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 Post subject: Re: Merry Christmas !
PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2014 8:38 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 08, 2011 6:33 pm
Posts: 954
Location: Northern California
I got a book by Jason Logsdon, Modernist Cooking: Sous Vide. I've been sealing a lot of things, especially cookie dough after pre-freezing, lemon juice cubes from squeezing my meyer lemons and an Ina Garten lemon cake (trying to use up my lemons lol) among other things. Its been fun. I'm going to try to sous vide a steak soon. I was inspired by what you said about cooking and freezing for later. Pretty cool idea. I also want to temper chocolate a la Kenji. I'll report back :ugeek:


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 Post subject: Re: Merry Christmas !
PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2014 10:24 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2011 7:53 pm
Posts: 937
Happy belated everyone!

I've been MIA from cooking for a while other than the tried and true everyday dinners (working too much, not enough time...I suspect it's the same for everyone who is self employed).

My sister gave me some vegan cookbooks this year that I'm excited to try (probably as side dishes to meat though, if I'm being honest). The Thug Cookbook, and the Oh She Glows cookbook. I'm also getting an Emile Henry Flame casserole in blue (in the risotto pot style) and a Breville Fast Slow Cooker. I have a stovetop pressure cooker, but the set it and forget it approach of the electric one appeals to me. It has a sear function, pressure cook, slow cook, and steam setting. My mom has one and loves it. DH also gave me a hand turned French rolling pin. So I suspect 2015 will be more of the same: big batch cooking of soups, stews and casseroles on weekends so DH can heat something up on nights when I'm late.

Speaking of which, does anyone have any tried and true big batch/casserole type recipes that freeze and reheat well?

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 Post subject: Re: Merry Christmas !
PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2014 12:23 am 
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Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2009 7:50 pm
Posts: 2062
CC's From-the-Freezer Meaty Lasagna is very tasty and it goes together just stupid-fast.


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 Post subject: Re: Merry Christmas !
PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2014 7:43 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 23, 2008 8:06 pm
Posts: 935
Carey,

I had a friend pass away two years ago, who was sick a long time. I ended up doing some cooking for his family for a few months just trying to help them get through. The stuff I made that was most successful were items with a liquid component which don't get freezer burned:

Thanksgiving casserole - from bottom up: turkey meat, gravy, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce if I had it, topped with very wet mashed potatoes. Freeze. Melt butter and spread over frozen mashed potatoes to seal. Top with saran, then foil and then a lid if the bowl had one.
Broccoli and rice casserole made with commercial broccoli cheese soup (didn't break when thawed like homemade).
Lasagna and ziti.

Also maybe worth trying - I have a friend who is very into the crockpot freezer meal movement, which hasn't worked out for me, but it definitely does for her. She has two kids, works and is in grad school, so time is tight. Do a search and see what you come up with - there are tons of blogs with recipes. The idea is that you prep X bags of meals to go into the crockpot (meat, veggies, etc), write on the bag what liquids the dish will need, and the time and temp. The night before you put it in the fridge to defrost, and in the morning put into the crockpot, add liquid, press on. You do several dishes at once so you only cut chicken once, and onions once, etc., and you end up with a freezer full of meals. She does 5 to 8 recipes at a time, 2 to 4 bags each. It's a fortune and an all day affair, but she ends up with 2 months of meals!

--Lisa


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 Post subject: Re: Merry Christmas !
PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2014 8:06 am 
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Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2010 8:41 pm
Posts: 1883
Location: Near Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Lisa - I've never heard of doing that but will explore as well. I'm finding I'm later every day getting home and the teenage boys are hungry all.the.time. This might be just what I need.


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 Post subject: Re: Merry Christmas !
PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2014 3:42 pm 
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Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2011 8:05 pm
Posts: 1155
Location: Chico, CA
Jean, do you have a pressure cooker?

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 Post subject: Re: Merry Christmas !
PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2014 9:32 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2011 7:53 pm
Posts: 937
Jesbelle and Lisa,

Thanks for the ideas. I'm going to do some Google searching for those crockpot recipes, and will try those other things out.

I've found most non-cream soups freeze well (sweet potato, turkey rice or turkey noodle, beef barley, hamburger chowder, black bean, and split pea have all been in rotation here). I've also regularly frozen CI's weeknight chili (beanless as DH dislikes beans), carbonnade, my own turkey and beef stew (I freeze them potatoes and all and they are fine), my own chicken curry, Bobby Flay's throw down chili and the serious eats Texas chili), and recently I've been doing a Jamie Oliver Guinness and beef stew recipe. We tend to eat most of these over rice, but I have to admit that I'm getting tired of the stew over rice with side veg dinner that has been our standard mid-week meal for the past several years. I did put up a lot of BBQ meat over the summer from the new Big Green Egg, so we have a fair bit of pre-cooked ribs, pork roast, chicken, and some turkey from my last turkey roast in the freezer too. That seems to be more of a reach for DH to do as it requires thought about sides. I know I could get creative about converting them to other things, but I don't have the juice at the end of the day to do more than stare stupidly into the freezer before heating up a fish filet and tossing a salad on the days where I'm in charge.

I used to tell myself that I would get myself to where I could work a 4 day week, but reality seems to disagree.

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 Post subject: Re: Merry Christmas !
PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2014 11:46 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2008 1:03 am
Posts: 5128
Location: Portland, OR
Carey,

Here's one from my old blog archives, yet to make a re-appearance:

A New Mexico "bowl of green" has always appealed to me, except for the pork. This is my vegetarian version, with a holy trinity of Southwestern vegetables, only mildly spicy to appeal to as broad an audience as possible.

2 cups navy beans or black-eyed peas
1 cup dried giant corn (see note)
3 green bell peppers
3 green poblano or pasilla peppers
4 green anaheim or banana peppers
2 bunches green onions
3-4 cloves garlic
1 1/2 lbs green squash, pattypan, chayote or zucchini
2 tsp hickory smoke salt
4 tsp dried epazote
1 tsp oregano
2 tsp cumin
water, salt, oil
slow cooker, cookie sheet, foil, broiler, large clean paper bag

Toppings:

1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1/2 lbs Monterrey Jack cheese, grated
green hot sauce (such as Tabasco jalapeño or El Yucateco)

The night before: soak the beans and corn (together) in at least 7 cups of cold water.

Chop 1/2 of the green onion, white and green parts. Dice small one squash (no more than 1/2 lbs), then seed and dice one bell pepper and one of each of the other peppers. Put these in the slow cooker. Drain the beans and the corn, and add these to the slow cooker. Add 2 tsp of the epazote and the hickory smoke salt.

Add enough warm water to almost, but not quite, cover the vegetables and beans; it should take between 2 1/2 cups and 3 1/2 cups. Stir, then cover the slow cooker and set on High for 5 hours.

Some time while the beans are cooking, heat the broiler and cover the cookie sheet with foil and lightly grease it. Halve each of the remaining peppers and seed them. In batches, place the peppers cut-side-down on the cookie sheet and broil them until their skins turn black. Put the blackened peppers (while still hot) into the paper back and fold the top shut. Leave these to cool.

Slice the squash 3/4" thick, oil it lightly, and broil it until it's charred in spots. Set it aside to cool.

When the peppers and squash are cool (about 1/2 hour) peel the blackened skin off the peppers and discard. Chop the peppers. Dice the broiled squash. Mince the remaining green onions.

After the beans have cooked for 5 hours, add the peppers, squash, onions, cumin, oregano, and the rest of the epazote. Stir together. Cook on High for one more hour.

Turn off. Taste for salt, and add more if necessary. Let sit for at least 1 hour before serving. Serve with the toppings available on the side, as well as a pan of unsweetened cornbread. Serves 4 to 6.

Notes: giant corn, the same kind used for Posole, is from Central and South America and is available in many Latin markets. If you can't find it, substitute one can white hominy kernels, drained, and added at the same time as the 2nd batch of peppers. For a spicier version, add 3 jalapeño and 3 serrano peppers, broiled, skinned and chopped with the others.

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 Post subject: Re: Merry Christmas !
PostPosted: Thu Jan 01, 2015 9:13 am 
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Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2009 7:50 pm
Posts: 2062
Leftover turkey and chicken can go into any recipe where "1 rotisserie chicken" is an ingredient. If you are tired of soups and stews (most recipes that use a pre-cooked chicken as a shortcut are soups), CC's California Chicken Burritos are very tasty. They are quick to make and freeze without any deal-breaking loss of texture.

CC used to do a freezer recipe every month. They don't any more, sadly. They were all really good (except maybe the pizza) and usually pretty easy to make. The Chicken Pot Pie was nice, especially since it was meant to make individual servings -- great for hungry teenagers in need of second lunch. Also, their "Stovetop" version of stuffing is really tasty -- y'know, for when you're sick of rice.

CC actually has a lot of recipes that work well for busy people. The oven polenta is a big favorite around here. It takes an hour in the oven, but there is virtually no hands-on time.

You might also try writing out the week's menu on your day off, when your brain isn't fried from work. I hate doing it, but I love just looking at the fridge calendar and seeing what I need to do without having to spend valuable time/energy on decision-making.


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 Post subject: Re: Merry Christmas !
PostPosted: Thu Jan 01, 2015 10:01 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2010 8:41 pm
Posts: 1883
Location: Near Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Alina, I do but these days am getting home too late to even make use of that. :-( They get used on the weekend for in between hockey games. I have 2 slow cookers and would like to get more use out of them, I bought the Italian Slow Cooker and have yet to make even one dish. I really need some easy "dump and run" dishes that I can put in the slow cooker with my eyes not fully open.

JB, I have the CC cookbook, I'm going to look to see if the pot pie recipe is there. We love cpp.


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