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Oct 21, 2011 10:12 AM

Help with preparing food casseroles for freezing

I hope this is right board for this question! At any rate, I am planning on cooking several casserole type dishes (lasagna, mac & cheese sort of things) for my daughter to have in her freezer when her baby arrives in about 10 days. My question is what is the best way to package meal sized servings for her husband to heat in the microwave? I do not have a microwave and so am totally ignorant. I also want to be able to provide a set of instructions for said husband who (I think) is pretty much a dunce in the kitchen. Any other advice is also welcome.
Thanks very much -

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  1. You can freeze them in a small casserole dish, then pop them out of the dish, wrap well with plastic wrap, freezer bags, whatever. He can reheat them in a dish that is the same size, or you can loan them yours, if it's a microwaveable one.

    1. If you are making large casseroles you'll have to slice or scoop them into portions once they come out of your oven and are cool. Get disposable microwavable storage containers (e.g. Gladware) and freeze the portions in those. The recipients' microwave will have come with instructions for thawing and reheating. These days most have thaw/reheat settings so all that is needed is to approximate the weight of the item and push a button. Otherwise, just tell the dunce to thaw in the fridge for 2 days, then nuke on low power for a few minutes. Microwave reheating is a trial-and-error art he'll need to master.

      Though they are rated for freezing and microwaving, the Glass-Lock storage containers I bought at Costco are not supposed to be used in the oven. However, I have been doing so on a regular basis. I like to divvy up a casserole recipe into these smaller rectangular containers before baking. I always put them on a sheet pan before filling them, and they stay on the sheet pan through baking and cooling, so there is no thermal shock. They remain undamaged. These are great because they seal tightly for freezing. The lids must be unlatched for microwaving and I prefer not to have the lids in the microwave at all.

      1. Casseroles are ok for a few days, but not long term. How about a nice curry or a stew? Surely the dunce can boil up some noodles or make rice, right?

        2 Replies
        1. re: pdxgastro

          It's my understanding that nursing mothers are supposed to avoid spicy foods, which rules out curry and many stews. Don't know what the OP's daughter's plans are but her primary question was about storage.

          IF the OP needs any ideas for what to prepare, soups are an obvious choice but I think roasted vegetables would be useful. They can be stored in freezer bags and added to storebought soups or pasta sauces to improve them. Also fricadellen, which are nothing more than meatloaf mixture sauteed in patty form, over low heat. A 4oz. patty takes about 10 minutes per side. They are a little more useful than meatballs since they are the right shape for a sandwich bun in addition to using in a meat-and-potatoes type meal or to supplement a pasta sauce or stroganoff. They freeze beautifully. I make a pan sauce from the drippings by adding a dollop of cream of mushroom soup and a little milk, sometimes extra onion.

          1. re: greygarious

            Oh dear, has anyone informed India (population second to China) that nursing mothers shouldn't eat spicy foods?!

        2. Thanks for the help! I think that cooling and putting in Gladware will the best for us. I am trying to avoid spicy things since my daughter has had an aversion to spicy through her pregnancy (she normally loevs hot spices). I had planned on a couple of things (including roasted vegatable soup) for the first fews days so I was not conerned about freezing them.
          Thanks again - all of your suggestions were helpful.