This week’s theme for Works for Me Wednesday is what doesn’t work… I contemplated kitchen gadgets that have taken up space in my drawers but rarely gotten used. I also thought about under-utilized cookbooks or recipes that have failed miserably for me.
What kept coming back to me, though, was the fact that I will be banned from my kitchen next week. That doesn’t work for me at all!
You see, I have to have hand surgery later this week. It’s not really a big deal other than the fact that I will have to keep my hand clean and dry for at least a week. I originally contemplated an investment in some rubber gloves, but my surgeon, who was two steps ahead of me, informed me that my fingers would be splinted together. He also added that I should plan on letting someone else do the cooking.
Cooking is not something I delegate well… And, my husband generally prefers to let me do most of the cooking in our house. So, when faced with having to stay out of my kitchen for a week, I had to come up with a plan. Since neither my husband nor I could stand to eat takeout or go out to eat for a whole week, I turned to my freezer. This week, I’ve been making recipes that yield lots of leftovers that I can stash in the freezer so that next week’s dinners are already taken care of!
I know there are lots of reasons (other than surgery) why you may be too busy to cook, so I thought I’d share a few of my favorite freezer friendly meals this week with a few pointers on how I like to package the leftovers…
I find that a lot of soups freeze well, particularly those that are broth based. For creamy/cheesy soups, I will prepare the soup recipe up to the point when the cream/cheese would be stirred in at the end and freeze the soup sans cream/cheese. Then, you can reheat the frozen soup and stir in the missing ingredients prior to serving!
Stromboli and Calzones
Stromboli and calzones (calzoni?) also freeze well. In fact, I wrote a post about freezing calzones a few months ago. Simply assemble the stromboli or calzone and wrap tightly with plastic wrap (don’t bake!). Then, pop into the freezer until you need it. Just thaw and bake for a fresh, tasty dinner!
Casseroles and Slow Cooked Meals
Most of my casserole and slow cooker recipes make much more than two of us can eat in one meal, so I often freeze the leftovers. For some casseroles (like macaroni and cheese or stuffed shells), I will freeze the casserole prior to baking in an oven safe glass baking dish. Then, I just thaw the casserole overnight and pop it in the oven. For dinners that come out of my slow cooker, I simply freeze the leftovers in plastic containers.