ISO your favorite freezable food recipes (and ideas)
I just learned that a pregnant friend is restricted to bedrest for the remaining 6 weeks of her term. Since she's the main food preparer in the household, this poses a mildly serious problem. I would like to make several dishes that she and her husband can freeze in individual portions (this is what they prefer) and eat for the next month and a half or more... but as I rarely need to freeze the things I cook, I could really use some help with this. I've already considered classic lasagna and twists on that (like a butternut squash version, pastitsio, moussaka, etc.), but I seem to be stuck past that. Any and all 'Hound input would be greatly appreciated! They're not very adventurous eaters, so the more basic the recipe, the better. Thank you!
This is an easy soup recipe my aunt Sue makes and freezes quite effectively. We used to have it at her house quite frequently because she always had some on hand.
1 whole chicken, cut up
1 can cream of mushroom soup (or equivalent sauce)
Chicken bouillon (if needed)
1 1/2 c. uncooked rice
1-lb. bag frozen mixed vegetables
Salt & pepper to taste
Boil chicken in stew pot; remove from broth. Add bouillon if needed, if broth is not very tasty. Stir in mushroom soup, then rice; cook for a few minutes. Add vegetables and season to taste.
Remove chicken from bones and return to pot. Cook until vegetables are tender and rice is done.
All that needs to be done to frozen soup is to reheat and add water or broth if it's too thick (which it often is). You can reheat on the stove or in the microwave, for a very quick and very tasty meal.
At Sue's house we always had it with those little oyster crackers.
Things I freeze all the time:
-chili made with ground turkey & kidney beans
-soups (anything without dairy in it)
-stews (I make mostly vegetarian, sometimes with chicken)
-Coq au vin
-chana dal (indian chick peas)
Basically, I find that anything without dairy or potatoes freezes well. You should be able to find recipes for most of this in a standard cookbook. I use the New Good Housekeeping Cookbook (except for the chana dal, that's Madhur Jaffrey!)
Check out this wonderful cookbook for ideas to help keep your friend well-fed. BTW that's a real "mitvah" (good deed).
The Pregnancy Cookbook, by Hope Ricciotti. It's been recently revised but I still use the original long after the babies are in school. My fav is the recipe for fruited soda bread, which freezes beautifully.
Meatballs, vegetable soup, and stuffed baked potatoes are great to freeze.
I second the meatballs idea -- my MIL gives me a bag of them every so often, and it's so nice to be able to pull a handful out and throw them into the pot if I'm feeling lazy.
I've also frozen Shepherd's Pie (the kind with ground beef and mashed potatoes on top) and had decent results.
And I've had good luck freezing oven-baked pasta-y casseroles, like lasagna, cavatelli, and oven cacciatore.
I just had some left over beef bourgingon from the freezer tonight and it was just fine. The carrots were a little soft, but still OK. They could just eat with a good loaf of bread if the husband didn't want to make noodles or potatoes. Egg Stratas also freeze well and you can load them up with spinach, etc..good stuff for the preggers. You could also get them some nice cuts of steak and go ahead and marinate and freeze them. They could just throw on the grill if it's nice outside. I was on bedrest for about 3 weeks when I was pregnant and it was miserable. Thankfully, I am lucky to have my mom within walking distance and she really was a blessing.
In addition to those above, red beans, black eyed peas (with or without sausage), and chicken divan freeze well, and when frozen in pint or so sized servings, are easy to pull out (as long as someone can make rice). Any kind of tagine would do well -- I have a couple pints of leftover lamb and preserved lemon tagine that will be excellent for a couple nights when I can barely be bothered to boil water (for cous-cous). Any kind of enchilada casserole will freeze nicely -- I make some mean enchiladas chipotles that aren't the typical cheese-fest. Quiche, either done as your own recipe like the frozen grocery pours or cooked into a crust and refrozen, ought to do okay.
If components would work for the family, I often freeze spinach madeline (a spicy creamed spinach) and a wonderful grated potato casserole that breaks the advice about potatoes and dairy but still is fabulous. Stuffed peppers would also fit the bill and could make a full meal or a component depending on your stuffing. As for meat? I've frozen uncooked meatloaf with success -- perhaps mini meatloaves, or frozen cooked slices? I bet any kind of slow-cooked pork would freeze well -- Cuban pork roast, barbecue, etc.
Hope that helps, and I look forward to seeing more suggestions. It's killing me that I can't think of more vegetable dishes right now, and it would be nice to have a better repertoire of good freezer meals (and advice on what freezes well) for the births, funerals, and life in between.