotation! Thanks so much!

    NinjaJean wrote on March 3rd, 2012
  18. impeccable timing. i’m due with my first baby in about a week (give or take) and have been trying to stock up on freezer meals to get us through the first month. I bought 25lbs of meat the other day but have been having trouble finding primal freezer meals (most ‘once a month’ cooking sites are all about the grains, lasagnas!).

    thank you thank you thank you!!!! i have been agonizing over what my little tribe will be eating, especially since well-meaning family members will not be able to provide us with the primal meals we’d prefer to eat.

    charmaine wrote on March 3rd, 2012
  19. I was taught as a certified food safety manager that you never want to leave food out for too long. Bacteria doubles every 20 minutes. Within four hours it comes to the point where an elderly person, child, or sick person could be made sick or even killed. Sometimes people think cooking the food makes it safe again, but the toxins the bacteria leave behind are often still there after cooking. We always throw food away that has been hot-held for four hours, or left outside of the cooler and not cooked for more than 30 minutes.

    So that said If you plan to freeze food you might want to do it the way restaurants do it. We move the food into the cooler as soon as possible, and place it in a shallow pan. (As food might be chilled an inch into it an hour later…but still hot in the middle.) The goal is to spend as little time between 40-140 degrees when you freeze the food and later cook it. Leaving it whole and on the counter to cool before freezing will take too long!

    Maybe too much info but I think a lot of people don’t think about it. My sister thinks she can leave food on the counter for 24 hours and then serve it to her kids. I’m like noooooooooooooooo

    So freeze and reheat safely everybody. :D

    Elizabeth wrote on March 4th, 2012
    • Thank you for excellent tips! I can see how slicing my meatloaf or the stew and spreading it out in a shallow pan would cool it fast. I don’t have a lot of room in my fridge, but I bet I could cool things down in a shallow pan in a sink of ice and water pretty fast before moving it back into it’s ultimate storage container and the freezer? Do you think so?

      I have a serious stand-up deep freezer, so I can finish the chilling pretty agressively.

      Joy Beer wrote on March 4th, 2012
    • Definitely not TMI, IMO. As you say, many people don’t understand food safety. I cook my meatloaf in mini pans and put them in the fridge quickly with a loose cover and chill before wrapping and freezing, I keep a second fridge in the basement for this sort of task. Use it for chilling stock, too.

      rarebird wrote on March 4th, 2012
  20. One thing not mentioned in this article is my favorite kitchen appliance–the FoodSaver. Basically, it removes all the air out of plastic bags so food doesn’t get freezer burn. It a little pricey, but definately worth it if you buy in bulk and freeze. Another idea: Place the food in a ziplock bag and carefully dunk the bag in a container of water,(without getting water in the bag),then seal. This helps get most of the air out. Last: I always make meatloaf in bulk (think 24 pounds of meat) and freeze it uncooked in tins, sealed with the FoodSaver. You MUST think ahead, tho, and defrost it the day before…PS: (courtesy of my teenage son) always remove plastic from frozen food before putting it in a conventional oven (intuitive to anyone but a teenage boy!)

    trish wrote on March 4th, 2012
    • We have something like that and we really need to start using it and buying the refills instead of relying on the zipper bags, especially since the other adult in my house doesn’t seem to understand the concept of what it means to squeeze air out of said bags. The machine could do all the thinking for him…

      Dana wrote on March 4th, 2012
      • Ziploc makes a vacuum seal freezer bag with a simple pump to suck the air out. They’re pretty good quality – in that you can use them several times – and we’ve had good results. Probably not quite as vacuumed as something like a FoodSaver, but I suspect they’re a lot cheaper.

        Kat wrote on March 4th, 2012
  21. This article is terrific! I’ve been freezing my primal leftovers for the 3 months we’ve been eating this way, my little girl and I. We always have leftovers, and they DO freeze remarkably well. It makes that better meat and vegetables we’ve been eating so cost effective. Plus, breaking a great primal chili or meatballs out of the freezer is WAY easier than fast food!

    However, I’ve definitely been doing some things wrong as far as storing and then thawing these items. This will definitely help.

    Joy Beer wrote on March 4th, 2012
  22. I enjoy cooking, but sometimes for work and it is difficult to prepare a dish and I use frozen food.

    Alberto anuncios venta wrote on March 4th, 2012
  23. Thank you for the great ideas and recipe suggestions. This topic has been in my thoughts lately as we transition to primal.

    I sometimes add ground flax seed to our meatloaf…works well as a binder in place of breadcrumbs.

    Diana wrote on March 4th, 2012
    • I use ground flax instead of breadcrumbs, too. Made that switch years ago well before going grain free. When I shared my salmon loaf recipe with flax here, I was told that sprouted flax “flour” and coconut flour also worked well. Sprouting flax would take care of the anti-nutrient issue. A sprouted ground flax seed product is available at Amazon – and probably elsewhere as well.

      rarebird wrote on March 4th, 2012
      • I would never buy flax pre-ground. I did years ago, in my ignorance, but never again. They’re very high in PUFA (I don’t care if it’s omega-3, it’s still PUFA), which start breaking down immediately when the seed is ground. A coffee grinder grinds seeds down nicely, there is no reason to pay someone else to do it when it renders the product useless anyway.

        Dana wrote on March 4th, 2012
        • I know what you mean. I’ve always ground my flax seed just before using it. I use a Magic Bullet blender, then all parts are easily washable. Less trouble than a coffee grinder.

          rarebird wrote on March 4th, 2012
    • Just use an egg. It’s better for you anyway. If you really don’t want to do that, hopefully you know to buy flax seeds whole and grind them right before you use them. They go rancid fast–one thing that will lead me to judge a “health food store” harshly is if it keeps its flax oil and flax meal out on the shelf, unrefrigerated. And some of them do.

      Dana wrote on March 4th, 2012
  24. I do this all the time especially since I work full time, plus raise 3 kids under 6, all while my husband works and goes to law school. I’m not at all creative in the kitchen, so I’ve been relying on savingdinner.com. The owner just came out with a Paleo menu and a paleo freezer menu. The recipes are awesome! (I don’t make a dime on this btw :) just love the website and want to share.)

    Mae wrote on March 4th, 2012
  25. As I am the only primal eater in my house, I batch cook and freeze almost everything I eat. This way, when it comes to meal times I do not have to think about “What shall I have?” I just get something out of the freezer in the morning and it is ready to heat up when I do a meal for everyone else. EASY!

    Charmaine wrote on March 5th, 2012
  26. This meat loaf is great! I’ve never sautéed veggies to add to meatloaf. Love it – and will likely do it this way from now on. Use reserved fat from roasted bone and mire poi used for beef stock for the sauté.

    The reserved fat (and stock) was also great for making the tender braised brisket recipe here – another “keeper”!

    There was enough left over caramelized onion and tomato to use with the meatloaf – not that it needed any “help”. Was great straight out of the pan!

    rarebird wrote on March 5th, 2012
  27. Pemmican doesn’t even need to be frozen, just kept in cool, dark and dry conditions safe from vermin, insects etc. You can use it in stews or as a starting point for frying something else to go with it. If you use one of the recipes that incorporate dried fruit it will even be complete on its own without cooking and without other things in the meal, though you will need to drink a lot of liquid to go with it. (The fruit mustn’t have the wrong kinds of preservatives in it, of course.)

    P.M.Lawrence wrote on March 6th, 2012
  28. This meatloaf was delish! Thanks! I used some tomato sauce on top, but it was so flavorful it didn’t need it.

    Susan F wrote on March 6th, 2012
  29. Pemmican is the perfect solution. If you have pemmican you never go hungry, no need to freeze or reheat.

    Pemmican manual: http://www.traditionaltx.us/images/PEMMICAN.pdf

    JAUS wrote on March 6th, 2012
  30. The primal meatloaf looks great.

    Daniel wrote on March 6th, 2012
  31. Yeah. The meatloaf looks great. Plus who’d a thought of freezing then reheating. It’s a great idea especially when the week is so busy. Cool post Mark.

    Gemma wrote on March 7th, 2012
  32. You absolutely do not need to wait for food to cool before freezing it. That is a leftover from old fridges/freezers which might not have the power to maintain temperature.

    Modern freezers do just fine.

    Freezing before allowing to cool down is safest from a spoilage point of view.

    samjohn wrote on March 7th, 2012
  33. I’d be a bit concerned about heating food in plastics, great article.

    Natedizzle wrote on March 8th, 2012
  34. That looks fantastic! I have been looking for a primal meatloaf! Thanks!

    Jenn wrote on March 9th, 2012
  35. This is just what I’ve been looking for!!! I started back at uni this week and really need to be proactive about meal planning and packing lunches due to limited options. I’ve bookmarked this to use some of the recipes. Thanks!

    Sarah @ The Healthy Diva wrote on March 9th, 2012
  36. I love my freezer…its such a money-saver! I get through a LOT of bone broth each week, and since I also regularly use my slow-cooker, I cannot make Jenny (from Nourished Kitchen) McGruether’s ‘perpetual soup’, so I make a huge batch at the beginning of the week, and freeze it in special freezer bags, and that way I always have some chicken broth. I also freeze my raw milk; the minimum order from my producer is 3 2-liter bottles, which is a lot if you’re living alone! So I freeze most of it – works a treat!

    Milla wrote on March 14th, 2012
  37. I’ve tried a few of your recipes in the past Mark and loved everyone. The Savory Roasted Pumpkin with Beef Short Ribs is my favourite so far. This meatloaf looks very tasty so will have to go on my long list of recipes I need to try :).

    Totally agree with you on the freezer. It’s such a time saver cooking a couple of big meals each week then freezing them to reheat and eat on the other nights.

    Tom

    Tom Parker wrote on March 21st, 2012
  38. I made this last night but added 4 leaves of rainbow chard and shredded all the veggies into really small bits in the food processor. It is seriously delicious and I got the extra leafy greens in there too.

    Amy wrote on March 21st, 2012
  39. I just made this last week and ate it all week long. It was fantastic, especially after sitting in the fridge for a few days, the flavors melded together. I didn’t even get a chance to put some in the freezer because it was all gone. My VERY picky friend loved it. I made the recipe almost exactly as written except I put dried parsley as I didn’t have any fresh. I used 1 pound ground beef and 1 pound of pork. Yum.

    Pherousa wrote on March 22nd, 2012
  40. I’m making this for the second time. the first time was great, I used a mix of beef and chicken gizzards and left out the celery and parsley since I had none. This time it is all gizzards, so I added a couple teaspoons of tomato paste just in case they didn’t give enough taste. And of course it freezes very well. Thanks!

    yorabu wrote on March 23rd, 2012

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