My Frozen Pantry - Ideas?
I keep my freezer stocked with good-to-go individualised portions of different things, for those nights when I get home and don't feel like long prep, and I want to shake things up a bit, and am looking for suggestions. I've got things like beef stew, lamb stew, braised lamb shanks, chicken curry, braised pork hocks (Alsatian style), raw chicken pieces frozen in marinade (for Mumbai grilled chicken), chicken braised in white wine with capers/tomato/olives, braised pork shoulder with figs, meat balls in tomato sauce, borsht, and chicken soup. As you can see, it's a good variety, BUT, I'm looking for inspiration, something new, different, and freezer-friendly. Any cuisine is fair game. Thanks, hounds.
Any interest in vegetarian items? Many of my soup recipes, as well as my channa masala, pad thai etc...freeze very well. Right now in my freezer i have individual quantities of a pretty good vegetarian chili (all bean etc, no tofu stuff), a carrot cashew soup etc....but last week the chana and the pad thai were also up there. I've frozen roasted red pepper soups, dhal, a lentil and walnut salad, bulgur pilaf etc....Lasagna freezes well when i don't bring the leftovers into work .
I tend to make a lot of soups and such this time of year. When i freeze them, i put the quantity in a small-medium ziploc back, get all the air out of them, and stack them on top of each other, flattened, in the freezer. It takes up such a small amount of room this way.
Channa masala... nice one, thank you. As you can see from my current inventory, I do eat meat, but I don't have to have it every day. I accidentally have vegetarian days. Anyway, I was wondering, but you seem to have answered my question... I gather that chickpeas, lentils, etc. hold teir form and texture after being defrosted.
Moussaka freezes just fine. Have some in my freszer right now. When I make tyropita and/or spanikopita, I also make some extra and freeze them unbaked. They're *always* better fresh baked. Same with baklava. And while I'm talking Greek, avgolemono also freezes well, but you have to defrrost at room temperature then heat carefully so it doesn't curdle.
Other things in my freezer:
Barbecued beef ribs with a plastic tub of extra sauce
Individual portions of NE clam chowder in those little Glad plastic cups
Some turkey and dressing from Thanksgiving
Mac & cheese, cut in squares when cold and ziplocked individually
I think I have portions of just about everything in my freezer except corn flakes. I just can't seem to cook in small quantities for one or two people.
we do the same thing-so easy and way better than any supermarket frozen food
we have done individual thxgiving dinners, marinated steaks, chicken tagine-style stew with couscous, even rigatoni with butternut squash/sausage/chard sauce (just make sure to undercook pasta)
I also have kept roasted butternut squash purée in the freezer and defrosted to make risotto
Standards are chicken, lentil and pea soups
Specials have been cranberry coffee cake and homemade cherry garcia ice cream!
I keep a variety of sausages on hand. Also frozen vegs. Put Vegetables and sausages into the same pot and simmer until done. Meanwhile be cooking up some starch on the side, and there you are - a no brainer meal.
I like to utilize the full BBQ grill when cooking a meal. So if the day's meal is teriyaki chicken, I'll cook 3 whole birds worth of parts, then freeze the "leftovers". This works well with salmon and ribs as well.
The same goes when making baked potatoes, which are often the only thing in the oven a the time. Instead of two, I bake a dozen. Or throw in some sweet potatoes. Then I split, mash, season and restuff the halves. Wrap individually and freeze on a sheet, then in bags so I can grab one or two for a quick turn in the toaster oven.
Soups are a mainstay. Chicken, split pea and navy bean/hambone. They freeze well and I make a double recipe of cornbread in 2-serving aluminum baking pans that I get at the restaurant supply house. They go directly to freezer when cooled. Then we have cornbread to go with soup!
Yum..all your current dishes sound fantastic. I love to have a stocked up freezer-here's some of what we have now: white chicken chili (although it has a white sauce base, it freezes just fine), navy bean soup, spaghetti sauce, lentil sausage soup, green chicken curry, small loaves of quick bread (orange, zucchini and coconut). I have a fabulous raised waffle recipe that makes thousands, so I freeze those and then pop them into the toaster frozen-they turn out very crisp and wonderful, great for breakfast or dinner. Ditto with blueberry walnut pancakes. Leftover rice. Smoked barbecued meatballs. Oh, and one of our most important-pizza dough and small containers of pizza sauce. We like to make homemade pizza on Friday nights, so either buy the dough for a buck each at the grocery store our make the Cooks Illustrated recipe and freeze the extra.
I also keep things like the Trader Joe's mixed sliced bell peppers, as they are fantastic for recipes-and much cheaper than fresh.
We freeze butternut squash soup. I like to make a big batch and freeze it in small containters and use it as a side or a whole meal with a nice loaf of bread.
I also make large batches of hummus and it actually freezes really well. While not a meal, it makes a great snack for when you frist come home.