Saturday, November 26, 2016

More cooking for the freezer

I am amazed at how great it is to have some ready to cook meals in the freezer. I wish I had tried this a lot sooner.

A few weeks ago DD and I spent a day making freezer meals again. The recipes were a bit more time consuming and we weren't quite as organized so it took us quite a bit longer than last time, probably around 4 hours. However, we each got around a dozen meals so it was time well spent.

Here are some of the recipes that we made this time:

Chicken Pot Pie

We added a jar of a turkey gravy to this recipe because it seemed a bit dry. We made family size pot pies, rather than individual ones. DD felt that this recipe needed a bit more seasoning, and she would add a bottom crust next time. I left out the peas and substituted corn and green beans instead. DD used frozen mixed vegetables. We didn't use the celery. Andy and I thought this was very good.  When I baked this, I thawed it in the refrigerator for about 18 hours. It was still a bit frozen when I baked it. I baked it covered for 30 minutes and then uncovered for 30 minutes.

Beef Stew

I made one recipe of this. I was a bit dubious about freezing raw potatoes, so I baked them a bit first. (The recipe suggested this if one was uncertain about freezing raw potatoes.). They were still pretty solid when I added them to the freezer bag, but they totally disintegrated between freezing and cooking. This didn't taste awful, but it wasn't all that flavorful either. I'm not sure if I would try this recipe again.  If I did, I'd try freezing the potatoes raw.

Creamy Italian Chicken

This is a different recipe from the one we made last time and we haven't tried it yet.  I plan to serve this over pasta.

Pizza Casserole

We made this mainly to see how pasta would fare in the freezer. This is essentially pasta with ground beef, canned spagghetti sauce and cheese.  Nothing special here. However this is very kid friendly, and it certainly could easily be fancied up a bit with a few added pizza topping type of ingredients.  We cooked the pasta al dente, and immediately rinsed it with cold water to prevent further cooking.   We found it to be pretty mushy after freezing and baking despite that. It tasted okay though. A bit more seasoning could be added. If we made another pasta dish, we would cook the pasta for a shorter time before assembling the casserole.

Shepherd's Pie

We added about 3/4 cup of tomato sauce and a tbsp or so of Worcestershire sauce to a double recipe, and we used less water, about 2 cups total.  Initially I was concerned that this would be salty, given the brown gravy mix and the condensed soup in it, and using less water, but the meat and gravy mixture was quite bland. DD used frozen mixed vegetables and I used corn and carrots. Both DD's  family and Andy and I liked this. Both DD and I agree that we would season it more next time.  We would also add more tomato sauce or some tomato paste.

We repeated the Chicken Cordon Bleu CasseroleCowboy Casserole, and Alton Brown's baked brown rice.  This time we used frozen french fries rather than tater tots in the cowboy casserole. I put the meat mixture in the bottom of the casserole and topped my meat with slices of American cheese. DD put potatoes both under and over the meat, as she is feeding a houseful of growing boys. She used shredded cheddar cheese in her casserole.

Dd also made some sloppy joes for each of us, but she didn't use a recipe.

This website, Fabulessly Frugal, has a lot of great sounding freezer recipes. We tried a few of them this time, and there are more that I'd like to try. This link takes you to the freezer recipe list. If you are looking for recipes to freeze, this is an excellent resource.