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Best frozen lunch main course last day of a 3-day chag

What solutions are there for making a main course ahead, freezing it, and thawing it on the second day to eat on the third day (Shabbat) of a a three day chag? I mean what would freeze well, reheat gracefully, be "dry" enough to reheat on a blech, and taste wonderful?

My motivation is the desire to do some of the cooking ahead and to put some of the food in the freezer to free up refrigerator space eruv chag and on the first day, when space is at a premium.

I'm thinking, perhaps meatloaf?

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  1. This doesn't answer your question precisely, but I'm just wondering why you wouldn't freeze a non-dry recipe, thaw it on Friday, and put it up on the belch before shabbat. It could just be that I tend towards wetter recipes over dry ones, so I don't have many (or even any) dry ones to recommend.

    Here's what I plan to make for Sukkot, perhaps for the shabbat meals. I don't plan to freeze it, but I don't see why you couldn't.

    Barbecue Pulled Chicken (adapted from a recipe in Eating Well Feb-March 2006)
    8 servings

    8-ounce can tomato sauce
    4-ounce can chopped green chiles, drained
    3 tablespoons cider vinegar
    2 tablespoons honey
    1 tablespoon sweet or smoked paprika
    1 tablespoon tomato paste
    1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (make sure it's a type without fish, for use in the meat recipe)
    2 teaspoons dry mustard
    1 teaspoon ground chipotle chile
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    2 1/2 -- 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
    1 onion, chopped or vertically sliced
    1 clove garlic, minced

    1. Stir tomato sauce, chiles, vinegar, honey, paprika, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, ground chipotle and salt in a pot until smooth. Add chicken, onion and garlic; stir to combine.
    2. Put the lid on and cook on low until the chicken can be pulled apart, probably about 2 hours.
    3. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and shred with a fork. Return the chicken to the sauce and stir well.

    7 Replies
    1. re: queenscook

      Queenscook, the answer is that while many people do reheat things like chicken in sauce on Shabbos, others of us only place things on a blech that are yavesh, i.e., fully cooked before Shabbat and that, while they may be moist, are not swimming in juiced. Like a kugel.

      From a culinary perspective, I was seeking advice because freezing then rewarming on a blech is a cruel way to treat good food, and I was looking for experienced cooks who would share experience on which "yavesh" main dishes survive such treatment best.

      Thanks for that pulled chicken recipe, it sounds yummy and I'm eager to try it. Life is simply better since Ashkenazim discovered things like chile peppers.

      1. re: AdinaA

        I used to use a Kadera blech (it's filled with water) basically a steam table. Food never dried out on it.

        1. re: berel

          What made you stop using the kadera?

          1. re: AdinaA

            too much work to set up and remove. Scooping out the water until it was light enough to carry to the sink was a drag

          2. re: berel

            I still use a kadera blech. I agree that it is a minimal pain to get rid of the water after shabbos, but the advantages outweigh that. You don't have to do the "hold on to the pot" thing, nor even keep in mind that you plan to return it to the blech. (Particularly good when I use my 12 quart stockpot for soup.) Also, after a while we were able to better judge how much water to put in so that there wouldn't be as much left over in it after shabbos. I was never successful with a regular blech; things would burn or not get hot enough, which is never a problem with the kadera blech. The scoop out is just part of shabbos clean-up now, and I'll never go back!! (Even got one for Pesach, even though it's only used two days a year, at most.)

          3. re: AdinaA

            Adina--
            You've missed my point entirely. I, too, am strict about not putting anything wet on a belch on Shabbos. My husband has pointed out that even kugels which seem to be pretty dry, may be too wet to put up, as are the baked sweet potatoes we always have on Shabbos (they exude lots of moisture, so now we leave them up all shabbos). However, my suggestion was to make the wet dish, freeze it until Friday morning, let it thaw, heat it up late Friday afternoon WHILE IT'S STILL YOM TOV (and for which you have made the eruv tavshilin), and put it on the belch you will be setting up BEFORE Shabbos.

            I won't be doing this exactly, since I will have enough room in my fridge for the pulled chicken and/or meatballs in sauce for shabbos, and won't be freezing or thawing anything, but otherwise this is my plan for Sukkos.

            1. re: queenscook

              I apologize. I did misunderstand. I have had good luck with things like tomatoes overnight in a crock pot, where the temperature can be controlled. But have not done anything this ambitious in overnight cooking in years, by ambitious I mean the complex sweet-savory, sour melding in the sauce, and the need to keep it from cooling to the point of becoming a bacteria culture, without heating it so that the liquids boil off or it becomes burnt-tasting.

              But, since you have had success with this, I will try it. Just I won't try it the first time for a lunch when I'm expecting a couple of dozen guests.

        2. A roast will freeze well and can be served sliced at room temp (we make deli sandwiches with it on Shabbos lunch) or reheated above a hot side. Side dishes usually do not freeze well so we leave it on the blech overnight. Alternatively, we serve grilled chicken caesar salad (we don't freeze it, though). Or make an extra roast chicken, freeze it and then cut it up on Shabbos morning for a low-fat curried chicken salad . Again, reheated main dishes on Shabbos are not usually good, in my opinion.

          1 Reply
          1. re: cappucino

            I do a veal shoulder roast. I separate it from the gravy. You can slice the meat, wrap it tightly in foil, and freeze. Freeze the gravy in a separate container. Defrost it, and warm the foil wrapped package on the blech, far away from the flame, so it doesn't get too warm, or dry out. Let the defrosted container of gravy sit out to get to room temperature, and serve with the meat.
            This can be done with any kind of a roast.

          2. There's always the Israeli standby - chicken schnitzel - which freezes well, and defrosts and heats up quickly. I use breadcrumbs made from leftover homemade challah to jazz it up a little.
            Taking off on your meatloaf idea, what about a Pinwheel Meat Roll, a la "Haimishe Kitchen"? It's basically a layer of seasoned ground beef topped with a layer of mashed potatoes rolled up, frozen just till stiff enough to cut easily, sliced and broiled? You can then freeze the individual slices until Shabbos morning. It's a patcherei, but fun. I made it just once, for Shabbos Succos, and all the kids present loved it.
            Both of these dishes are useful in that you can defrost the amount you'll need, adjusting for last -minute guests, overloaded appetites, etc.

              1. I have the following already in my freezer for yom tov/Shabbos
                1.stuffed cabbage
                2.Italian meatballs and sauce
                3. shnitzel
                4 pre-sliced roast beef, corned beef , turkey breast and pastrami
                5.Duck sauce/ketchup chicken