Gillaspy proposed starting simple. Imagine you make dinner and you’ve got leftovers. “You can make your own TV dinner. That way, nothing goes to waste,” suggested Gillaspy.
Or if you’re making something like lasagna that takes a little effort and time, he said, “Make two instead of one.”
Another trick is taking advantage of sales. When ground beef or chicken goes on sale, Gillaspy advises, stock up.
He recruited volunteer Andrea Marlette to separate fresh ground beef into three separate meal-sized portioned freezer bags. The air was then squeezed out and the bag was sealed. Then, the bag was laid on a cookie sheet and pressed flat for freezing so it will take less space in the freezer.
Gillaspy also suggested browning, draining and seasoning bulk meats like ground beef or chicken before dividing and freezing them.
“If you’re dirtying a skillet to brown two pounds of ground beef, why do not four?” asked Gillaspy.
With help from his library assistant, Liz Osisek, Gillaspy shared a YouTube video on freezer cooking, carefully pointing out how the cook had everything laid out in advance, including chopped vegetables.
Gillaspy then assembled several meals, with Marlette's assistance. He used a clear pitcher to keep his freezer bag in place and open while putting ingredients inside. Crock Pot Honey Sesame Chicken was first up, followed by Mexican Chicken and Curry Chicken. When all the ingredients were placed in the bag for each recipe, the air was pushed out, and the bag was kneaded a little to mix it up. Then it was flattened on the cookie sheet.
Gillaspy, obviously a library aficionado, suggested lots of resources for researching how to get the most out of your freezer. He recommended several books, including “Don’t Panic — Dinner’s in the Freezer,” by Susie Martinez, Vanda Howell and Bonnie Garcia, and “Fix, Freeze, Feast,” by Kati Neville and Lindsay Tkacsik. He suggested looking at Internet sites including YouTube, by simply searching on the term "freezer cooking."