Freezer Ready Meals
Tomorrow I’ll be going into the hospital for a new knee. It’s not my first one – I had my left knee replaced three years ago – but I’m certainly hoping the procedure is easier and with less complications than my last one. I won’t be in the kitchen cooking much during the next few weeks, but don’t worry as I’ve set up a bunch of recipes to be shared by blog posts while I’m recuperating. During the past few weeks I cooked – I mean, I cooked a lot. Both my mom and my brother passed away, and well, cooking is how I cope. But the side benefit to all of that flurry in the kitchen is that I have a freezer full of things to eat after my surgery so that my husband doesn’t need to stress over feeding me or himself. You might want to do the same if you or a friend or loved one needs to have some meals on hand, so I thought I’d share here some ideas of what you might whip up and freeze.Meatloaf: I have about five different versions of meatloaf on this site. This time I used 3/4 ground bison meat with 1/4 ground pork added for flavor, used lots of ground up veggies for moisture, added sun-dried tomatoes for zest, and a mix of oatmeal and breadcrumbs to hold it together. To freeze, cut into the cooked meatloaf into individual sized pieces and wrap each in plastic wrap before storing in a plastic bag or container in the freezer.Lasagna: It’s one of those dishes that I think might actually be better the day after when it’s reheated or after freezing it and reheating. I have several variations on this website, but the beauty of lasagna is that you can layer it with just about whatever you like and it’s good. I never cook the noodles anymore – if you use the no boil variety you don’t need to adjust your recipe at all. If you use the thicker noodles that are meant to be cooked first, just add more sauce between the layers to absorb into the pasta. You can either freeze the entire casserole before baking it or, as I like to do, cut individual portions after it’s cooked and wrap them individually to freeze.Enchiladas/Burritos: I’m sure there is a more technical difference between enchiladas and burritos, but to me the most obvious is whether you use corn tortillas (enchiladas) or flour tortillas (burritos). When I am going to freeze this type of wrapped Mexican specialty, I use flour tortillas as the corn tends to turn mushy when thawing and reheating. I always smother mine – whether corn or flour – with enchilada sauce or green chile sauce. And just like lasagna, you can put whatever you want into the fillings. I usually use up what I see left in the refrigerator so this batch has some cooked rice, shredded beef, green peppers, onions, mushrooms, and cheese in the filling. Again, after baking the tray, wrap each one individually for ease of reheating.Marinara Sauce: You can’t go wrong with a big old pot of sauce to freeze. I have some in the freezer with cooked meatballs in it, some with shredded beef (use a braising technique to cook a roast and then shred the cooked meat) to use like a ragu sauce on pasta, and some plain sauce for whatever else I feel like.I know that this surgery and the rehab isn’t going to be a picnic, but I have my girls to keep watch over me while I rehab, a long list of books and movies and shows to keep me entertained, and family and friends who I hope will stop by to say hi and pass the time with me. I hope to be back cooking and blogging soon, but I hope in the meantime that you enjoy the recipes I will be sharing (come of my own and some from my cookbooks) over the next few weeks. Wish me luck!
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