Q&A: foods that freeze well

Elizabeth writes:

"This might not be the right kind of question but here goes:

Do you have a list of casseroles or other foodstuffs that freeze well?

I would like to make up some meals to give to a lady having a baby.

So far, I know I am going to make a batch of bran muffins wrapped individually for easy freezing & thawing, and hamburger soup.

Other than that, I need some ideas for a one dish dinner....away from the lasagna/pasta theme."

Anything that helps people help a "lady having a baby" is the right kind of question for this site.

I'll tell you my ideas, then I hope the readers and lurkers will come out of the woodwork with ideas. (Remember, if you want to post anonymously, just put in a fake URL in the URL spot and I'm the only one who can see the real or fake email address you leave. Also, actual recipes are intellectual property*, so please give attributions if you know them, or just link to the recipe on its own site if there is one. If you made up the recipe, give yourself a credit.)

I made up a bunch of burritos before having my younger son. I chopped some bell peppers and zucchini and mushrroms and sauteed them in a little olive oil, salt, and dried oregano. While they were cooling I set up the assembly line, then made the burritos like this: piece of aluminum foil, flour tortilla, generous smear of refried beans, grated cheese, sauteed vegetables, slosh of salsa. Roll up the burrito in the foil, crimp, then freeze. Either unwrap to microwave, or leave in the foil and reheat in the oven.

Chili (con carne, vegetarian, or white) freezes well. I don't need to give a recipe for chili, do I? You all have your own favorites.

Here's a recipe I made up last week for Green Salsa Chicken.

1 large onion

4-6 chicken thighs (bone in or boneless)

1 jar green salsa (tomatillo salsa in your chocie of mildness, not the super-hot green sauce--ouch!)

dried oregano

1/2 bag washed baby spinach

Heat some oil in a Dutch oven or pot. Slice the onion in big long slices and saute over high-ish heat. Skin the chicken thighs and salt and pepper them. After the onions are starting to brown a little, move them to the side and put in your chicken thighs to brown. Brown a little, then flip over to brown on the other side. Dump in the jar of salsa, and add some water to make sure you have enough liquid to cover the chicken (I use enough water to get the jar half full, then swish it around to get the last salsa bits, then dump it in the pot). Shake in a few shakes of oregano. Let simmer for 25-30 minutes.

If you want to serve a carb on the side, make it now while the chicken's simmering. Rice, basmati rice (lower in glycemic index than regular white rice), barley, pasta, quinoa, etc.

When the chicken is really tender, stir in the spinach until it's wilted, then serve in soup bowls (over your carb of choice). (Or, if you're going to freeze it, turn off the heat, let it sit for 5 minutes, stir in the spinach, then let it cool down in the pot and freeze.)

Copyright 2006 Moxie askmoxie.org

What else?

Turkey or beef burgers can be frozen raw, then put directly from the freezer onto a table-top grill (like the George Foreman grill).

Mexican lasagna (which is neither Mexican nor lasagna) is pretty simple. Layer flour tortillas (cut in quarters and put the straight corners in the corners of the pan), black or pinto beans mixed with chili powder and cumin, thawed drained frozen spinach, enchilada sauce, and shredded Monterrey jack cheese. Line an 8 by 8 pan with aluminum foil, do the layers (two layers, finished by a layer of tortillas, sauce, and cheese), fold over the foil, remove from the pan, and freeze.

As far as one-pot meals go, what about pizza? You can buy a Boboli or other premade crust, or get dough and roll your own crust. Then you can top it with whatever you want. You could even make it the day ahead and bake on the day you need it.

Or how about paella? It's rice with basically anything you want, all in one pan.

OK, I'm getting hungry now. Anyone else ave any ideas for the lovely woman who's going to cook for her friend?


* Obviously no one can copyright the idea of a biscuit or meringue or any kind of food. But the way a recipe is written--the actual words--are protected by intellectual copyright. I've been a recipe developer and know how much work goes into developing and writing recipes, so I'm really careful to give attribution for a great recipe when I pass it on.