Forget Cookie Monster, I have a Pancake Monster in the house. Ask him what he wants for breakfast and he will choose pancakes almost every time! Even though I am a stay at home mom, mixing the ingredients (or heaven forbid using a pre made mix) and cooking them every morning would be an ordeal. Instead, I use IQF. No, it has nothing to do with money or impossible missions or measures of intelligence, though I think it is a pretty smart way to serve my son homemade pancakes every day.
Once every week or two I make a batch of pancakes, usually Emeril's Make 'Em Pancakes, but a new favorite is the version of IHOP Country Griddle Cakes found in Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2. Then I put all of the leftovers on a cookie sheet in a single layer, pop it in the freezer for an hour or so, take them off the cookie sheet and put in a freezer bag. If you just put them in a bag or other container they will stick together and you will have to defrost ALL of them instead of just a few at a time. This way I reach in and grab 3 (more like 5) and microwave for a few seconds for a quick breakfast.
This week alone, I have used IQF for a wide variety of foods from freshly picked peas to salmon burgers to turkey bacon (stacked two pieces together to pull out a serving or two to go along with the pancakes!). IQF also works well for things like lasagna -make a big batch, then freeze the leftovers on a cookie sheet in single serving pieces that can be reheated later for a quick lunch or dinner.
I use a similar technique for liquids (freshly squeezed lemon juice, homemade chicken stock, brewed coffee) and pureed fruit and vegetables using ice cube trays then putting the cubes in freezer bags. I slip the veggies in various foods, the fruits make great smoothies, and using coffee ice cubes for iced coffee prevents it from getting watered down. Ma'am also suggested freezing leftover tomato paste this way when your recipe only calls for a part of a can.
I detest wasted food and I am not too fond of wasting my energy. By creatively freezing my foods I am able to serve healthier foods to my family with minimal effort and I can tailor meals for my sometimes picky eaters. Plus with the weather heating up, cooking once or twice a week in the morning then reheating at night sounds like a way to beat the heat.
Until next time, happy eating!