Fri 20 Jul, 2007 01:26 pm
I am looking for a variety of recipes that freeze well and reheat well.
I am doing the whole cook and freeze now before the baby gets here thing.
I have already decided on chili and meatballs so I don't really need many beef recipes.
Any chicken recipes that freeze well? Or chicken recipes that are easy and fast?
Get a bag of those boneless, skinless chicken breasts then simmer them in several different pots of fruit juices and add various herbs and spices.
For instance simmer in apple juice and add some curry spices and diced onions.
Or, simmer in orange juice and add some poultry seasoning such as sage, rosemary and thyme with diced onions.
Or lemon juice and garlic and dill weed.
Cook until chicken is done. Let the juices reduce until they become a sauce. Place portions in freezer bags. Reheat in microwave and serve over rice.
Hard for me to answer this. A lot of what I cook could be frozen.
Tell us what you like, Bella, and some of us will know how it does in the freezer.
Another cook-ahead idea I do for batch cooking is sweet and sour pork.
I buy a large value pack of boneless pork chops, dice them into 1 inch cubes and place them on a lightly oiled sheet pan and sprinkle with garlic, salt and pepper. Place pan in a 375 oven for about 30 minutes until pork is browned and cooked through.
In the meantime, slice on a diagonal the following veggies. Amounts are up to you. I usually fill two more sheet pans with them.
Sliced onions, sliced bell peppers, sliced celery, sliced carrots, sliced mushooms. I put the onions, peppers and mushrooms on one pan and all the other veggies in the other pan. Season with salt and pepper and place in same 375 oven for about 20 minutes
When the pork is done, the pans of veggies go into the oven. Chill the pork in refrigerator in the meantime.
While veggies are cooking, either make a sweet and sour sauce or open a can and it heat it in a large pot. Place cooked pork and veggies into the pot and let simmer another 10 minutes.
Place portions in storage containers and freeze. Reheat in microwave and serve over rice.
All the work is in the prep for the veggies and that can be done in small batches as you find time throughout the day.
What you might want to check into is a slow cooker and take a look at Jespah's thread for crockpot recipes.
If you really want to make it easy, several brands now have frozen crockpot meals in a bag. All you do is put all the ingredients in the cooker, add some water and the bag of sauce and it takes care of the cooking for you.
Marie Callanders and Banquet are two brands that I've used. I like the Banquet ones better than the MC ones. And of the 8 versions available, I like the pork and beef stews the best. Stay away from the ones with noodles such as the chicken and dumplings. Yucko.
I usually add more frozen veggies to the pot than what comes in the bag. I'll have the stew as is for a meal then mix in some cooked rice or pasta and portion it into storage containers for the freezer.
uh oh....she's in cooking/freezing mode....
any time now.
Hamburgers freeze and reheat quite well, but that's beef. You can also make up a batch of peanut butter on Vienna rolls. They thaw out really well.
Okay, I'm sure you were looking for something more sophisticated. I gave you what I got.
Salad don't freeze well, I'd put some anti-freeze in there.
Thought of a couple more things you can do for those days that it is just too hot to cook. Take one of those pre-cooked chicken breasts you put in the freezer, stick it in the microwave long enough to thaw. Then, use it to make chicken salad sandwiches.
Do the same with ham. Cut up chunks of a cooked ham and put them in the freezer. As needed, pull them out, thaw in the microwave and make deviled ham or just plain ol' ham sandwiches, or cut up into chunks to add to a Denver omelet or potatoes O'brien. I wait for the after-holiday sales of large hams and save a lot of money that way.
You'll need a bunch of baggies for this, but it's worth it.
1) Barbecue or roast boneless chicken (only use a little salt and nothing else for seasoning), then cut into strips. Separate into portions and place into individual baggies (sandwich size should be just fine for you and Mr. Dea). Place all of the small baggies of chicken into a larger (gallon-size is good) freezer bag (freezer bags are thicker than regular) and label it Chicken. Toss into freezer. These can be used for nearly anything and the double-bagging helps prevent freezer burn. Plus, using the individual baggies means you never defrost more than you need.
2) Cut up peppers into strips and toss those into individual baggies, too, and then into a gallon-size freezer bag. The peppers do not need to be cooked first. Same thing, label the bag and toss in the freezer.
3) Onions will also work but I'd recommend an extra layer of baggie as otherwise you'll end up with an aroma in your freezer. Vidalia onions are available now so you may want to stock up. I cook them first, usually on a grill and then cut into strips or rings.
Other veggies generally do not freeze as well, so it pays to buy frozen and let someone else have the headache.
A few pantry items I always keep on hand, in addition to the above:
1) Frozen corn
3) Mixed frozen vegetables (I keep the corn separate for a reason, see below)
4) Egg beaters (we watch our cholesterol), but eggs are fine if you eat them
5) Powdered milk or powdered buttermilk
7) Pasta, any variety, including ramen
8) Spices include chipotle chili powder, garlic powder, kosher salt, pepper in a grinder, basil, oregano, rosemary. RP objects very strongly to ginger but if he did not, I would keep it around.
9) Lemon juice and lime juice -- there is a brand, I've forgotten the name, sorry, of little powdered individual servings. They're fabulous and keep forever.
10) Low sodium chicken broth
11) Potatoes and rice
12) Tomato sauce
13) Various shredded cheeses and grated parmesan
14) Olive oil
15) Peanut butter
16) Pizza shells
17) Sliced mushrooms (I just buy them sliced. They cost slightly more but I like the convenience. However, sometimes you want whole ones, so plan accordingly)
19) Margarine (substitute butter if you prefer it)
20) Canned beans (vegetarian, low salt if available)
21) Plain bread crumbs
Plus milk and bread, and salad fixings that sort of thing.
Now, here's what you can make with all of that. All of these should be served with a salad.
Pile tortillas with chopped scallions, canned beans, chopped tomatoes (from your salad fixings), chicken strips, frozen corn and shredded cheeses (assorted). Add lime juice and chipotle chili powder to taste. Bake in oven or toaster oven, or nuke if it's really hot in the kitchen.
Cook whatever pasta you like. In a separate saucepan, or in the microwave, cook mixed vegetables, combined with tomato sauce and pepper and onion strips and garlic, basil and oregano. Combine and serve.
Cook whatever pasta you like. In a separate saucepan, cover the bottom of the pan with olive oil. Add garlic powder and heat. Add onions (optional), margarine and powdered milk to taste. Toss in shredded cheese or grated parmesan. Combine and serve.
Add sauce to top of pizza shell, spreading with the back of a soup spoon. Add sliced mushrooms, pepper and onion strips and chicken if you like. Top with cheese. Bake and serve.
Cook ramen according to package directions but add mixed vegetables. In the serving bowl, combine peanut butter, garlic, ginger and a little cracked pepper. Mix together and toss ramen-vegetable mixture in.
Stir-fry frozen vegetables in olive oil with garlic and ginger and some cracked pepper. Add onion and pepper strips and chicken or eggs if you like. Serve over rice.
Bake potatoes in microwave or oven. Split tops and add onions, cheese and chicken. Put under broiler to finish.
Improvisational American #2
Good for when it's really hot out. If you have whole mushrooms instead of sliced, break off the stems and set aside. Cook the caps in chicken broth in microwave (just a little broth is good; set the rest aside). Combine bread crumbs, garlic, broth, buttermilk powder, lemon juice and rosemary. Chop the stems and add them, too. Add chopped scallions if you like. Cook separately (can be nuked); you want the mixture to be moist but not runny. Arrange caps in a baking dish; add bread crumb mixture inside; it should be overflowing and very generous. Add margarine or butter to the top and grated parmesan. Nuke one last time.
Improvisational American #3
Cook tuna in olive oil, garlic and basil. Toss with lemon juice and serve over lightly buttered pasta or rice.
That should hold you for most weeks, with variations so it doesn't get too dull. Obviously you have more on hand than this but these are fast and easy. If you don't want to prepare the chicken, it can be bought cut up and cooked (Perdue makes it). Or you may prefer combining peppers, chicken and onions and freezing them together as they are often used together.
The double-zip freezer bags are well worth the money.
I'd freeze meals in single servings rather than "for two" packages. You'll have at least a month of chaos while you and Baby Bella are agreeing on mutually convenient rules.
Freezing lessens the potency of some spices--but you can re-spice when you thaw and heat.
Every bag in the freezer is another twig on the nest.
uh oh....she's in cooking/freezing mode....
any time now.
Yup, my thoughts exactly ;-)
I wallpapered my sons room with pretty baby wallpaper when I was 8 1/2 months along and as soon as I finished, along came baby
Get that hospital bag close to the door, Bella ;-)
There are so many things I make in advance for freezing, I hardly know where to begin.
I make a great big lasagne, cook it, cool it on the counter, then in the fridge for a while to make it easier to cut.
I cut it into the size pieces I want, put in containers and freeze. I can't deal with the tomatoes anymore, so I make mine with a simple white sauce.
I also use ground turkey and chicken instead of beef a lot of the time. Just for a change and to cut out some fat. I use the whole grain pasta as well.
Soups freeze well, along with stews and chili.
Chicken, beef, turkey pot pies are good too.
Wow, Jespah! You are a varitable buffet of information.
I did the marinating chicken thing...that should be good. Got the lasagna and made some chili this weekend.
Bought some pot pies.
We have some food. Maybe not enought for a month without cooking but at least a week or two.
I just wanted SOMETHING to start with. Especially with hubby's work schedule being as it is this week...if she comes, I'll be on my own the first few days home because he won't be able to get work off and take his vacation til Sunday.
Sounds like you're ready, Bella :-D