your best meals that freeze well?!?
I cooked scalloped potatoes two weeks ago and was excited to take them out of the freezer and eat them with my pork roast, but they reheated soooo poorly! I'm looking for good recipes that are freezer friendly. I'm interested in all kinds of food so please don't hold back....thanks!
Typically, a number of dairy-heavy dishes have to be very carefully reheated, to avoid curdling. Potatoes and certain vegetables can get mushier because the water in them crystalize and grow in volume by about 10% and damage the cell structure.
Also, the microwave is often poorly employed to reheat things; never use more than 50% power.
Many things should instead be reheated gently in the oven (covered, in the right size dish) or on the stove; some benefit from reheating over a double boiler to reduce the effect of direct heat.
Generally, I find many soups, especially those without flesh other than certain fatty sausages, to be perfect bases for freezubg and reheating. Reheat over medium-low heat on the stove. When done, you can pour over cooked shredded chicken or other meat to warm the meat through (much better than re-cooking the meat!). Stews are OK to freeze and reheat if they are not overrich in milk and the meats in them are not too lean.
In terms of meat, fattier meats (Meatloaf, for example) reheat better than lean ones, which definitely need indirect treatment.
re: Karl S
Yes, I do understand this as I have curdled scalloped potatoes during the cooking process before even getting to the freezer. My potatoes lost any sort of texture, the sauce actually held up fine because I reheated them in the oven. Maybe I'll use different potatoes. Do you have any fool proof freezer recipes?
Here's a list of cooked food in my freezer right now:
Red sauce w/meatballs (cook the pasta when you want to eat it)
Gumbo (chicken/andouille freezes esp well)
Chili (red w/black beans, green w/turkey & white beans)
Black bean soup (most bean dishes freeze well)
Creamy red beans (for rb&rice)
I don't do a tremendous amount of frozen, cooked meals; I keep things like browned ground beef, ground turkey or pork, sausages, and other meats like burgers as well as a bunch of frozen veggies...meal ingredients rather than whole cooked meals.
I'm not offering a list of what freezes well, but rather what doesn't:
--potatoes (as you now know)
--cooked carrots & other firm/crisp, high-water content veggies
--cream soups and other milk-based dishes
My freezer is too full of cr*p to really freeze meals. But, I usually have a lot of zip lock baggies of homemade pesto. If I'm really on the ball, one zip lock baggie will be enough pesto for 1 lb. of pasta. I sometimes have leftover lasagna in the freezer, although that is a rarity. It takes up too much space.
After thanksgiving, I usually have frozen turkey day dinner in a pie. In a pie plate, I use phyllo dough as the base. Then I put in a layer of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and veggies. Basically whatever is leftover. I cover with more phyllo dough. I also have a separate container of gravy. When I am ready to eat turkey again (usually sometime in January), I'll stick the pie in the oven, defrost my gravy and voila, instant dinner. It always tastes great.
When I go the market and buy hamburger I usually whip up a meatloaf when I seperate the rest into individual bags.