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Favorite dishes to Freeze (for 2 wks)?

k
Kamembert Mar 9, 2007 05:46 PM

With little time to prepare a great dinner at times on weeknights, rejoice in finding something delectable I had recently made in the freezer. Past faves have been French onion soup (the 4-hr variety); a rich bolognese (also multi-hour); lasagna; stuffed peppers; meatballs; a complex long-cooked down chicken soup; beef stock; pesto when have loads of basil....

Any other favorite dishes that are either too time-consuming for a weekday dinner or ones that are more efficiently prepared in larger portions -- and which freeze well?

  1. l
    lexpatti Apr 1, 2007 06:40 AM

    Pasta Fagioli freezes up really nice, I always add a nice herbed sausage to mine to make it a heartier meal. I love Giada's version but I use the real herbs and leave them in.

    http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recip...

    1. d
      DGresh Apr 1, 2007 03:44 AM

      We are going to my father-in-law's house for Easter; he was recently widowed, and we gather he's not eating much home cooked food since he's never been a cook. We plan to bring lots of containers of home cooked food to put, well-labeled, into his freezer so he can have some better alternatives. So I've gotten some great ideas from these and other threads on the topic-- thanks!

      I've made a big pot of tomato sauce (Marcella's #1 from her Classics book), which I'll use for sauce with meatballs as well as chicken parmesan. I'll also bring some mini-meatloaves with chopped apricots, split pea soup with ham, and butternut squash soup. I've got some very good chicken stock already with which I'll make some chicken soup with carrots as well as mini chicken pot pies.

      Any other obvious things I should add to the list? I don't think ethnic is his favorite-- more standard american favorites. And, believe it or not, he doesn't have a microwave, so everything needs to be reheated on the stove or in the oven.

      5 Replies
      1. re: DGresh
        pikawicca Apr 1, 2007 04:05 AM

        It seems to me that you're trying to address a long-term problem with short-term solutions. Why don't you take some boneless, skinless, butterflied chicken breasts, packed flat and frozen in a freezer bag? Show him how quickly they defrost under cold running water, and how to saute. Teach him to make a good vinaigrette a bake a potato, etc. Sooner or later his freezer full of goodies is gonna run dry, and it would serve him well to have a few basic skills to fall back on. Encourage him to call you with questions when he's cooking; this will help him develop as a cook, and keep him connected with family.

        1. re: pikawicca
          alex8alot Apr 1, 2007 05:38 AM

          well just in case your father-in-law responds to these cooking lessons the way that mind would, with a blank stare and/or the raised eyebrows indicating "is she nuts?", I have a couple of suggestions. Individual portions of beef bourguignon? They freeze really well. Or a simple stew with chicken or beef?

          1. re: pikawicca
            d
            DGresh Apr 1, 2007 05:40 AM

            I understand the point, but I also know the situation at hand, as it is now. Perhaps in the future, cooking classes are in order, but not at the moment given where he is in his grieving process.

            1. re: DGresh
              a
              amyvc Apr 1, 2007 08:24 AM

              Your FIL has lived a long time and is not likely to change now. He's earned that right. I say take turns with other relatives stocking his freezer every so often both with homemade favorites and with Costco stuff. Would your FIL like a mild chili? Here's a link to my favorite from epicurious - you could make it with less or no jalapenos. It would not be very spicy then.

              http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...

              1. re: amyvc
                h
                Hungry Celeste Apr 2, 2007 08:07 AM

                Don't give up on the whole cooking thing...once his initial shock & grief wear off, he'll get hungry. Has he ever watched the Food Network? If he's a TV watcher, he just might get interested in cooking through someone like Paula Deen or Giadia (depending on his taste!) My instant-foods-fanatic widowec MiL, who subsisted for years on frozen Lean Cuisine, recently started cooking again, thanks to the stimulation of TV cooking shows.

        2. t
          tirinstar Mar 18, 2007 07:10 AM

          i like to make a big batch of tomato sauce. i use it for pasta puttanesca and osso bucco.

          i also have a great recipe for moroccan chicken and eggplant that freezes really well too.

          1. DockPotato Mar 18, 2007 06:58 AM

            Tourtiere. It's too much trouble to make just one. Trouble is they never last two weeks.

            1. 4
              4Snisl Mar 17, 2007 09:08 PM

              For dinner tonight, I pulled out one of my favorite freezer dinners- a piece of moussaka (with eggplant and zucchini- no potato). At first, I'd worried about how well the bechamel topping would freeze (since it has milk in it) but it's great so long as it thaws for a few hours in the fridge!

              I also agree with the folks who make frozen dumplings or ravioli- spending about an hour with a batch of dough (or package of wrappers) and a few batches of different fillings can produce diverse yields for future meals, especially for unexpected guests (can go straight from frozen to cooked in no time!)

              1. chef chicklet Mar 17, 2007 07:45 AM

                This is a very good topic, it is such a good idea to save meals and use them later. Not only saves you a ton of energy when you've had a rough day. But to save money by pulling something really tasty and healthy from your own freezer, is very admirable. Believe me with three sons, I know how tempting it is to stop at the fast food places.

                There are breakfast items that you can also freeze for the mornings that the kids or you are running late, a homemade burrito frozen and reheated works so well. And they'll be the envy of all the other kids.

                Morining meal is so important for all of us. My kids always had a frozen burrito, pancake wrap with sausage, or something hot when they left and it was frozen and microwaved. I left when they did,there was time to make breakfast.
                My youngest the entrepreneur, used to forr 2. He later told me would sell the other one for a buck! Seems the burritos were the hit at the bus stop!

                1 Reply
                1. re: chef chicklet
                  c
                  chaussonauxpommes Mar 17, 2007 05:40 PM

                  What a great idea. Breakfast burritos sound like a great way to get some protein in the morning. Once my husband started by Eggos (yuck), I started making homemade whole wheat waffles on the weekend and freezing them. I just don't bake them to quite the crispyness I normally would, and stick them in freezer bags in the freezer. They go strait from freezer to toaster, just like an Eggo would, but without all the over processed ingredients. I love a hearty breakfast, and half a waffle and a couple scrambled eggs with baby spinach is a great start to the day. I'm usually full enough all morning to just eat a small lunch.

                2. ElsieDee Mar 12, 2007 12:10 AM

                  I make a triple or quadruple batch of potato & leek soup, with no dairy added. Puree, cool, and then freeze in quart-sized freezer bags. Thaw and add (and heat):

                  - Fresh or frozen corn, fresh sauteed onions, fresh (or canned) crabmeat, cream
                  - Clams, clam juice, diced sauteed bacon, cream
                  - Shrimp, clam juice, small amount of diced japapeno peppers, cream

                  Thaw but don't reheat and add fresh cream, chives, and a little sour cream

                  I also make individual chicken pot pies (or sometimes just the filling) and various crisps (apple and rhubarb being the favorites).

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: ElsieDee
                    c
                    chaussonauxpommes Mar 14, 2007 07:34 AM

                    I've never tried freezing crisps, but I make them fresh all the time. What a good idea. Does the fruit really stand up to the freezer? Does your rhubarb get watery when it thaws?

                    1. re: chaussonauxpommes
                      ElsieDee Mar 17, 2007 04:58 PM

                      The rhubarb gets a bit watery but I've usually put enough thickener (cornstarch or tapioca) in with the sugar so it's not a big deal.

                      There is a slight change in the fruits consistency once it's been frozen/thawed - usually a bit softer than normal, but I try to balance this with firmer apples and/or not cooking the rhubarb (initially) as long.

                      1. re: ElsieDee
                        c
                        chaussonauxpommes Mar 17, 2007 05:41 PM

                        Thanks so much for the info. I think this is really a wonderful idea. I've made last minute crisps with bags of frozen mixed berries and found them good but quite tart ( I try not to use much sugar), I'm thinking of combining them with frozen peaches next time.

                  2. c
                    chaussonauxpommes Mar 11, 2007 03:48 PM

                    I like to make chicken pot pie in individual ramekins. Put them in the freezer unbaked. They go from freezer to preheating oven and are ready in an hour. A wonderful hearty dinner after a long day.

                    1. pikawicca Mar 11, 2007 02:19 PM

                      Just about any braised dish, as long as it doesn't contain potatoes.

                      1. a
                        amyvc Mar 11, 2007 01:47 PM

                        beef stew, chili, baked ziti w/homemade sauce, brisket - all wonderful to pull out of the freezer on a Tuesday and nuke and eat on a Wednesday with little to no cooking or cleanup!

                        1. m
                          monkfanatic Mar 10, 2007 11:03 PM

                          fried rice is good too, put it in topperwear, heat up in ni time

                          1. m
                            monkfanatic Mar 10, 2007 11:02 PM

                            make dumpling and wonton on weekend, you can freezed it for month, anytime you ready, just boil water, take 5 minute to cook

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: monkfanatic
                              chef chicklet Mar 17, 2007 07:25 AM

                              Great point, done this, and you get perfect tasty won ton soup any time you want.
                              I once brought frozen chicken broth and the ingrediets fow wonton soup to a sick friend, top with slices of bbq pork and chive. She was so greatful!

                            2. chef chicklet Mar 10, 2007 10:58 PM

                              mashed potatoes with spinach, mac and cheese, blackeyed peas and pork roast
                              bolognese and pasta, shu mei, egg rolls, won tons for won ton soup, tamales,

                              1. v
                                valerie Mar 10, 2007 05:25 PM

                                Brisket. By no means complicated, but can't really cook it on a weeknight after work due to the cooking time. When I make it, we eat it one night for dinner, and then I put it in the freezer in small portions. It's a great thing to pull out during the week, particularly for my 2 year old daughter.

                                1. Sam Fujisaka Mar 10, 2007 03:37 PM

                                  White beans with sausage, refried beans, chili, carrot soup, pasta sauces. Have these in my freezer now.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                    h
                                    Hungry Celeste Mar 14, 2007 07:38 AM

                                    Beans, beans, beans. They're far superior & so much cheaper than canned, and they easily become parts of other dishes when you're tired of eating them in their natural state. I almost always have lightly seasoned black beans, NOLA style red beans, and field peas or blackeyed peas hanging around in the freezer.

                                    I also usually have beef stew, sans potatoes & carrots. Reheat and add fresh potatoes and carrots (both cook in just 20 minutes in the broth).

                                  2. q
                                    Querencia Mar 9, 2007 08:43 PM

                                    1) Make a double or triple recipe of meatloaf. Bake some as meatloaf, slice, and freeze dinner-size portions in gravy (canned gravy is fine) for future dinners. Pack the rest of it, raw, into a baking dish and freeze. Later when you make mashed potatoes, make extra. Thaw the raw meatloaf in the baking dish, put the mashed potatoes on top, and bake it = shepherd's pie. 2) Picadillo freezes nicely: Saute ground beef with onion and some green pepper. Add a small can of tomato sauce, raisins, and stuffed olives and season with salt, cumin (essential), and a little hot pepper. Cook a little while. There should be plenty of sauce. Freeze. Eat with rice. 3) Beef or chicken curry: Cook stewing beef (or any lean cut-up beef or cut-up chicken breasts) in crock pot with onions, a little can of tomato sauce, a lot of frozen peas, water, flour, curry powder, garlic, other seasoning to taste. Figure out the water:flour:tomato sauce ratio so there will be plenty of sauce. Freeze. Eat with rice.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Querencia
                                      j
                                      JepJonson Apr 2, 2007 08:34 AM

                                      You can also freeze the raw meatloaf in muffin tins (I like the jumbo-sized). Once frozen, store in freezer bags. Bake on a foil-lined baking sheet and you can have meatloaf in about half an hour with very little clean-up.

                                    2. daily_unadventures Mar 9, 2007 08:25 PM

                                      Split Pea Soup, Bouef Bourgingon, home made perogies or ravioli. I also love a really nice stew-y lamb shank - freeze the shanks and the sauce separately. (http://dailyunadventures.blogspot.com/2007/03/lamb-shanks-with-white-wine-and.html

                                      )

                                      Another great one is chicken pot pie, or a really rich long cooking indian curry.

                                      Katerina
                                      http://dailyunadventures.com

                                      1. ccbweb Mar 9, 2007 07:21 PM

                                        Lasagna is the go to freezer food for us. We love the Cook's Illustrated Spinach Lasagna recipe. When we want something with tomato, I do the same recipe but add a layer of muchrooms cooked down with canned tomatoes.

                                        Enchiladas are also something that we find freeze quite well. Between the two variation on lasagna and two variations on enchiladas (red and green, both with chicken) our freezer is usually pretty well stocked.

                                        I'll also agree with the above mention of Chili. As you noted, a good bolognese also freezes well in my experience and makes for a nice, elegant and easy dish.

                                        Hot turkey sandwich makings (turkey in the gravy, basically) does very nicely, too.

                                        1. ChefJune Mar 9, 2007 06:55 PM

                                          why only for 2 weeks? most of those dishes you named will freeze well for months... not weeks. You don't ever have to be bored!

                                          1. orangewasabi Mar 9, 2007 06:50 PM

                                            chili
                                            tuna casserole (made w/o noodles, like a massive tuna melt)
                                            baked brown rice

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