Making Fresh Freezer Meals
My Story: Using Your Freezer
One of the most common questions I hear from people who are interested in freezer-meal cooking is: "How do I know what will freeze well, and what won't?"
If you're unsure of how well something will freeze, then freeze a single serving when you prepare the dish for a regular family meal. This way you can check on how well the item holds up to freezing and reheating.
The following lists should give you a good start at identifying potential freezing problems with various food items.
Don't Freeze Well:
Change During Freezing:
(From the book Frozen Assets from Champion Press, Ltd.)
This recipe can easily be double, or tripled. The original Spaghetti Pie recipe calls for a full pound of ground beef, but I only use half a pound per pie. I find half a pound to be more than enough. This recipe could also be made with ground turkey, Italian bulk sausage, TVP (texturized vegetable protein), or no meat (or meat substitutes) at all.
6 oz. dry spaghetti noodles
2 tbsp butter or margarine
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
2 well-beaten eggs
1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 (8-oz.) can Italian-style stewed tomatoes (don't drain)
1 (6-oz.) can tomato paste
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp dried oregano, crushed
1/2 clove garlic, minced
1 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup cheese (mozzarella, cheddar, American, or Jack), shredded
Cook spaghetti noodles. Drain. Stir margarine into hot noodles until melted. Stir in Parmesan cheese and eggs. Form pasta mixture into a crust shape in a buttered 9-inch pie plate. In skillet, cook ground beef and onions until meat is browned. Drain. Stir into ground beef, tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar , oregano and garlic. Heat through. Spread cottage cheese over bottom of spaghetti crust. Top with tomato/meat mixture. Sprinkle grated cheese over all. Cover pie pan with foil; label and freeze.
Thaw. Bake, covered, for 25 minutes at 350 F. Remove foil and bake for 5 minutes more until cheese is lightly browned.
Deborah Taylor-Hough is the author of the bestselling Frozen Assets: Cook for a Day, Eat for a Month and A Simple Choice: a practical guide for saving your time, money and sanity. She also edits the Simple Times email newsletter. To subscribe, visit Debi online at: thesimplemom.wordpress.com
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