Thursday, June 12, 2008

Freezer Friendly Meals, Etc.

Lizzy told me that there had been a request for meals that are freezer friendly. Perfect! I've been thinking along those lines as I am getting ready to have a new baby arrive on the scene.

Below I've assembled a list of recipes I have made and frozen. Please, please, please add your two bits and let us know what you freeze or any other tips about freezing meals, etc.

Casseroles and Main Dishes:

Lasagna Bolognese--make 2, freeze one or both
Chicken Pot Pie
BBQ Beef or Pork
Beef Stroganoff (freeze the components, minus the sour cream and add it to the crockpot, or cook and freeze, adding the sour cream upon reheating)
Chicken Enchiladas
Moroccan Spiced Beef Patties
Swedish Meatballs minus gravy
Meatloaf
Sloppy Joe's

Soups and Stews:
Butternut Squash Soup (add cream when you reheat it)
Lentil Soup
Roasted Red Pepper-Shrimp Bisque (add cream and cheese when you reheat)
Split Pea Soup

Appetizers:
Herb-Gruyere Thumbprints

Sauces:
Pesto
Spaghetti sauce
Tomatillo-Serrano Chile Sauce

Bread:
Waffles and Pancakes (make a large batch and freeze the leftovers--reheat in a warm oven)
Rolls
Blueberry Muffins (let come to room temp and pop in a warm oven for a few minutes to refresh them)
Cheddar-Chive Biscuits (underbake a bit, let come to room temp, bake for a few minutes in a hot oven)

Desserts and Sweets:
Sweet Tart Dough (freeze unbaked dough in the pan)
Coconut Key Lime Tart
Frozen Lemon Mascarpone Cheesecake
NY Cheesecake
Cookies--Cornmeal Cherry Cookies, chocolate chip, butter cookies (see tips below)
Buttercream icing
Cakes--see below for tips

My Tips:

Freeze chicken breasts, pork chops, fish fillets, meat, etc. in a bag with marinade. As they thaw they will marinate.

Marinade ideas--chicken gyros, rosemary balsamic vinaigrette, cilantro citrus chicken, fajita seasoning (bell peppers and onions will freeze fine, too), teryaki, bottled vinaigrette

Don't throw away that ham bone at Christmas time! Freeze it and use it to make navy bean soup, black beans, or cassoulet.

Creamy casseroles and soups don't freeze as well as other things--they taste fine, but the appearance and texture is compromised.

Pasta alone (not in a casserole) can take on a funny texture--I don't recommend it, as can cooked potatoes.

Don't do glass unless you put it in a cold oven and let it warm up with the oven.

Freeze excess leftovers in individual containers for quick lunches--don't buy those expensive microwave dinners from the grocery store.

Baked Goods and Desserts:

Baked goods freeze very well. If you make your own bread, make extra loaves to keep in the freezer. Wrap them well in plastic and foil, or in a large Ziploc bag.

Partially bake rolls and freeze them. To reheat, pop them in the oven for a few minutes--they won't get overbaked this way.

Freeze individual balls of cookie dough and place them in a large Ziploc bag. Bake them for a few minutes longer than the recipe says.

Most any unfilled, unfrosted cake freezes well. Cakes filled with a creamy filling don't freeze as well, but frosted cakes are fine as long as they are wrapped well first in plastic, then in foil.

Press plastic wrap or wax paper directly onto ice cream, sorbet, and other frozen desserts to prevent frost and a "sticky" skin from forming on the surface.

Labeling:

Write the name of and date you made the food item on the plastic or foil. Also add a "discard by ____" on the packaging. Somethings become unrecognizable after months and months of being in the freezer.

Buy in bulk and freeze if you can:

Contrary to popular belief, cheese does not freeze well. You can still use it, but it definitely loses flavor and texture. Brie, however, actually fares better than other cheeses--I just read that in my latest issue of Cooks' Illustrated Magazine.

Freezing other dairy products is not recommended--except for butter. Never freeze cream, sour cream, yogurt. (Unless you are making ice cream or something.)

Fruits like strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, pineapple, mango, and cherries freeze very well. Freeze them on a baking sheet until firm and place in a large Ziploc bag with the date. Use within six months or so.

Veggies that freeze well--peas, green beans, peppers, broccoli, corn, etc. Watery veggies like some squashes and zucchini don't freeze well at all. Tomatoes that will be used for a sauce are fine to freeze.
________________________________________

What say you, Readers? Any tips you'd like to share?

5 comments:

Lizzy @ The Tip Spot said...

i love that tip to freeze meats with marinades. I'm going to start doing that!

The Davies Family said...

great tip on the meat in marinade as well as partially baked rolls..only how 'partially' is partially?
Also you can freeze milk and then you stick it in a sink of cold water overnight and it thaws in cold water so it stays cool..if its been frozen for a week then you'll have to eventually add warm water to make it thaw quicker.

i'm kelly said...

i love all of these ideas! they are great.

Cafe Johnsonia said...

Davis Fam--partially depends on the recipe. When I make mine and freeze them, I underbake by about 10 minutes--not so they are still raw, but barely golden on top.

Rachel said...

Thanks for all the ideas and recipes!!!