Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Cooking for the Freezer

In a previous post, I said I did some cooking for the freezer.  I'm going to post links to the recipes here for next time, so that I can easily find them and remember what I thought about them.

Alton Brown's Baked Brown Rice
This is one of the easiest ways I've ever found to cook brown rice. I haven't tried doubling the recipe, but I make 2 or 3 pans at a time.  I don't heat up the water, butter and salt first.  I just use the microwave to melt the butter right in the casserole dish, (or I chop it up, or I substitute olive oil for the butter), and add in very hot tap water, salt and rice. I use a casserole dish with a cover, and bake as directed.  (Keep a bit of a watch on it toward the end, it seems to absorb the water in less time some days.  If I  remember, I add about 1/4 cup more water than the recipe calls for.  I've never had it come out soggy.). Sometimes I substitute a crushed beef or chicken bouillon cube for the salt.  This freezes beautifully in freezer bags, and reheats well in the microwave.

Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes
I sometimes add a little crushed garlic to the water that I cook the potatoes in.  When I thawed these, they had a lot of watery liquid in the bottom of the pan. This might be related to the type of potatoes I used.  I drained this off before baking them.  Despite this, these were very good.

Chicken Burritos
I used fat free refried beans for this recipe.  I tossed some salsa and some chili powder into the filling.  These were soggy when reheated in the microwave, but turned out well in the oven.  I sprayed a baking dish, and baked them at 350 until they were hot. I sprinkled them with additional shredded cheese for the last few minutes.

Chicken Alfredo Calzones
I made these with homemade bread dough,  but it was hard to roll the dough thin enough and I ended up with a lot of bread in relationship to the filling.  Next time I try these, I'm going to try Pilsbury pizza crust, the kind that comes in cans, like biscuits.  We liked these, even though they were a bit heavy in the bread department.  (What's not to like about warm, homemade bread!)

Bacon Wrapped Mini Meatloaves
I liked this concept, but wasn't crazy about this particular recipe. The bacon isn't neccesary, just adds fat and calories, and got soggy when the meatloaves were reheated in the microwave.  Both hubby and I thought the seasonings were "off" for meatloaf.  I'd freeze meatloaf again, but I'd try a different recipe and make little mini loaves for the two of us, rather than cupcakes.  I'm not sure I would pre-bake either.  The whole muffin tin thing, and the bacon was really fiddly and time consuming, and made for a lot of clean up.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole
This was yummy.  I used leftover ham and turkey rather than chicken, since that's what I had, and substituted cream of chicken soup for the evaporated milk and chicken bouillon.  We ate this over the afore-mentioned brown rice, but it would be very good over pasta as well.  If you scroll down to the bottom of the post, there is a link to a printable recipe, which is a lot easier to read than the picture heavy post.

Healthy Banana Blueberry Muffins
I had bananas to use up and a couple of bags of blueberries in the freezer from last summer.  These were okay, a little heavy in my opinion, and definitely best warm.

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