Tag Archives: frozen

Frozen Overs – Curry

16 Oct

This started out as a strange Southern-style curry dish that involved ketchup.  I learned it while working at Susannah’s Gourmet Pantry in Jacksonville, Florida.  This recipe is my own take on that one that I made more times than I can count.  It’s definitely nothing like authentic curry, but it’s good comfort food and it’s something my husband often reaches for in the freezer when sent down to ‘pull something out’.  He loves it especially with roasted cauliflower, chick peas and green peas, which is how I have been making it lately.

Ingredients (makes enough for 5 square GladWare trays 8″ x 8″ plus fillings:

  • 1 large onion diced
  • 1 stick butter (I said this was a Southern thing, didn’t I?)
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 5 T. curry powder (I used Penzey’s Maharajah)
  • 2 T. cumin
  • 1 T. crushed ginger
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1 quart (4 c.) vegetable stock
  • 1/2 gallon of milk
  • salt to taste

If using chicken, you will use 8-10 breasts for this much sauce.  For cauliflower and chickpeas, use 1 head cauliflower, roasted and 1 can of chickpeas, drained.

Saute onion in butter.  Add dry ingredients and cook for several minutes, stirring constantly.  Add tomato paste and then slowly add vegetable broth and milk to make a smooth but thin sauce.  Cook until thickened, at least 15 minutes at simmering temperature, stirring frequently.

(The red bits in the sauce are saffron.)

While it is cooking, roast the cauliflower at 400F in the oven.  I toss it in some olive oil and Creole seasoning first.  DO NOT roast cauliflower in GladWare.  Use a sheet pan.  This is what it looks like after it has been cooked and portioned into the GladWare.

Portion the cauliflower and chick peas into freezer pans.  You can also freeze this sauce by itself or add some chopped cooked chicken.  It’s nice to freeze it by itself so you can add leftover bits and bobs to it on a busy night.  I use zip lock bags, stack them in a pan until they are frozen and then move the frozen flat bags to a freezer shelf.

Portion the sauce over each pan.

Or just toss it together if you are going to serve it right away.  Mr. U. really likes green peas in this.  I don’t freeze them in the sauce because then they’ll get lost and possibly lose color.  I add them, frozen, when I reheat the sauce and it makes for a very pretty dish.

My cousin’s husband said this sounded good but wondered if you could add different things to it instead, like instead of the cauliflower and chick peas!

Serve with a fun group of condiments if you like.  This is how we served it at Susannah’s, but with a good curry powder and the right add-ins, I don’t find I need the condiments any more.  It is fun to serve it with the condiments, though, and I even got my picky brother-in-law to eat it that way.  Pictured are:  cilantro, scallion, peanuts, dates, raisins, chutney and toasted coconut.

Cookies Anytime!

6 Oct

Here is a little trick I love for fresh, homemade cookies whenever I want them.  Even better, for just 2 cookies at a time. Then you don’t have lots of cookies around, tempting you to eat more than you should.  Most cookie dough can be easily frozen in logs, sliced and baked from frozen. 

You need:  parchment paper, plastic wrap, tape and marker, PLUS cookie dough of your choice.

Make a batch of your favorite cookie dough.  Oatmeal, peanut butter, and chocolate chip cookies work really well.  Spread out a sheet of parchment paper about the size of a cookie sheet.  Spoon the dough onto one edge of the long side of the parchment paper in a rough log shape.  Roll from the dough to the other side of the paper, smoothing the log into a roll as you go.  Wrap in plastic wrap.  Repeat until all dough is used.

Label it and freeze it.

When ready to use, slice the frozen dough into cookies and bake at the normal temperature.  Bake from frozen so the chemical leavening doesn’t have time to react at room temperature.  The cookies will take an extra few minutes to bake vs. usual.

So now you can prep ahead for the holidays, for your turn to be snack mom, for whenever. My nephews love to get their favorite cookie doughs, wrapped and prepped for the freezer. They can have some homemade cookies any time they want!

Frozen Overs – Eggplant Parmesan

31 May

My husband loves eggplant.  His mother used to make some sort of eggplant sandwich filling when he was a kid and he’s always loved it.  So I make a lot of eggplant parmesan, moussaka, and ratatouille for us, all of which freezes beautifully.  If you tell my husband to ‘just go pick something easy out of the freezer’, it’s almost always the eggplant Parmesan or moussaka that finds its way to the kitchen.  I always roast or grill the eggplant to avoid using a lot of oil and I never peel the eggplant. It’s not haute cuisine, but my husband loves it, so it works for a busy weeknight.

I buy square Glad OvenWare pans to store my Frozen Overs and I usually make up four pans at a time.  I only buy eggplant when the price is reasonable (should be under $1.50 each).  Late last summer, eggplant was $5.00 each and I just had to be patient and wait for the price to come down.  If I can spare the time to do a LOT of work, I can get a really good case price at Daisy Mae’s Market, my local produce company.  Be warned that a case of eggplant is a LOT of eggplant, so you need to be prepared to cook it all within a few days.  I also buy prepared marinara/pasta sauce when it is on sale and stock it for later use.  I have a special cabinet in the basement that’s just for these buy-ahead things like marinara and canned tomatoes. 

Eggplant Parmesan (makes four 8×8 OvenWare pans), each pan makes 4 servings

  • 5-6 medium eggplants, rinsed and sliced into 1/2″ thick steaks
  • 1 1/2 – 2 large jars marinara sauce
  • Shredded Mozzarella
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Cajun seasoning (if desired – this will add salt, but I do like the red pepper kick it gives this simple dish)If you are making this as a vegetarian dish, please check a list of cheeses for vegetarians. This is a permanent link in my blogroll to the right now. Cheeses made with rennet are not appropriate for vegetarians, but there are soy substitutes and also some brands making Parmesan (albeit not Parmagiano Reggiano) that give a similar flavor without the rennet.

To griddle:  Heat a large cast-iron griddle.  Spray the eggplant ‘steaks’ with olive oil spray (or lightly brush with olive oil), sprinkle with seasoning and grill until brown on the outside and semi-soft on the inside.

To roast:  Preheat oven to 450F.  Spray a baking pan with pan spray.  Place the eggplant in individual slices on the tray and brush lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning.  Roast until browned and the inside is semi-soft.

While the eggplant is cooking, spoon a bit of sauce, just to coat, in the bottom of each OvenWare pan.  Put a single layer of eggplant on the top.  Top with more sauce and cheeses.  Continue cooking eggplant steaks and layering pans until each pan has about 3 layers of eggplant.  Finish with cheese on top.

To cook it – defrost on 50% power in the microwave for 15 minutes, then bake at 350 F on a cookie sheet until bubbly and browned.  The plastic pan requires a cookie sheet underneath.  If you used another type of casserole dish, you can skip the cookie sheet.  Alternatively, you should defrost this for at least 36 hours in the refrigerator before baking.

In our two-person household, a pan of Frozen Overs will make Loved Overs, but they are truly loved, and they don’t last long.

Planned Over Baking – Berry Pie

23 May

So why does pie count as a Planned Over?  Like most busy people, I’m not standing around in my kitchen making pie every day.  I have learned that many baked goods tolerate being frozen unbaked, and then baked without defrosting.  Pie is one of these things.  So if you’re taking the time to make pie, make two and put one in the freezer for another time.

Here is another favorite pie trick.  A 10″ pie recipe will make about the right amount of filling for two 7″ pies.  And really, it’s close enough with a 9-9.5″ pie recipe as well.  A 7″ pie will give me 4-5 slices.  For the two of us, that’s dessert plus two servings of pie to enjoy as Loved Overs.  If I have another couple over for dinner, it’s enough pie for four.  At Thanksgiving, it’s not such a huge pie commitment that I can have a few different varieties and I can make them ahead, so why not?

When I am ready to bake, I put the whole 7″ pie, still frozen, straight into a 350F oven.  I have never had a problem with doing it this way.  I don’t think I would try it in a ceramic pie plate though.

Where to get 7″ pie plates?  Amazon.com, where else?  The pie plates at this link are a bit more than I would like to pay.  I bought my 7″ pans at Sur la Table, and I can’t imagine that I paid more than $5 each, because I own several of them.  Of course, if you are feeding a crowd, just make a full size pie.  You can still make two (or more!) and freeze the extras unbaked.

Berry Pie

For the berries, use what you can get.  I show blackberries in the photo above.  I used frozen berries in this case, which is why the filling looks so juicy.  It would look less juicy if you used fresh berries, but they will release their juice in the oven.  One of my husband’s favorite combinations is cranberry and blackberry.  In this case, I would use the full amount of sugar.  My husband also likes the frozen mixed berries in a pie.  I often buy frozen berries on sale to have on hand for when the pie-baking mood strikes.  Berry pies benefit from a squeeze of lemon if the berries are very sweet.  Sometimes I put a pat of butter on top of the berries before I seal the crust.

  • Jeanne’s Pie Crust
  • 1 c. sugar (can use up to 1 1/4 cups, but I usually like it less sweet)
  • 1/4 c. flour
  • 4 c. berries (approximately two bags of frozen)

Roll out the pie crust to fit the pie pan, top and bottom.  Mix sugar, flour and berries in a bowl and fill pie.  Top with a layer of crust, seal edges, and cut to vent.  Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze or Bake at 375F.  Makes two 7″ pies or one 9″ pie. 

Warm pie is wonderful, but fruit pies benefit from being baked several hours in advance so the filling sets up.

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