I recently had a conversation with several ladies about the whole process of OAMC. I was asked how I store my meals. The majority of the meals I prepare and many of the meals that are in my meal plans can be stored in gallon sized zip-loc bags. But what about the casseroles or layered dishes that must be stored in a dish of some sort? What do I prefer? What do I use? What do I recommend?
First of all let me preface my remarks by saying that it has taken me some time to build up my own collection so I do not necessarily recommend that you go out and buy a whole bunch at one time, unless you find a really great sale.
My recommendation is PYREX® dishes with the plastic lids. You can buy foil dishes that have the cardboard lids and they are fairly economical, but you throw them away after one use. This to me is wasteful. I suggest that you slowly invest in a collection of various PYREX® dishes that can be used and reused time and time again. Thus in the long run you will be saving money.
You can buy PYREX® at a number of places. I prefer to buy them with the lids, then you know you will have a lid that will fit properly. In the past, I have found these available in a 2 pack at Wal-Mart for around $13. The set came with two different sizes a 9x13 and a 7x11. Both sizes are very useful. Individual pans are also available. You can also go direct to the PYREX® website found here to buy whatever pans you might wish to buy.
A word of caution however, I feel I must give here, watch what you are buying. There are a lot of gift sets that are available. If you are wishing to purchase pans for the purpose of OAMC many of these sets may not be entirely useful to you. Be sure to verify the sizes of the pans and items that come in the set and depending on the size of your family, you will not need anything smaller than an 8x8 pan. So don't get caught up in the deal for a 20 piece set if most of those items will not be useful with your OAMC cooking. Why buy what you do not need?!
PYREX® with lids will keep your meals fresh for up to about 2 months and you don't have to worry about cutting holes in the pan when you serve your meals like I always do if I use a foil pan. They can be placed in your fridge or on the counter to thaw and then go directly to the oven or microwave to cook the meal.
If you already have some PYREX®(most of us do) but don't have lids, it is possible in some cases to buy the lids separately. Make sure to verify that your pans are actually PYREX® because the lids do not fit other brands. Check your sizes and you can order lids here.
So here are my favorites and why:
1- I love the PYREX® Storage Plus® 11-cup Rectangle w/ Cover
The reason I love this dish is because it is a bit deeper than your average casserole dish which makes it a perfect choice for those layered meals like Shepherd's Pie, or even a small Lasagna.
2- The versatile PYREX® 2-qt Oblong w/ Cover
This is the 7x11 pan I spoke of earlier. It is a very versatile dish and can be used for many different casserole type meals.
3- The must have PYREX® 9" x 13" Baking Dish w/ CoverThis dish is a must have because you will use it time and time again. I have 5 of this one and use them constantly. This is one you may want to have an extra of so you can use it to bake some of the meals that are stored and frozen in bags. It is great for any casserole type meal and so many more!!!
4-Finally the last I suggest is the PYREX® 8" Square Baking Dish w/ Cover
I have used this dish many times and if you have a smaller (less than 6) family, you can make most of your meals into this size pan by splitting the recipes into two meals thus doubling the amount of meals you are freezing for future use.
I may sound a bit like an advertisement for the PYREX® company. I assure you I am not in any way affiliated with them, but I have found a product that is ideal for OAMC and want to help others to the good stuff rather than learning by trial and error as I have. Besides a few less foil pans in the garbage dumps is a good thing right?