Prepare Ahead and Freeze One Dish Meals
Many people are growing their own produce, canning and freezing food for winter months. If the local market runs a sale on meat at the same time, why not prepare casseroles, stews and soups to freeze. Hunters may bag deer, turkey or duck that may be utilized in casseroles and stews. A frozen casserole is much healthier than grabbing a fast food burger and fries. A stew is wonderful on a cold winter’s night. A one dish meal is very easy and quick to defrost and bake and can easily fit into a sustainable lifestyle.
- Consider freezing chilli, taco soup, spaghetti sauce and beef stew.
- Lasagna is a family favorite that freezes well.
- Prepare casserole, soup or stew per recipe directions with a few exceptions.
- Cheese and bread crumbs should be added after the dish is thawed.
- Potatoes, pasta and beans become mushy with freezing/thawing, therefore, best to avoid these ingredients.
- Hard cooked egg whites, mayonnaise and sour cream should be avoided.
- Cook each ingredient separately before combining in container for freezing.
- Do not bake the casserole before freezing.
- After combining all ingredients run one inch of cold water in sink and place container in sink to cool to room temperature.
- Some containers are designed for freezing with a tightly sealing lid.
- Casseroles may be frozen in individual serving sizes or a family size container.
- A good tip is to line the casserole dish with aluminum foil before filling. Leave enough foil around the sides to cover and form a good seal.
- Some cooks prefer to remove the casserole from the container after freezing and place in a zip-lock freezer bag for storing.
- A round plastic pint or quart size container is perfect for freezing soups and stews.
- Stews and soups may be poured into a zip-lock freezer bags or plastic container.
- Foil baking pans are inexpensive and do not tie up other dishes that are utilized daily.
- If utilizing a container without a lid, wrap in plastic wrap followed by aluminum foil.
- Label container with name of casserole, stew or soup and date of freezing.
- A black sharpie marker is the best tool for labeling freezer items.
- The one dish meal should be consumed within three months of freezer date.
- Place one dish meal in freezer overnight to allow for thawing.
- Add toppings per recipe directions and bake.
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My motto is, "Protect the Earth for future generations!"