Sunday, October 7, 2012

Freezer Pasta


Made this for the freezer in 2 8x8 containers, which were pretty shallow, so put the remaining 3rd in bakeware for lunch. Simple to put together but needs vegetables in it. 
11/13/12 Had this for dinner. Moved from freezer to fridge night before. Noticed was still mostly frozen at 5 pm so left on counter for an hour. Baked suggested time but middle still cold so left in for another 10 min. 
  • 1 box medium sized pasta (about 4 cups, uncooked)
  • 1 lb hot italian sausage (or ground beef)
  • 2 jars pasta sauce (~40 oz)
  • 3/4 c cream cheese spread
  • 1/4 c milk
  • 1/4 c parmesan
  • 1/2 c chopped fresh basil
  • 1.5 c shredded mozzarella
  • Optional: veggies (mushrooms, spinach, zucchini)
  1. Cook pasta to al dente.
  2. Meanwhile, cook sausage. Add pasta sauce. Simmer on medium for 2 min, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.
  3. Drain pasta.
  4. Combine cream cheese spread, milk and Parmesan in a large bowl.
  5. Add pasta and basil. Stir gently until pasta is evenly coated.
  6. Spread half the meat sauce onto bottom of baking dishes. Cover with pasta mixture. Add optional veggies. Top with remaining meat sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella. 
  7. Cover with foil.
  8. (If freezing, then label:) Bake 375F covered for 30 min. Uncover and bake another 10-15 min. 
  9. If frozen, then thaw before baking as directed.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Freezer Meal I

First attempt at freezer meals. Planned ahead for 8 dishes but only got through 5 of them. This was with MP's help - which was massive.

[Chicken Pesto] - didn't make it - simple enough to be able to throw together any time. Would be better to have it for dinner and make a second for the freezer version at the same time.
Teriyaki Chicken * - #2 to complete
Chicken Curry **** - last one to be started - made this for dinner - ran out of coconut milk. Fed 3 people and put remainder in 2 mason jars for the freezer. Increased to 6 thighs and 1 breast.
Beef and Vegetable Soup **- #3 to complete. Accidentally put the onions and garlic in the freezer bag then realized was supposed to cook with the beef.
[Unstuffed Shells] *** - didn't make it - simple enough to throw together tomorrow.
E Fagioli Soup **/NI - started putting everything in the slow cooker and realized it wasn't going to all fit in the 4 qt dish. Not sure how it will turn out without 7 c of beef broth, 20 oz of sauce, nor all the pasta. Feels like this may be the disaster dish
Mongolian Beef - #1 to complete
[Bread Sticks] - didn't start prepping til afternoon, so this didn't get attended to. Would be easier if had 3rd person or started much earlier in the day.

Tomorrow want to do the unstuffed shells, chicken pesto and bread sticks. And maybe salvage the E Fagioli Soup.

Process

- chose dishes
- grocery shopped
- chopped fresh veges
- got out meats
- did freezer bags first, then stove top cooking
MP helped with chopping and cleaning throughout - this was priceless!

Lessons Learned

Good to combine dishes: Teriyaki Chicken, Chicken Curry, Beef + Veg Soup, E Fagioli Soup, Mongolian Beef. Because...

  • limited to 2 meats (chicken and beef)
  • share many chopped items (carrots, onion, garlic, celery).
  • 3 are straight to freezer, 1 is stove top and 1 is slow cooker. 

Chicken Pesto could be combined because it also uses chicken, but I didn't have the pesto ready so couldn't throw it together. The unstuffed shells require boiling pasta and also didn't have time (or make time) for that.

When choosing recipes, I was trying for variety. But realize after better to group by similarity. Today could be the carrot/onion/garlic/celery dishes. Next time could be the pasta/cheese dishes. Another time could be themed with something else. If freezer gets full of 3 types, then when pulling out, there can be variety.

Freezer Chicken Curry


Made this for dinner and kept the leftovers for freezer meals. Day of was *** but leftovers was ****
11/14/12 Had one of the frozen jars for dinner. Moved from freezer to fridge night before. Was still frozen next evening, so left in tub of water for a while (an hour?). Heated on stove top and served with rice. Delicious!
1/16/13 Made this again using 10 thighs, 3 T fresh ginger plus ~1/2 T powdered ginger, 1 giant sweet potato and 2 zucchini - used the spicy east indian curry powder and asoefetida instead of onion - delicious!
8/13/13 Used 6 breasts, 1 giant sweet potato, 3 carrots, 1 home grown zucchini, 2 granny smith apples, no onion, ~10 cl garlic, no sugar and only a dash of salt (to make better for baby to taste). 3.5 c low sodium chicken broth and gold label (thick) coconut milk. Didn't have enough fresh ginger so put in a bit of powdered ginger. Cooked chicken in cast iron pan and the rest in the big one (where in the past the chicken sticks to the bottom of it).
5/27/16 Used 4 breasts, 1 giant sweet potato, 4 carrots, 2 apples, no onion/zuc. Used cumin/coriander/cayenne/pepper/turmeric mixture on chicken and partial Kensington Hot Curry Powder plus all the rest of the Jamaican curry packages. Meant to put in green beans but ran out! All in cast iron wok.
  • 6 chicken thighs + 1 chicken breast, cut into chunks 
  • 3 T flour
  • 1 T curry powder (I used mix of Madras and Jamaican)
  • 4 T ginger, finely chopped
  • 6 cl garlic, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 green apple, chopped (would increase this next time to 2)
  • 3 T curry powder
  • 6+ T flour
  • 1 t sea salt (or none for Baby Led Weaning)
  • 1 T sugar (or none for Baby Led Weaning)
  • 2.5 c chicken broth (low sodium/home made no salt for Baby Led Weaning)
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • Optional: 1 sweet potato, 1 zucchini, carrots: chopped
  1. Combine first 3 ingredients (chicken, flour, curry powder) in a bowl to coat.
  2. Fry lightly in oil for just a few minutes until cooked. Set aside.
  3. Combine garlic, ginger, onion, apple, curry powder, flour, sugar and salt in a frying pan with the optional veggies. Fry on medium heat for ~10 minutes until the ingredients mold together and onions are transparent. 
  4. Add liquids (broth and coconut milk). Stir frequently until heated through and thickened. Add more flour as needed to thicken.
  5. Add the breaded chicken.
  6. Serve over rice.
  7. Let cool and store in mason jars, leaving room for expansion. Freeze. When ready to serve, thaw and reheat, serve over rice.