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DarkAnts

Freezer Cooking

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DarkAnts

Dose anyone do freezer cooking? I work second shift so I think this would work well with my schedule. Dose anyone do it? Please share recipes and advice.

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Arete

I cook and freeze portions of thai curries, split pea soup, lentil soup, lasagna, chili, homemade chicken broth (really easy to turn into a nice pot of soup in less than 30 minutes) meatballs, meatloaf, and tomato sauce among other things. If you are interested in any of the recipes, just tell me which on this thread and I will post back here.

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DarkAnts
I cook and freeze portions of thai curries, split pea soup, lentil soup, lasagna, chili, homemade chicken broth (really easy to turn into a nice pot of soup in less than 30 minutes) meatballs, meatloaf, and tomato sauce among other things. If you are interested in any of the recipes, just tell me which on this thread and I will post back here.

Thai Curry, meatballs and lasagna please. I have good recipes for split pea soup, lentil soup, chili and chicken broth. I do freeze soups because its hard to make a small pot.

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wtylcf

I just wanted to mention something I've found out during my research into GI irritants: re-heated starches like rice, pasta and potatoes can cause gas and bloating, because the starches change to resistant starches during re-heating. As someone who has relied on dinner leftovers to feed myself lunch for years and years, and who loves to make a freezer portion of meals for the times when I'm too lazy or busy to cook dinner, this gives me a giant sadface. It's making me majorly re-evaluate the way I think about leftovers. So, because I suffer from IBS and have issues with gas and bloating, I'm going to try the following:

-freezing/refrigerating sauces separately from starches (re-heated sauces alone should cause no problems)

-making uncooked pre-assembled frozen pizzas for the freezer

-making just enough rice so I don't have leftovers

-trying to rely on pre-made salads more than re-heated starches when I eat lunch away from home, or (gasp) making a sandwich instead of re-heating food

It's a trying logistical problem to solve in many situations that involve taking a lunch - for example, how on earth do you make fresh rice at work if you're having some sort of curry leftover, if you don't have cooking equipment beyond a microwave? Therefore, I'm not planning on being super stringent about this issue, but will keep it in mind as a possible cause of irritation if I start to feel bad after a lunch of reheated leftovers.

If you have issues with GI irritation, it's something to consider - I'd never even heard about this phenomenon until last week, so I thought it was worth mentioning.

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wtylcf

Oh yeah, if you want a nice basic pizza recipe for freezing, I've got one! I usually make a huge batch of dough and if I'm cooking for just 2, will freeze half the dough before rising. Then the next time we make pizza, I let it the frozen dough thaw all day in the fridge on pizza day, and it's ready to go by the evening. I would like to try actually assembling into pizzas before freezing, which should work in principle, but I won't be able to give any cook time recommendations for the frozen pizza before I figure it out for myself :). I have a time-tested wheat recipe with optional 00 flour usage, and a new gluten-free crust I've been working on that is not quite perfected yet, but is decent. Let me know if you're interested.

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DarkAnts
I just wanted to mention something I've found out during my research into GI irritants: re-heated starches like rice, pasta and potatoes can cause gas and bloating, because the starches change to resistant starches during re-heating. As someone who has relied on dinner leftovers to feed myself lunch for years and years, and who loves to make a freezer portion of meals for the times when I'm too lazy or busy to cook dinner, this gives me a giant sadface. It's making me majorly re-evaluate the way I think about leftovers. So, because I suffer from IBS and have issues with gas and bloating, I'm going to try the following:

-freezing/refrigerating sauces separately from starches (re-heated sauces alone should cause no problems)

-making uncooked pre-assembled frozen pizzas for the freezer

-making just enough rice so I don't have leftovers

-trying to rely on pre-made salads more than re-heated starches when I eat lunch away from home, or (gasp) making a sandwich instead of re-heating food

It's a trying logistical problem to solve in many situations that involve taking a lunch - for example, how on earth do you make fresh rice at work if you're having some sort of curry leftover, if you don't have cooking equipment beyond a microwave? Therefore, I'm not planning on being super stringent about this issue, but will keep it in mind as a possible cause of irritation if I start to feel bad after a lunch of reheated leftovers.

If you have issues with GI irritation, it's something to consider - I'd never even heard about this phenomenon until last week, so I thought it was worth mentioning.

Thank you for the info on reheated starches. My plan is to do meal prepping then freeze. Cook the items right before I eat them. It can also be called meal assembly.

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Chavymishmacoy

I my expierence most recipes I tried just did not taste good after freezing. My compromise is to freeze things prepped. Like I will buy large portions of ground beef and mix up meatballs and freeze it raw. That way all I have to do is thaw and form the balls and bake them. One of our new faveorits is "Armenian Pizza" which is a seasoned ground beef mixture spread on flour tortillias, and baked. We top them with a chopped salad. awesome. If your interested I will post the recipe. I freeze the meat mixture raw. I also freeze chicken in marinade so I just thaw and cook, and serve with already prepped vegies. I hear mashed potatoes freeze well (apparently not good for GI problems.) I also freeze portions of cooked whole grains like faro, and quinoa so I can toss it with veggies, or whatever floats my boat.

One thing I think freezes well cooked is barbacoa beef or chicken for tacos or my own Chipoltle style bowls.

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Arete

Thai Curry, meatballs and lasagna please. I have good recipes for split pea soup, lentil soup, chili and chicken broth. I do freeze soups because its hard to make a small pot.

MEATBALLS

1 pound ground beef

1 medium onion, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, finely mince

1 egg. lightly beaten

1 slice white bread, soak in a little milk, squeeze out the milk before adding to rest of ingredients

1/4 cup fresh chopped mint, parsley, or basil, or a combination; or a total of 2 Tablespoons dried mint or basil (don't bother with dried parsley)

1 Teaspoon dried oregano

1/3 Cup romano cheese

salt and pepper (start with about a 1/2 teaspoon pepper)

Mix all the ingredients together. Form into balls. Place on a lined baking sheet and put in a 350 degree oven until cooked. (Start checking after 45 minutes). Cool the meatballs and freeze in freezer bags. Recipe can be doubled.

LASAGNA

make the meat sauce on a separate day. Freeze in one pound allotments, when you are ready to make lasagna, defrost one pound of the meat sauce and continue to make lasagna.

Start by making meat sauce (Bolognese)

1 large onion-diced

2 medium carrots-diced

2 medium stalks of celery-diced

5 cloves garlic, finely minced

2 pounds ground beef

1.5 cups red or white wine

1.5 cups milk

2 (28 ounce cans) crushed tomatoes or whole tomatoes you crushed yourself

1-2 bay leaves

Heat 2 Tbs olive oil in a pan. Add in onion, carrot, and celery and stir until all the veggies become golden. Add garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, a few turns of the pepper mill at this point and stir another minute. Add meat and brown. Add about a cup of milk, turn down heat and cook until meat has absorbed the milk. Next add wine and cook until meat has absorbed all the wine. Add the tomatoes and about a cup of water, bring to boil and then turn down to simmer. Gentle simmer uncovered for about 4 hours. I swear by every good and perfect thing from above, this effort is worth it. Periodically check to make sure it is not running out of water. If it is, add. In the last 1/2 hour of cooking make sure all the water is absorbed. Cool. Divide the sauce in 2. 1 pound gets frozen in a freezer bag for either spaghetti and meat sauce at a later date or another lasagna. The other pound goes to the lasagna you are going to make.

1 pound meat sauce (what you have made is Bolognese sauce)

Make Bechamel Sauce For Lasagna

1/2 cup Butter

1/2 cup Flour

4 cups milk

a few grates of nutmeg

Make a béchamel sauce. Heat butter and flour together in a saucepan until a "roux" a paste forms. Cook the paste for a few minutes stirring constantly but do not allow it to brown. Change to wisk and begin wisking the milk in a little at a time, letting in incorporate into the roux each time. Once all the milk is added, keep stirring until your sauce begins to thicken. It should coat the back of a spoon. Here is a youtube to show you the visuals of what the roux and finished sauce look like

. Use the proportions of butter/flour/milk I listed in the recipe. Once sauce is thickened, add a few grates of nutmeg (about a 1/4 teaspoon, doesn't have to be exact, the romano cheese and salt and pepper.

Assemble the Lasagna

no boil lasagna noodles

meat sauce (recipe above)

béchamel sauce (recipe above)

Smear about 2 Tablespoons of meat sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 baking pan (fat in it prevents sticking). Add the no boil noodles in one layer.(you need about 3 no boil noodles per layer if you are using Barilla brand. Don't worry that the noodles leave gaps between themselves, they will expand and fill the gap as the lasagna bakes) Top with 1 cup meatsauce layer. Top the meatsauce layer with 1/2 cup of béchamel, don't worry that it doesn't obscure the meat sauce layer. Sprinkle 1-2 Tablespoons of Romano or Parmesan cheese on top of the béchamel layer.Repeat starting with the noodles again, make as many layers as your sauces will allow and end with layer of noodles. Cover top layer of noodles with béchamel, being careful to cover all edges. Sprinkle 2 Tbs of Romano or Parmesan cheese on top. Put in preheated 400 degree oven until the top is golden, usually a little over an hour. Take out lasagna, cool, cut, freeze by individual or family portion size.

Cheat-If you have a meat sauce recipe of your own that is less time, go ahead and use it. Just make it in 2 pound batches because them you will have for a lasagna one day, and spaghetti and meat sauce on another day.

THAI CURRY

can or jar of red or green thai curry

coconut milk

thai fish sauce

brown sugar (optional)

2 pounds of meat, recommend thinly sliced chicken, beef, or pork for fastest cooking, chuck or shank is also excellent but you are going to have to spend time simmering till tender

Open the can of coconut milk. I recommend Chaokah or AROY-D brands. If you can't find those, get an organic coconut milk because those tend not to have preservatives. Guar gum is NOT your friend. There is a big difference in the final taste of the curry if the coconut milk used had guar gum/carrageen or not. So, open the can and scoop out the full fat "head" of the milk, put it in a hot pan. Add the amount of curry paste you like and allow the curry paste to "fry" in the coconut fat until you see some separation in the mixture. This is actually good! At this point add your sliced chicken, or thinly sliced beef, or thinly sliced pork and cook until done. If you decide you want to use something like cubed chuck that does not cook quickly, add the cubed chuck and add water to the pan until the meat is just covered. Simmer until tender. When your protein is cooked, adjust taste with 1 Tablespoon fish sauce and a teaspoon of brown sugar. If you feel it needs more fish sauce (this is your "salt" for the dish, add it a teaspoon at a time until you get the taste you want) allow mixture to cool. At this point open up your bag of frozen Asian mix vegetables (or any other frozen veggies you might prefer to use), and dump them in the pan. DO NOT HEAT. Just mix the veggies with the meat and freeze. On dinner day, warm the curry and serve over rice.

Here is a link to coconut milks without preservatives if you can't get them at your stores:

http://importfood.com/cfch1301.html

While Taste of Thai makes fairly good curry pastes and they tend to be available in regular supermarkets, if you decide to branch out I recommend the Maesri brand that is also available on importfood.com

I have been having frozen lasagna and meatballs since childhood, and I have never had a problem with taste. No way would I still be doing it if I did. The thai curry I picked up in adulthood. There are a few things you do not want to freeze cooked, and potatoes and summer/winter squash top the list. They will disintegrate upon thawing and reheating. Mush. Yuck.

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DarkAnts
I my expierence most recipes I tried just did not taste good after freezing. My compromise is to freeze things prepped. Like I will buy large portions of ground beef and mix up meatballs and freeze it raw. That way all I have to do is thaw and form the balls and bake them. One of our new faveorits is "Armenian Pizza" which is a seasoned ground beef mixture spread on flour tortillias, and baked. We top them with a chopped salad. awesome. If your interested I will post the recipe. I freeze the meat mixture raw. I also freeze chicken in marinade so I just thaw and cook, and serve with already prepped vegies. I hear mashed potatoes freeze well (apparently not good for GI problems.) I also freeze portions of cooked whole grains like faro, and quinoa so I can toss it with veggies, or whatever floats my boat.

One thing I think freezes well cooked is barbacoa beef or chicken for tacos or my own Chipoltle style bowls.

My plan is to prep raw items to cook once thawed. It seems like it will make my life easier if I dont have to prep stuff after I get home. I am going to do my first test this weekend.

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bookiewookie

I recently discovered that avocados freeze well (not sure about if you freeze the whole thing unpeeled, but it certainly works if the avocados are peeled, pitted, and cut into chunks. I made up a bunch of burrito-style wraps (enough for a week) and wrapped them individually in tinfoil and then put them in a plastic bag and froze them. Each morning, I took one out for lunch and by the time lunchtime rolled around, it had defrosted. I know it sounds weird, but it saved me so much time instead of having to stumble around making lunch at 6am. It works with pretty much anything that can be frozen, though I doubt the method would be very successful with vegetables that don't freeze well.

Otherwise, soups, stews, and curries are all really good for freezer cooking. Oh, and mac and cheese and certain types of casserole-y dishes.

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OkToBeTakei
These are more of a breakfast-type freezer thing, but they're tasty. I use biscuits instead of English muffins and turkey bacon instead of regular. Sharp cheddar or pepper jack are our cheeses of choice.

http://www.skinnymomskitchen.com/2011/0 ... se-recipe/

That is a very weird looking English muffin.

How does the egg taste after being frozen? Honestly never thought to do this. Clever though.

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OkToBeTakei

MEATBALLS

1 pound ground beef

1 medium onion, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, finely mince

1 egg. lightly beaten

1 slice white bread, soak in a little milk, squeeze out the milk before adding to rest of ingredients

1/4 cup fresh chopped mint, parsley, or basil, or a combination; or a total of 2 Tablespoons dried mint or basil (don't bother with dried parsley)

1 Teaspoon dried oregano

1/3 Cup romano cheese

salt and pepper (start with about a 1/2 teaspoon pepper)

Mix all the ingredients together. Form into balls. Place on a lined baking sheet and put in a 350 degree oven until cooked. (Start checking after 45 minutes). Cool the meatballs and freeze in freezer bags. Recipe can be doubled.

LASAGNA

make the meat sauce on a separate day. Freeze in one pound allotments, when you are ready to make lasagna, defrost one pound of the meat sauce and continue to make lasagna.

Start by making meat sauce (Bolognese)

1 large onion-diced

2 medium carrots-diced

2 medium stalks of celery-diced

5 cloves garlic, finely minced

2 pounds ground beef

1.5 cups red or white wine

1.5 cups milk

2 (28 ounce cans) crushed tomatoes or whole tomatoes you crushed yourself

1-2 bay leaves

Heat 2 Tbs olive oil in a pan. Add in onion, carrot, and celery and stir until all the veggies become golden. Add garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, a few turns of the pepper mill at this point and stir another minute. Add meat and brown. Add about a cup of milk, turn down heat and cook until meat has absorbed the milk. Next add wine and cook until meat has absorbed all the wine. Add the tomatoes and about a cup of water, bring to boil and then turn down to simmer. Gentle simmer uncovered for about 4 hours. I swear by every good and perfect thing from above, this effort is worth it. Periodically check to make sure it is not running out of water. If it is, add. In the last 1/2 hour of cooking make sure all the water is absorbed. Cool. Divide the sauce in 2. 1 pound gets frozen in a freezer bag for either spaghetti and meat sauce at a later date or another lasagna. The other pound goes to the lasagna you are going to make.

1 pound meat sauce (what you have made is Bolognese sauce)

Make Bechamel Sauce For Lasagna

1/2 cup Butter

1/2 cup Flour

4 cups milk

a few grates of nutmeg

Make a béchamel sauce. Heat butter and flour together in a saucepan until a "roux" a paste forms. Cook the paste for a few minutes stirring constantly but do not allow it to brown. Change to wisk and begin wisking the milk in a little at a time, letting in incorporate into the roux each time. Once all the milk is added, keep stirring until your sauce begins to thicken. It should coat the back of a spoon. Here is a youtube to show you the visuals of what the roux and finished sauce look like

. Use the proportions of butter/flour/milk I listed in the recipe. Once sauce is thickened, add a few grates of nutmeg (about a 1/4 teaspoon, doesn't have to be exact, the romano cheese and salt and pepper.

Assemble the Lasagna

no boil lasagna noodles

meat sauce (recipe above)

béchamel sauce (recipe above)

Smear about 2 Tablespoons of meat sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 baking pan (fat in it prevents sticking). Add the no boil noodles in one layer.(you need about 3 no boil noodles per layer if you are using Barilla brand. Don't worry that the noodles leave gaps between themselves, they will expand and fill the gap as the lasagna bakes) Top with 1 cup meatsauce layer. Top the meatsauce layer with 1/2 cup of béchamel, don't worry that it doesn't obscure the meat sauce layer. Sprinkle 1-2 Tablespoons of Romano or Parmesan cheese on top of the béchamel layer.Repeat starting with the noodles again, make as many layers as your sauces will allow and end with layer of noodles. Cover top layer of noodles with béchamel, being careful to cover all edges. Sprinkle 2 Tbs of Romano or Parmesan cheese on top. Put in preheated 400 degree oven until the top is golden, usually a little over an hour. Take out lasagna, cool, cut, freeze by individual or family portion size.

Cheat-If you have a meat sauce recipe of your own that is less time, go ahead and use it. Just make it in 2 pound batches because them you will have for a lasagna one day, and spaghetti and meat sauce on another day.

THAI CURRY

can or jar of red or green thai curry

coconut milk

thai fish sauce

brown sugar (optional)

2 pounds of meat, recommend thinly sliced chicken, beef, or pork for fastest cooking, chuck or shank is also excellent but you are going to have to spend time simmering till tender

Open the can of coconut milk. I recommend Chaokah or AROY-D brands. If you can't find those, get an organic coconut milk because those tend not to have preservatives. Guar gum is NOT your friend. There is a big difference in the final taste of the curry if the coconut milk used had guar gum/carrageen or not. So, open the can and scoop out the full fat "head" of the milk, put it in a hot pan. Add the amount of curry paste you like and allow the curry paste to "fry" in the coconut fat until you see some separation in the mixture. This is actually good! At this point add your sliced chicken, or thinly sliced beef, or thinly sliced pork and cook until done. If you decide you want to use something like cubed chuck that does not cook quickly, add the cubed chuck and add water to the pan until the meat is just covered. Simmer until tender. When your protein is cooked, adjust taste with 1 Tablespoon fish sauce and a teaspoon of brown sugar. If you feel it needs more fish sauce (this is your "salt" for the dish, add it a teaspoon at a time until you get the taste you want) allow mixture to cool. At this point open up your bag of frozen Asian mix vegetables (or any other frozen veggies you might prefer to use), and dump them in the pan. DO NOT HEAT. Just mix the veggies with the meat and freeze. On dinner day, warm the curry and serve over rice.

Here is a link to coconut milks without preservatives if you can't get them at your stores:

http://importfood.com/cfch1301.html

While Taste of Thai makes fairly good curry pastes and they tend to be available in regular supermarkets, if you decide to branch out I recommend the Maesri brand that is also available on importfood.com

I have been having frozen lasagna and meatballs since childhood, and I have never had a problem with taste. No way would I still be doing it if I did. The thai curry I picked up in adulthood. There are a few things you do not want to freeze cooked, and potatoes and summer/winter squash top the list. They will disintegrate upon thawing and reheating. Mush. Yuck.

Same here. Never had a problem with freezing the above. Your lasagne recipe is very different to mine. But I am going to try yours :D

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thekate

That is a very weird looking English muffin.

How does the egg taste after being frozen? Honestly never thought to do this. Clever though.

This is what is called an English muffin in the US. http://www.thomasbagels.com/Our-Product ... fault.aspx Is it something different over there?

The egg tastes fine. It's obviously not the same as making them fresh, but pretty good for mornings that run late. I cook them over medium and they stand up to the microwave pretty well that way.

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